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Graduate Funding

Our program guarantees at least 5 years of stipend, paid tuition and health insurance for all accepted students. Students do not need to apply for most internal sources of funding, but will be encouraged once they arrive to consider applying for external fellowships and/or prestigious internal fellowships for which they may be competitive. Students may be supported by University Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships and Research Grants, as well as other (e.g., external) Fellowships. Internal awards and appointments are made by The Graduate School acting on the recommendations of the department. The Graduate School provides additional information on financial support. Twice a year, in the fall and spring, the departmental faculty evaluates each student's progress. At these times, decisions about the continuation and type of support are made.

University Fellowships usually are awarded to first-year graduate students.

Teaching Assistantships may be awarded to students in the first and subsequent years. Teaching is an essential element of the education and training experience of PhD students at Northwestern. The Graduate School requires that all PhD students serve in some instructional capacity for at least one academic quarter during their graduate education at Northwestern. This teaching requirement is unique to American higher education, and is an integral aspect of professional development. Students are expected to do comparable teaching work to other students within their program. The Graduate School strives to ensure teaching demands are as similar as possible across academic programs.

Research Assistantships are a principal source of financial support for students admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. Research Assistantships are obtained by faculty members from outside sources for research on specific topics. Each student is urged to identify fields of interest as early as possible and to contact the relevant faculty members about the possibility of their employment as a Research Assistant. Research projects and financial support are arranged by mutual consent of the student and faculty members.

Sloss Fellowships are supported by endowment funds and provide a tuition scholarship and stipend to qualified senior graduate students (i.e., following the third or fourth year in the program).

Sloss Research Awards are granted annually, whenever possible, based on evaluation of research proposals written by students. To compete for the award, students must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need (no other sources of support). Awards typically help to offset the cost of fieldwork and other research.

Boos Fellowships are supported by endowment funds and provide a tuition scholarship and living stipend to qualified senior women graduate students (i.e., following the third to fourth year in the program). In special cases, these fellowships may be awarded to first- or second-year women.

Conference Travel Funding - Financial assistance is available to help defray expenses for students traveling to meetings to give academic presentations. First-year students presenting research completed at Northwestern may apply to the Department Chair for support up to $600. Students who have completed at least 3 quarters of full-time registration may apply for a Graduate School Conference Travel Grant for one award of $500 per year, that may be further supplemented by $300 from the Department, upon application to the Department Chair. For travel to a second annual meeting, departmental support of up to $300 may be awarded upon application.

Other fellowships can be found through The Graduate School's fellowship and grants information pages.


Health insurance is required by the University of all graduate students.  The department and the Graduate School collectively pay the annual premium for students' health insurance provided through the university.