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Tuition and Financial Aid

Please see the Student Financial Services website for the latest information about tuition and fees.  GSAS charges tuition through a "residence unit" system.

Full-time students are expected to complete the program in two (2) semesters of coursework. Full-time students are encouraged to take the maximum number of credits per Residence Unit (RU) each semester. 1 RU = 18 credits and 4 courses minimum. 

Part-time students are expected to complete the program in four (4) to five (5) semesters of coursework. Part-time students are encouraged to take 4 semesters of courses at ½ RU each semester (2-3 courses). However, part-time students may also take 5 semesters of coursework with the first and last semester holding only ¼ RU (2 courses). These students may accrue more than the required 30 credits/10 courses. 

Please visit the GSAS Cost of Attendance page for more information on how this works.


Estimated Living Expenses

The following table lists estimated living expenses based upon reasonable expenditures over the 9-month, 2015-2016 academic year. Students may incur additional expenses that are not covered by the standard COA, such as the purchase of a computer, medical expenses not covered by insurance, conference expenses, etc.

Room and board


Personal Expenses


Books and supplies  


Additional Allowances- Children

First child


Each additional child


For information on 
loans and financial aid, please see the GSAS website.  


QMSS Scholarships and Assistantships

Starting in 2009, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, QMSS began offering several "named" scholarships in the form of tuition stipends to students of particular subjects. These stipends are awarded for 10% of the tuition for 2 RUs (1 year of full-time study). For example, last year three Latin American studies assistantships were awarded to students who were planning on continuing to work in a variety of arenas related to the development (social, political, economic, etc.) of Latin America. Similarly, the Mitofsky assistantship was awarded to a student interested in polling and political science to honor Warren Mitofsky (the "father of the exit poll") who used to teach for QMSS. Previous assistantships have also been offered for "development economics", "political science," and even a "PhD track" assistantship.

Research assistantships can help offset the cost of your tuition for the QMSS MA program. QMSS provides research support for University faculty as well as financial support to its students through several QMSS research assistantships each year.  Please see our webpage for more details.

Scholarships and assistantships are awarded to accepted students after students have confirmed attendance. Incoming students will be provided with an assistantship application over the summer. Assistantships are both need and content based.


Mayor's Graduate Scholarship Program (MGSP)

QMSS has joined other academic institutions around the city to provide scholarships to students currently working for the City of New York. While we are working to expand these scholarship offerings, we currently offer the Mitfosky Scholarship in conjunction with this program.

QMSS applications are on a different timeline than the MGSP. We encourage applicants to complete their MGSP application in the fall and apply for QMSS the following spring.

For students interested in the joint degree program (MA/MPA; MA/MIA) please remember that scholarship monies only apply to the portion of study within GSAS. For more information about the MGSP click here.


Public Service (Federal) Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after you have made 120 income-adjusted payments on loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time in public service or working with 501(c)(3) non-profits. Under such payment plans, your monthly payment on student loans is capped according to your annual salary, and if eligible for PSLF, the balance is forgiven after 120 payments (10 years).

For more information, please visit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness website.


Employee Tuition Benefits Program

Many employers provide educational assistance programs to their employees in order to develop employee capacity. While most employers subsidize education for students in part-time study as they work full time, some employers will allow their employees to undertake full-time study during a leave of absence. We encourage applicants to explore these options with their company's human resources department. Columbia University provides tuition benefits for its employees. Please consult your department administrator for more information. Also, read our "quick guide" to how this Columbia benefit may work for our students.


Other Funding Sources

There are many organizations and individuals who would be very interested in funding you in your academic career. We encourage you to browse the internet to learn more and contact current or future employers about employee incentive programs. We have provided links to some of these opportunities below. Additionally, the Foundation Center provides support for students looking for foundation support to finance their education, and Fastweb provides an online scholarship search engine that can be very useful in finding resources to support your studies at QMSS.