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Economics graduate students talking

Ph.D. Aid and Awards

Standard Financial Support

All Economics Ph.D. students receive the following standard support for up to five years, subject to making satisfactory progress towards the degree:

  • Full University tuition scholarship
  • Health insurance
  • Twelve-month stipend ($26,000 for 2020-21)

During the first year, students on aid have no teaching responsibilities. Thereafter, aid recipients serve 19 hours per week as teaching assistants.

Applicants with outstanding records will be considered for University Graduate Fellowships (up to $5,000 per year for three years, with the possibility of renewal), which provide a supplementary stipend in addition to the usual financial aid award. Several of these awards are currently held by Economics Ph.D. students. The Graduate School also awards several three-year supplementary fellowships (up to $5,000 per year) to very promising students from diverse backgrounds, broadly defined, who are pursuing degrees in Arts and Science disciplines.

Additional Support Options

Economics Ph.D. students can apply for a variety of additional support options, including funding from both Vanderbilt and external sources.

Kirk Dornbush and Noel Dissertation Fellowships 

Amount: One semester of dissertation research support, equivalent to one semester of full TA support. Recipients are free from any TA or RA responsibilities during the term of the fellowship.
Eligibility: Students who have been in the Economics Ph.D. program for less than eight semesters and who have passed their dissertation proposal defense by the time of application for the fellowship.
Special Requirements: The Noel Dissertation Fellowship must be taken in the spring semester.

Kirk Dornbush Research Assistantship 

Amount: Full support for one semester
Eligibility: Economics Ph.D. students who are working on a specific research project with a tenure-track or tenured faculty member
Special Requirements: Awarded annually. The goals of the program are to enhance faculty research, to actively involve Ph.D. students in research projects that are complementary to dissertation completion, and to potentially serve as “seed money” that may lead to outside grants. 

Kirk Dornbush Summer Research Awards 

Amount: $2,500, paid in a single installment at the end of May
Eligibility: Economics Ph.D. students who have been in the program for less than 10 semesters and are working on a specific research project
Special Requirements: The research project must be under faculty supervision, but funds are not intended to support work as a research assistant.

Household International Best Research Paper Award 

Amount: $250
Eligibility: Third-year Economics Ph.D. students

Council of Economics Graduate Students Research Grant Awards

Amount: Varies, depending on the needs of the project and the total amount available for distribution
Eligibility: All Economics Ph.D. students

University Graduate Fellowships

Amount: Up to $5,000 per year for three years, with the possibility of renewal
Eligibility: Vanderbilt University Ph.D. program applicants with outstanding records

Graduate School Supplementary Fellowships

Amount: Up to $5,000 per year for three years
Eligibility: Promising Ph.D. students in the College of Arts and Science who are from underrepresented backgrounds

Graduate students are encouraged to undertake professional development and to present their research at major regional, national, and international conferences. Vanderbilt provides various travel grants to help defray the expenses of attending and presenting at conferences.

Graduate School Travel Grants

Amount: Up to $500 per budget year (July 1-June 30)
Eligibility: Students who have completed at least one academic year at Vanderbilt
Special Requirements: Available for domestic or international travel. Students may receive up to three travel grants during their tenure at Vanderbilt.

Graduate Leadership Institute (GLI) Travel Grant 

Amount: Up to $1,000
Eligibility: Graduate students seeking opportunities to further their professional and/or academic development, for which funding is commonly unavailable
Special Requirements: See the Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute website

Graduate Student Council (GSC) Travel Grant

Amount: Up to $500
Eligibility: Active members of GSC who are attending academic events (such as conferences, symposia, or workshops) for the purpose of presenting personal research.
Special Requirements: Awarded to five students per semester. All travel funds must be approved by the GSC travel award committee prior to the event. For more information about travel grants, see the Graduate School website. To apply for a travel grant, complete the Travel Funding Request form.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program 

Amount: Three years of stipend support, plus a cost-of-education allowance
Special Requirements: The Vanderbilt fellowship year typically begins in summer or fall. The summer fellowship year runs June 1-May 31. The fall fellowship year typically runs August 1-July 31, but may also begin on September 1 or October 1.

Vanderbilt graduate students also have access to SPIN, a searchable database listing thousands of external funding opportunities. See this presentation for more information about establishing a SPIN profile and searching for funding opportunities.