Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Tuition and Funding


The cost of full-time study (9 or more credit hours) for Academic Year 2014-2015 is:

  • $12,500* (In-State)
  • $28,000* (Out-of-State) 

*Students are also required to register for a minimum of 2 credit hours during the summer session. Full-time enrollment is considered 3 credit hours. Summer 2015 tuition rates are $430 per credit hour (in-state students) and $1,100 per credit hour (out-of-state students) plus an $80 comprehensive/registration fee.


Student stipends for school year 2014-2015 are:

  • $20,452* (MS)
  • $21,292*  (PhD)

*These rates include the regular student stipend plus an allocation for the student health insurance supplement.  The annual stipend and insurance allowance are received over a (24) pay-period cycle.

SMS Graduate Support Package and Funding Policy

It is the general policy of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, School of Marine Science to ensure that all full-time graduate students receive a Graduate Support Package (GSP; tuition, stipend and health insurance supplement), which at a minimum is equivalent to the rate published annually by the School of Marine Science Office of Academic Studies. Continuity of student funding is accomplished through a combination of grants and contracts to individual faculty, teaching assistantships, external fellowships, institutional general and endowment funds, as available.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for external fellowships, such as those offered by the National Science FoundationEPANOAAFord Foundation and others, before coming to VIMS/SMS.

To receive GSP funding a student must remain in good academic standing, demonstrate satisfactory progress as defined by College degree requirements and regulations of the School of Marine Science, which includes meeting the milestones for normative progress in the degree program, and may not hold any other employment or appointment of a remunerative nature without approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.

VIMS Foundation Fellowships

The VIMS Foundation awards a limited number of fellowships to students with outstanding qualifications. These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to approximately 15-20% of the students in each incoming class via a merit ranking system. Fellowship awards are typically in the range of $1,000 to $3,000, with durations of 1-2 years.  Continuing students who are in good academic standing are also eligible for fellowship funding.  A VIMS Foundation Fellowship may be used to supplement the stipend or to establish an account to support research, professional travel and computing expenses.

Tuition Payment Methods

  • Cash or Check to the College of William and Mary
  • Tuition is paid directly for those receiving a Graduate Support Package

Tuition Reduction Privileges

  • In-State Tuition Privilege for Out-of-State Students
  • Students nearing the completion of their degree program are eligible for Research Graduate Status, which carries reduced tuition rates, for one (MS degree candidates) or two (PhD degree candidates) semesters.

Federal Financial Aid

  •  US Citizens may wish to apply for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA).

Other VIMS/SMS Funding Opportunities:

Major Fellowships and Awards
NSF GK-12 Fellowship

PERFECT: Partnership between Educators and Researchers for Enhancing Classroom Teaching. VIMS graduate fellows can improve their communication and teaching skills while enriching marine science content and instruction for their K-12 partners.

Hall-Bonner Program for Minority Doctoral Scholars in Ocean Sciences

This partnership—between VIMS, Hampton University, and Old Dominion University—seeks to increase the diversity of students earning doctoral degrees in the marine and ocean sciences.

Willard Van Engel (WAVE) Fellowship

This 3-year fellowship was established to promote and attract individuals of outstanding ability to conduct blue crab research leading to an advanced degree in The College of William and Mary's School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).

Teaching Scholarship Awards

These awards are given annually to students demonstrating an ability to create and present short courses that are needed by VIMS graduate students but not available within the regular curriculum. This award is intended to (1) foster teaching excellence, (2) visibly emphasize that VIMS recognizes and supports teaching excellence, and (3) enhance the students' teaching credentials.  For more information, read the award guidelines.

John M. and Marilyn Zeigler Achievement Award

This award honors the past contributions of Dr. John Zeigler, the first SMS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and the continuing contributions of Mrs. Zeigler to student needs. The award formally recognizes our students and their genuine contribution to the Institute through academics and research.  All presently enrolled students are eligible. The award is based on scholarship, leadership. research initiative, outstanding publications, and/or exceptional thesis or dissertation work. Outside recognition by such organizations as the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, and professional societies is be considered.

Craig L. Smith Memorial Educational Scholarship Endowment

This fund was established by friends of the late Professor Craig L. Smith to provide scholarship assistance for a graduate student in The College of William and Mary's School of Marine Science at VIMS. Income from this endowment is used to support an academically distinguished graduate student with demonstrated financial need or applied for the best use of the graduate studies program at the discretion of the Dean and Director.  In recent years, it has been awarded to a graduate student applying for funding through the Graduate Student Association's mini-grant program.

William J. Hargis, Jr. Fellowship Award

This award is supported by the William J. Hargis, Jr. Endowment to honor the former long time Director and Dean of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, School of Marine Science, College of William & Mary. It is also supported by matching funds from the Virginia Graduate and Undergraduate Assistance program.  The award is made each year to the first year Master's or doctoral graduate student who—in the judgement of the core-course instructors, faculty members, and Associate Dean of Academic Studies—demonstrates superior academic performance and exceptional promise for a successful career in marine science.

Kelley Watson Fellowship

The Kelley Watson Fellowship recognizes a student who—although not supported by an SMS fellowship—exhibits academic excellence and leadership in the core courses during the first year of graduate study. The fellowship is named in the memory of Kelley Watson, a member of the incoming class of September 2000 who impressed her teachers and fellow students with her enthusiasm, commitment to academic excellence, and strong promise for a successful marine science career.

Matthew Fontaine Maury Student Fellowship Award

This fellowship endowment is made possible by a gift and pledge of the late Captain J. Maury Werth to honor his great-grandfather Matthew Fontaine Maury, a son of Virginia often referred to as the "Father of Oceanography" and "Pathfinder of the Seas."  The award is open to the entire student body and recognizes strong interdisciplinary achievements in marine or environmental sciences research . The recipient will be accomplished in more than one area of specialization and will have integrated these areas into their thesis/dissertation work. The award is based on interdisciplinary scholarship; research and/or policy/management efforts; and outstanding publications, thesis or dissertation work. Outside recognition by professional organizations and societies is be considered. The Dean of Academic Studies, faculty members, and core-course instructors decide the recipient of the award.

Best Student Publication Award

Each year a committee of faculty and students chooses the best journal articles by VIMS graduate students. Papers are judged for scope of problem, degree of challenge, magnitude of effort, hypothesis formulation and testing, and style.

Teaching Assistantships

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available each year. Opportunities exist at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Teaching assistantships are usually awarded to students who have completed their first year. 

Research and Travel Grants
 Student Research Grants

This program, which is supported by VIMS/SMS, provides funding opportunities on an annual basis. Selection criteria include the significance and originality of the proposed work, the organization and clarity of the proposal, and the past performance of the student investigator.  Awards are typically in the range of $1-2,000.

Student Travel Grants

The Associate Dean of Academic Studies awards grants to graduate students for travel to scientific conferences or workshops.  

VIMS-GSA Conference Fund

This fund, which is administered by the Graduate Student Association, supports attendance at scientific conferences in support of research.  The award for any VIMS graduate student presenting a poster or talk is $100. This award is also available to students who are not presenting but can demonstrate that the meeting is important to their research interests.  Awards are to be used toward travel expenses or registration only, and are meant to supplement travel funds from other sources. This award is available only once per degree at VIMS.  For more information, read the fund guidelines.

VIMS-GSA Mini-Grants
College of William & Mary Funding Sources

Some funding for graduate students in the School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is available through The College of William and Mary.