Several funding options are available for students – learn more about these opportunities below to see which are applicable to your graduate studies. To be considered for funding, you must indicate your interest in being supported in your application. 

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistantships (TA) are awarded to graduate students by the Data Science program on a competitive basis.  The awards include a monthly stipend, tuition support for a maximum of 9 credits hours per semester, and health insurance. Teaching Assistants are generally assigned duties that support faculty in their teaching responsibilities. 

Research Assistantships 

Research assistants  are selected by a particular faculty member to participate in sponsored research projects. Typical duties of an RA include, but are not limited to, conducting experiments and assisting in the development of theoretical advances related to faculty research projects. Research projects are typically funded by grants and contracts awarded to the university by government agencies, industrial firms, or other private organizations. 

GSA Positions

Data Science also awards Graduate Student Assistantships (GSA). Those positions consist of a stipend for a particular semester, but do not include tuition nor  health benefits. Students in the program are considered for these positions based on their academic performance and the need for the particular course being offered. For information, contact

GAANN PhD Fellowships

GAANN Ph.D. Fellowships in Big Data Computing Research

The WPI Department of Computer Science is seeking U.S. citizens interested in pursuing their Ph.D. degree and who are in need of Ph.D. level financial assistance. They must study data-driven computing research in 'Areas of National Need'  (GAANN) in collaboration with WPI Computer Science or WPI Data Science faculty. GAANN Fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and support U.S. citizens to pursue doctoral degrees in fields deemed to be areas of national need. Learn more about GAANN eligibility and application requirements at WPI.

Graduate Research Opportunity: GAANN Fellowship

The WPI Department of Computer Science is pleased to announce that Data Science Program Director Elke Rundensteiner, Ph.D. is the recipient of a GAANN Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, titled "Ph.D. Fellowships to Support Data-Driven Computing Research," will support six Ph.D. fellows for three years. 

The GAANN program provides fellowships to assist U.S. citizens with excellent grades while in their pursuit of doctoral degrees in fields deemed to be 'areas of national need.' This GAANN Grant focuses on big data analytics, large-scale data management, and visual data mining. These fields of data research have an impact on sensor-driven smart communities,  on fundamentally changing how we learn, and on improving mobility and sustainability. It also includes health analytics that support wellness, and social media analytics that provide citizens a global voice.

The Data Science GAANN Grant recipients will joint the big data research group affiliated with the WPI Computer Science Department and the new WPI Data Science Ph.D. Program. This research group provides an excellent working environment within a creative international team.

Applications are being accepted for both the spring and fall semesters.


GAANN Fellowships provide: 

  • An annual stipend of up to $34,000, dependent upon student’s financial need
  • Full tuition and fees
  • Health insurance coverage  

Assuming satisfactory academic performance and progress in the degree and research program, the GAANN Fellowship is renewable for up to three years. Thereafter, WPI guarantees GAANN Fellows continued funding, through a teaching assistantship or a WPI endowed fellowship, until the completion of their Ph.D. degree.  

Research Areas & Opportunities

Candidates should have research interests in data-driven computing and big data. GAANN Fellows will work collaboratively in vibrant cohorts of Ph.D., MS, and undergraduate students on stimulating projects and research studies in three key areas:

  • Visual and computational analytics for interactive knowledge discovery         
  • Data-driven innovations to advance learning sciences
  • Big data computing research for supporting communities

WPI Computer Science faculty members with data-driven computing research agendas include:

Faculty in the WPI Data Science program also work on big data computing research.  

As A GAANN Fellow, You Will Also:

  • Be mentored in research skills
  • Develop your professional skills
  • Hone your presentation skills
  • Mature your entrepreneurial skills
  • Engage in teaching experiences
  • Collaborate with fellow students and faculty
  • Innovate cutting-edge projects  


To be eligible for the GAANN award, applicants must:

  • Be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States
  • Be currently enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, as a graduate student in our program
  • Possess an excellent academic record
  • Have a demonstrated financial need
  • Plan to purse a Ph.D. in data-driven computing research
  • Qualify for eligibility according to 34 CFR 75.60 (i.e. not in default on a Federal Student Loan)

Individuals with traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.  

Application Process

  1. Applicants must complete this GAANN Statement of Interest Form (PDF), and return it to the GAANN Steering Committee,, thereby alerting us of your intent to apply.
  2. All applicants are required to submit a FAFSA form to demonstrate financial need.
  3. It is imperative that you complete both GAANN and FAFSA applications well ahead of the WPI application decision deadline, because both forms are needed to calculate the maximum stipend allowed based upon your financial need.
  4. To formally apply for the GAANN Fellowship, you must apply for admission to the WPI Computer Science  or Data Science Ph.D .programs using the standard online WPI application.
  5. Please mention your interest in the fellowship in the Personal Statement of your application.
  6. Current WPI students should submit two letters of recommendation from WPI faculty who can best attest to your aptitude for teaching and for research at the Ph.D. level.

Notification & Deadlines

The GAANN Project Director and Steering Committee select WPI GAANN Fellows based on the applicant's eligibility, academic ability, and match in research interests.

Applicants will be informed of their award status before April 15 for the fall semester and December 15 for the spring semester.


If you have any questions, please send your inquiries to