Financial Support

Departmental funding

The department considers all incoming Ph.D. students for financial aid. For first-year students, these awards are generally made in the form of a university fellowship, teaching assistantships, or some combined package. Awards will be made by the last weeks in March and will be offered, as far as our resources allow, to the most likely qualified applicants.

Because of our limited funds, we encourage all students to explore other sources of support at the same time. In the past, institutions such as the National Science Foundation, English Speaking Union, and the Danforth Foundation have provided graduate students with support. Some nationally sponsored fellowships (for example, the Javitz Fellowship) award support for a number of years at one time. Once here on campus, a student may qualify for low-interest loans and work-study opportunities. Sometimes students in our department are able to qualify for teaching assistantships in other departments, such as Mathematics, Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Physics (among others).

Learn more about our fellowships + awards

Length of support

Most departmental funding offers are for four or five years. Continued funding is based on merit and is contingent upon demonstration of satisfactory progress toward the degree, as defined by the department. Toward the end of the fourth year, each student’s progress is reviewed by the full faculty. Fifth-year funding may be denied to those students who fail to demonstrate satisfactory progress.

Any unfunded Ph.D. students will be considered for aid on an annual basis. Again, awards will be offered to students who have demonstrated in the most consistent fashion an ability to progress toward the completion of the program. The overall graduate record, depth of understanding as evidenced in written work, and the systematic completion of courses are some of the most important considerations used in making these awards. Our basic goal in distributing awards is to support as many deserving students as possible. In the last few years we have been able to find support for all students who show genuine promise of completing the Ph.D. program. We hope to be able to continue this record in the future. Our ability to do so is enhanced because often some of our very best students are able to secure outside funding.

No funding is available for students admitted for the M.A. degree. Those who successfully petition for admission to the Ph.D. program at the end of the first year are considered for funding on an ad hoc basis semester-by-semester, but funding cannot be guaranteed.

Because of funding limitations, we often do not offer support beyond the fourth or fifth year of graduate work, though opportunities for teaching or for dissertation-year fellowships from the University are sometimes available. In any case, by the fifth year a student will have completed most of the required hours, so fees will be reduced to a minimum. External fellowships may, of course, extend beyond the fourth year. Again, students are urged to seek outside sources of funding.

Learn more in the student portal