All students admitted to the Ph.D. program are offered funding, which includes a 12-month stipend, a full tuition waiver, and student health insurance. If students continue to make good progress in the program, funding typically continues for five years. Outstanding applicants may also be eligible for departmental, College of Arts and Science, or University fellowships that supplement the standard stipend. The department nominates outstanding applicants for these awards; there is no separate application process. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Department offers a Fellowship that also provides a supplement to the standard stipend for selected students with health and health policy research emphases.
Most funded students work as graduate assistants to the department faculty members, though some may choose instead to apply for paid positions with American Sociological Review, which is edited in the department. To support themselves beyond the usual five years of graduate assistant funding, students may work as research assistants to faculty members in sociology or in other parts of the University, or teach at Vanderbilt or in other local colleges. Students also benefit from numerous internal funding opportunities, such as dissertation-year fellowships from the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities; summer research awards from the College of Arts and Science; small research grants from the Department of Sociology; and travel grants from the Graduate School Students are also encouraged to compete for national external graduate fellowships sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Jacob Javits Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the American Sociological Association.