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Dana Nelson teaches a graduate English class as students sit around a table in the department library

Ph.D. Aid and Awards

Standard Financial Support

All students admitted to the doctoral program will receive full tuition and a base stipend of $26,000, as well as health insurance coverage. Student service fees are deducted from the annual stipend. In order to maintain funding year-to-year, students must make sufficient progress toward the degree.

Additional Support Options

  • The Drake Series: The annual endowed Drake Series is designed to give graduate students extended contact with world-class scholars in diverse fields.
  • The Stirling Lecture Series: Each fall, English Department Graduate Students invite a prominent, early-career scholar to the Vanderbilt campus to lead a series of events, including one to two graduate workshops focused largely on areas of pedagogy and professionalization, a public lecture on the scholar’s own research, and casual outings with small groups of graduate students.
  • Summer Institutes: The Department of English regularly funds students’ participation in several summer institutes. Possible summer programming includes:
  • Myers Endowment Travel Grants: The Department’s Myers Endowment Fund supports academic travel and research development with awards up to $1,000. This funding is meant to supplement the opportunities available from the Graduate School, such as travel fellowships and Summer Research Awards (SRAs).
  • Research Assistantships (RAs): Beginning in the second year, graduate students who are in need of extra funding may sometimes, with the authorization of the DGS, earn an hourly wage as RA for a faculty member.
  • Academic Job Search Support: The Department of English has a thorough program of mentoring and advising students seeking academic employment. This includes a professional development grant to support travel and lodging at the annual MLA conference, if a candidate has been invited to job interviews there.
  • The University Graduate Fellowship (UGF): $5,000 three-year merit award renewable for two additional years. This award is for students entering the doctoral program and is renewable for up to five years. Its continuance is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  • Graduate School Travel Grants: $500 per trip. Doctoral students in good standing are eligible to apply for travel grants at the beginning of their second year. Students may apply for three Graduate School Travel Grants (maximum one per year) over their five-year tenure in the program.
  • Summer Research Awards (SRAs): Students may request awards of up to $3,000. Doctoral students in good standing are eligible for the SRA. A student may receive this award no more than twice during their career at Vanderbilt. Application information can be found on the Graduate School website.
  • Summer Language Training Grants: Awards up to $5,000 to study a foreign language in another country. Doctoral students in good standing are eligible. Application deadlines in early spring.
  • Professional Development Funding: When available, the College of Arts & Science provides funding for professional development outside of traditional conference travel funding. The funds are intended for external programming, language training, research opportunities, etc., beyond a student’s main field of interest. Applications for funding and award disbursement are handled entirely by the Department of English.
  • The Provost’s Graduate Fellowship (PGF): $5,000 annual merit-based topping-up award. This award supplements the student’s base stipend for up to five years (three years initially and renewable for two). The PGF is merit-based and recognizes students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. PGF awards are competitive among applicants to all graduate programs at the University.
  • Mellon Graduate Fellowships in Digital Humanities: These residential awards are for doctoral students in humanities or qualitative social sciences and doctoral students interested in enrolling in the Comparative Media Analysis & Practice (CMAP) program. The Center for Digital Humanities sends announcements in the spring with eligibility requirements and application procedures for these awards.
  • Robert Penn Warren Center Graduate Student Fellowships: These residential awards offer graduate students in the humanities and the social sciences in the College of Arts & Science at Vanderbilt a service-free year of support to enable full-time work on the dissertation. The competition is open to those students in the humanities and qualitative social science in the College of Arts & Science whose dissertation director and Director of Graduate Studies approved a timetable for the dissertation’s completion by the end (August) of the fellowship year.