Many Ph.D. programs are fully funded.
Students interested in graduate research in various fields, from public health and English to computer science and engineering, have numerous options for Ph.D. programs that offer full funding. These programs typically provide waived tuition and fees, as well as an annual stipend. Some also offer health insurance and other benefits. But gaining admittance into these small cohorts can be highly competitive and the programs themselves can be time-consuming. Read on to learn more.
Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health at Harvard University
Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston offers a Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health that aims to provide students with expertise in disease prevention and treatment. This program is fully funded, which includes a stipend, tuition and health insurance for five years as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. International students receive the same benefits. Current research in the school’s laboratories includes diseases like malaria, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.
Ph.D. in business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Students enrolled in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can study a range of fields like organization studies, accounting and marketing. Those pursuing a Ph.D. program will receive a full-tuition scholarship plus a monthly stipend of $3,810.
Ph.D. in business at Rice University
At the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business in Texas, students enjoy full financial assistance upon admission to the Ph.D. program. Aiming to prepare students to teach in fields like accounting, finance and marketing, the program provides students a research assistantship to earn a $40,000 stipend per year and a tuition waiver. The assistantship is merit-based and allows no more than 20 hours of work per week.
Ph.D. in business at the University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business offers Ph.D. degrees in accounting, economics, finance, management, business analytics and marketing. The college says it provides full funding to “virtually all admitted students.” This includes full tuition and fees, a minimum nine-month stipend of about $20,041 and comprehensive health insurance. Some departments also offer funding for research presentations at major conferences, summer fellowships, additional departmental scholarships and paid time off to pursue independent research.
Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University
According to Cornell University‘s website, all students admitted to the chemical engineering Ph.D. program at the New York school receive a full tuition waiver, stipend and health insurance. This funding can come from a fellowship, research assistantship or teaching assistantship, and full stipends are given for nine months with the likelihood of additional summer aid. Students are offered flexibility in their specialization during this program, though they are required to minor in two subjects and complete a thesis.
Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University
All Ph.D. students studying civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering in Illinois can anticipate full funding during their studies. This funding comes from internal and external fellowships, grants, and teaching and research assistantships. Most Ph.D. fields are very research-focused. The geotechnical engineering Ph.D., for example, prepares students to go into engineering practice or to pursue careers in research or teaching.
Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University
Students enrolled in Columbia University‘s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at the Teachers College in New York receive fully funded tuition and a $25,000 stipend annually for four years. These doctoral fellows may work as a graduate teaching or research assistant. The program prepares students to work in academia, at research institutes, in hospitals and in community agencies. Students typically complete the program in five to seven years.
Ph.D. in computer science at Brown University
Brown University‘s Ph.D. students in computer science have access to computer clusters and labs in addition to five years of guaranteed financial support for nine months a year. In fact, doctoral students in any program at the Rhode Island university are guaranteed financial support, which includes a stipend, tuition remission, a health services fee, and health and dental insurance subsidies. Students can use teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships or proctorships to pay for tuition and may use the stipend to pay for living expenses.
Ph.D. in computer science at Georgetown University
Georgetown University‘s Ph.D. program in computer science provides merit-based scholarships and research assistantships that cover full tuition at the Washington, D.C., school and include a stipend and health insurance for five years. All applicants are eligible for this aid, but it is not guaranteed. Once enrolled in the program, students must write a dissertation proposal and defend the proposal, and ultimately write and defend a dissertation in a seminar open to the public.
Ph.D. in computer science at Washington University–St. Louis
Ph.D. students in the computer science or computer engineering program at Washington University–St. Louis receive full tuition support and health insurance. According to the university’s website, “As a doctoral candidate, you will also receive a generous stipend to cover living expenses and a new, high-end Apple laptop computer. This support is guaranteed as you continue to make satisfactory progress towards your degree.”
Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
While not all Ph.D. students enrolled in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are guaranteed to receive full funding, according to the university’s department of counseling psychology website, “it is usual for these students to be supported by a combination of graduate assistantships and fellowships while they are completing course work in the program.” Doctoral students also receive a benefits package that includes health insurance.
Ph.D. in economics at Emory University
Though not guaranteed, students enrolled in the economics Ph.D. program at Emory University typically receive full funding, according to the Georgia university’s website. The stipend provided to students is $31,775 per year for five years and the full tuition scholarship is worth $65,700 per year. Funding for admitted students also includes a subsidy that covers 100% of a student’s cost of health insurance. First-year students have no stipend-related work requirements.
Ph.D. in education at New York University
New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers more than 30 degree programs in 10 departments. Many of the programs can be pursued on campus or online. Ph.D. degrees are offered in areas like developmental psychology, educational leadership and childhood education. “Full-time NYU Steinhardt PhD students without alternate funding sources are eligible for a generous funding package that includes a scholarship and tuition remission,” the university’s website reads. This funding includes an annual stipend, tuition remission for required coursework and student health insurance for four years.
Ph.D. in education at Stanford University
Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education allows students numerous fellowship and assistantship opportunities at the California school, along with a “five-year funding guarantee which provides tuition aid, fellowship stipend and assistantship work,” the program website reads. At the Graduate School of Education, doctoral students can choose from a range of academic areas like curriculum studies and teacher education, developmental and psychological sciences, and cross-disciplinary specializations.
Ph.D. in engineering at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
Doctoral students in engineering at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor can choose from numerous areas of specialization under umbrella categories like aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and robotics. All engineering doctoral students are guaranteed full funding, a monthly living stipend and health insurance. The exact amount can vary, according to the program’s website, and funding comes from a range of sources including graduate student instructor positions and external fellowships.
Ph.D. in English at Boston University
Annually, doctoral students studying English at Boston University receive a stipend of about $28,000 plus full tuition, fees and basic health insurance. This funding is guaranteed for five years, with two of those years being free from teaching requirements due to fellowship support. Some funding is typically available in the sixth year, according to the university’s website, but it’s not guaranteed. Students may also apply for various prizes, fellowships and short-term research and travel grants. This Ph.D. program has suspended accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year, but the university’s website says the program plans to resume accepting applications in fall 2021 for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Ph.D. in English at the University of California–Los Angeles
The Ph.D. in English at the University of California–Los Angeles is fully funded, and applicants are automatically considered for various funding options. Funding includes a minimum of two years of full fellowship, four years of summer stipend support and up to four years of teaching assistantships. Fees and health insurance are also covered. With more than 200 applications each year, each entering class is just eight to 12 students — making the program very competitive. Students can expect “critical rigor and historical breadth with flexibility and individual focus. Seminars include both the traditional values of the discipline and the exciting innovations that are reshaping its future,” according to the program’s website.
Ph.D. in English at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame doctoral students in English receive full-tuition scholarships and stipends for five years. Doctoral students at the Indiana university may continue to receive funding into a sixth year if they provide evidence that they applied for at least two external fellowships, one of which must be for a year of funding. The first year of the doctoral program does not require service, but according to the university’s website, second-year students generally teach a writing course and students in the remaining years can teach undergraduate literature and writing courses, work as research assistants and teaching assistants, and/or serve as managing editor for any of several department journals.
Ph.D. in management at Binghamton University–SUNY
All students admitted to the interdisciplinary management Ph.D. program at the Binghamton University–SUNY School of Management in New York receive a combination of a full-tuition scholarship and a teaching or research assistantship for an academic year. This business doctoral degree prepares students for careers in academia and work in the public and private sectors, and has a student-faculty ratio of 1-to-1, according to the university’s website.
Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Duke University
Doctoral students at Duke University in North Carolina studying materials science and engineering receive full tuition, a stipend and fee support for the first five years. Students also receive up to six years of health insurance if they are on the Duke student medical insurance plan. The doctoral program aims to help students publish with a faculty adviser and develop research skills, with the opportunity to present research at professional conferences.
Ph.D. in nursing at Duke University
For the first two years of the Ph.D. program in nursing at Duke University‘s School of Nursing in North Carolina, students receive full tuition and a 12-month stipend. For years three through five, students receive full tuition and a nine-month stipend. According to the nursing school’s website, “The goal of the PhD Program in Nursing is to prepare nurse scholars who will build nursing science by leading interdisciplinary research initiatives targeting the interface between chronic illness and care systems. The purpose of these initiatives is to better understand, develop, and test innovative interventions, and to translate research into practice.”
Ph.D. in nursing at Johns Hopkins University
The School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore provides most doctoral students with three fully funded years of study. Financial aid available includes graduate assistantships, targeted fellowships and nursing-specific funding. The university aims to “advance the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and healthcare delivery with a Johns Hopkins PhD in nursing,” its website reads. “By graduation, most Hopkins nurse scholars have been awarded grants that continue their research and set them well on their way to a successful career.”
Ph.D. in nursing at the University of Virginia
All students admitted to the University of Virginia‘s Ph.D. in Nursing program are eligible for four years of scholarship funding to cover tuition, insurance and fees, and annual stipends. To receive certain aid, students must work 10 hours per week as a graduate teaching assistant. Graduates of the program are best prepared for careers as scholars, nurse scientists and academics. With a heavy research focus, students can expect courses in qualitative, quantitative and historical research, and will have to submit a research proposal for peer review. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and many hold a master’s degree in nursing.
Ph.D. in nursing at Yale University
At Yale University in Connecticut, the School of Nursing offers full funding to its Ph.D. students. They receive a monthly stipend for four years in addition to paid tuition and health care. The program allows students an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in a particular area of study, and “each incoming PhD student is paired with a faculty advisor whose area of expertise and active research most closely matches with the student’s scholarly interest (content and method),” the school’s website reads.
Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
Students admitted to the Ph.D. program to study psychology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities are guaranteed five years of full funding as long as they maintain satisfactory performance and degree progress. This funding includes full-time tuition, subsidized health insurance and a nine-month stipend. Funding comes from some combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships and fellowships. Students in the program can specialize in areas like cognitive and brain science, industrial/organizational psychology and social psychology.
Ph.D. in social work at Bryn Mawr College
Students admitted to Bryn Mawr College‘s Ph.D. program in social work receive full tuition waivers and “substantial stipends” toward living expenses. The Pennsylvania college’s website says “consistent with our model, all Ph.D. students are funded equally, and do not compete for basic financial support during coursework.” The program’s cohorts typically include only three or four students each year. According to the college, it awarded the first Ph.D. degree in social work in the U.S. in 1920.
Ph.D. in sociomedical sciences at Columbia University
Tuition and fees are covered for students enrolled in the Ph.D. public health program at Columbia University‘s Department of Sociomedical Sciences in New York. Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, students also receive a stipend of $35,000 for each year of the five-year program. These funding packages can include aid from existing NIH training programs, endowed scholarships or department funds, and “over the course of their training, students are expected to complete 6-8 ‘rotations’, which will include training in research, teaching, and grant-writing,” the university’s website reads.
Ph.D. in special education at Vanderbilt University
Funding is guaranteed for all admitted doctoral students enrolled in the special education Ph.D. program at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. This includes full tuition, a “competitive” monthly stipend and health insurance for up to five years. Students may also be nominated for additional honor scholarships and fellowships awarded by the college and graduate school. Areas of focus within the Ph.D. program range from early childhood to severe disabilities. Students can submit grant proposals while enrolled, and many have received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, according to the university’s website.
Learn more about paying for graduate school.
Finding a fully funded program isn’t the only option to offset the costs of graduate school. See these five strategies to pay for graduate school to learn more. Check out the latest Best Graduate Schools rankings to see the country’s top business, medicine and law programs — and more. For additional grad school tips, follow U.S. News Education on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ph.D. programs that are fully funded
— Ph.D. in biological sciences in public health at Harvard University
— Ph.D. in business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
— Ph.D. in business at Rice University
— Ph.D. in business at the University of Iowa
— Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University
— Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University
— Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University
— Ph.D. in computer science at Brown University
— Ph.D. in computer science at Georgetown University
— Ph.D. in computer science at Washington University–St. Louis
— Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
— Ph.D. in economics at Emory University
— Ph.D. in education at New York University
— Ph.D. in education at Stanford University
— Ph.D. in engineering at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
— Ph.D. in English at Boston University
— Ph.D. in English at the University of California–Los Angeles
— Ph.D. in English at the University of Notre Dame
— Ph.D. in management at Binghamton University–SUNY
— Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Duke University
— Ph.D. in nursing at Duke University
— Ph.D. in nursing at Johns Hopkins University
— Ph.D. in nursing at the University of Virginia
— Ph.D. in nursing at Yale University
— Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
— Ph.D. in social work at Bryn Mawr College
— Ph.D. in sociomedical sciences at Columbia University
— Ph.D. in special education at Vanderbilt University
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Update 03/31/21: This slideshow has been updated with new information.