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English Department

Funding for Ph.D.s

Fellowships range from $24,500 to $34,500 per year for five years.

The Vanderbilt Graduate School and the Department of English offer a number of stipends and scholarships. Such awards are limited and competitive. Normally, financial awards are available only for students seeking fall semester admission. Amounts and conditions for each type of financial aid vary; see the DGS for details. Financial awards are paid out on an twelve-month schedule.

  • The University Fellowship is given to the first-year student as a full scholarship involving no Departmental duties. Students who enter with the B.A. hold this award for the first year. Upon completing 24 hours of coursework and submitting a thesis, these students are awarded the M.A. degree. They are then eligible to teach one course per semester for the following four years as TAs. Students who enter with the M.A. also receive the UF and do not have any teaching responsibilities during the first year of study.
  • The Teaching Assistantship is given only to students who have completed the M.A. (either at VU or elsewhere) by the beginning date of the award. TAs usually teach one section of a variety of 100-level English courses each semester for four years. If extra sections (and, thus, a larger stipend) are available, they are distributed by seniority and according to the quality of previous teaching. If in its annual review of all Program participants the Graduate Committee finds inadequate the progress of any student toward the degree (unmet course or language requirements, one or more "Incompletes," poor academic or teaching evaluations), financial support may be terminated. The TA is available for a maximum of four years.
  • The Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholarship is a $6,000 topping-up award granted in addition to one of the awards mentioned above. This award is given to students entering the doctoral program and is renewable for up to five years. Its continuance is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree. HSV Awards are competitive among applicants to all graduate programs in the University.
  • The University Graduate Fellowship is a $10,000 topping-up award granted in addition to one of the awards mentioned above. This award is given to students entering the doctoral program and is renewable for up to five years. Its continuance is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree. UGF Awards are competitive among applicants to all graduate programs in the University.
  • The Arts and Science Select Scholar receives a $3,000 annual stipend in addition to the basic award. Applicants for the A&S Select compete with those for all graduate programs in the College.
  • The Provost's Graduate Fellowship is a $10,000 annual topping-up award that supplements the student's base stipend for up to five years. The PGF recognizes students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Factors considered include racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or other considerations.
  • Dissertation-Year Fellowships are available for students in the fifth year of work. These fellowships are service free, may vary in number each year, and are awarded on a competitive basis. Students interested in a Dissertation-Year Fellowship must submit the proper form (obtainable from the DGS office), a full curriculum vita, a copy of the Dissertation Proposal, a timetable of work for the dissertation year, and a letter of recommendation from the dissertation director. Applications and all supporting materials should be in the DGS office by April 1 of the academic year prior to the dissertation year. The Chair of the Department, in consultation with the DGS, makes the selection.

Additional Funding Opportunities Include:

Research Assistantships
Graduate students in need of extra money or who have reached their award limit may sometimes, with the authorization of the DGS, earn an hourly wage as a grader or research assistant for a faculty member.


Summer Research Support
Summer research fellowships are available through the College of Arts and Science, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Center for the Americas, and the Department. These fellowships support research, travel, and educational opportunities that contribute to graduate students' work. Contact the DGS office for details.


Fall and Spring Dissertation Enhancement Grants
The Graduate School conducts two Dissertation Enhancement Grant competitions each year. These non-taxable awards of up to $2,000 each are intended to add depth or breadth to the student's dissertation research. Two students are nominated for each semester. A student is eligible for only one grant during his or her academic career.


Travel Grants
Students may apply for one Graduate School Travel Grant per fiscal year (forms may be obtained in 329 Benson). Grants are limited: up to $500 for domestic travel and up to $1,000 for foreign travel. Students must be the sole presenter of research at a major regional, national, or international conference.


Academic Job Search Support
The English Department has a thorough program of mentoring and advisement for students seeking academic employment. This includes a grant to support travel and lodging at the annual MLA conference if a candidate has been invited to job interviews there. The DGS and the Placement Director can provide additional information about this support.


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