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How to Make Money in Grad School: Our Expert Advice

The grad school experience is known for a lot of things: rich learning opportunities in your chosen field, one-of-a-kind mentorship opportunities from faculty, and lifelong friendships with others in your cohort. One thing it’s not known for is being a time where you have plenty of extra spending money. 

If you’re applying to be a student, you might be wondering how to make money in grad school—after all, any part-time jobs have to be balanced against your rigorous course load.

Read on to learn four ways grad students may be able to earn some extra cash without disrupting their busy lifestyle.

#1 Teaching and Tutoring

Teaching is one avenue that may help you build cash flow while also giving you the opportunity to positively impact the lives of other students. There are a few different options for teaching jobs that may fit into your schedule:

  • Teaching assistantships – Teaching assistantships can be a great way to bolster your income while also giving you hands-on experience in the world of academia. This may be especially helpful if you’re looking to become a professor down the line. As a TA, you might assist professors with grading, lecturing, and running a course. The salary you can expect to earn will vary depending on your institution and its unique policies
  • On-campus tutoring – Many schools offer an academic support center where students can get assistance with their coursework, as well as feedback on written work or skill development. If your school’s academic support center hires student tutors, consider applying. This may be a great way to earn money on campus.
  • Private tutoring – You can also explore working as a private tutor, which may give you access to a wider range of students—you could potentially teach anyone from elementary school students struggling with fractions to adult learners looking to continue their education. As a private tutor, you can either set up shop for yourself with clients of your own or work with a tutoring agency that handles the marketing and client outreach.

#2 Research Fellowships

If you’re looking to gain real-world experience that may help you become a more attractive candidate for future jobs while also earning some money, a research fellowship might be the right choice for you. As a grad student, you likely have some degree of research work ahead of you (as most programs typically require students to complete a certain number of research hours or fieldwork), making this source of income extra appealing. 

Although many of these opportunities are unpaid, you might be able to find some that offer payment or a stipend. Because paid research fellowships can be competitive, you’ll want to make sure that your grades are top-notch before applying.1

#3 Internships

Internships are an excellent way to make your resume shine, and they can often sometimes be paid, too. Generally speaking, internships can provide you with hands-on experience in a real-world work environment and can be completed either part-time during the school year or over the summer. The work experience may also provide a boost to your future job search.

To start your internship search, check out some sources that might be able to provide helpful resources, such as:

#4 Side Hustles

A traditional part-time job that requires you to adhere to a set schedule or working hours might not be a great fit for the busy grad student lifestyle. Finding a “side hustle” that can fit flexibly into your free time is an option for earning some extra cash while still making your academic success your top priority. 

A recent study conducted by the Harris Poll showed that a third of Americans currently have a side hustle. You can choose your side hustle based on your interests, abilities, and what would fit best into your schedule. Some examples include:

  • Selling items on websites like eBay or Poshmark
  • Doing gig-based work, like driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Doing task-based work through apps like TaskRabbit
  • Babysitting or nannying
  • Renting a spare room through Airbnb
  • Using your expertise to create an online course or provide consulting services 
  • Doing freelance graphic design or copywriting
  • Selling artwork or handicrafts on Etsy
  • Providing virtual assistant work
  • Teaching a fitness class, like Pilates, Yoga, or Zumba

Making Cash in Grad School—What’s the Best Choice for You?

As a grad student, making money while also balancing your heavy course load and personal needs can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! There are opportunities out there that may help you earn cash while staying on top of your work, whether it be teaching, interning, or finding a side hustle. You can choose what works best for you. 

Many of Alliant International University’s graduate programs offer on-campus or online courses that may provide flexibility for your schedule while providing top-tier courses, access to expert faculty members, and helpful resources. Request more information today to start on the path toward your graduate degree!


  1. "2021 Side Hustle Statistics: Trends And Data.” Smarts. 2021.…)%20are%20still%20confused. Accessed January 30, 2022.
  2. Kowarski, Ilana. 2019. "What Is A Fellowship And Why Pursue One." U.S. News And World Report. January 28, 2019.…. Accessed January 30, 2022.
  3. "Study Shows Impact Of Internships On Career Outcomes.” Naceweb. 2017.…. Accessed January 30, 2022.
  4. "Teaching Assistant (TA) Hourly Pay | Payscale." Payscale. 2022.…. Accessed January 30, 2022.

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