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Ph.D. Aid and Awards

All political science Ph.D. students receive the following standard support for the duration of their program, subject to making satisfactory progress towards the degree:

  • Full university tuition scholarship
  • Health insurance
  • Twelve-month stipend ($34,00 base stipend for 2023-24)

Students work as a resident assistant or a teaching assistant for four of the funded years and have two semesters service-free to be used when needed. Applicants with outstanding records will be considered for University or Provost’s Graduate Fellowships, which provide a supplementary stipend in addition to the usual financial aid award (up to $5,000 per year for three years, with the possibility of renewal).

Additional Support Options

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

Departmental Research and Training Fellowships

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

Erwin Hargrove Outstanding TA Award

Amount: $250

Eligibility: All political science Ph.D. students who have been a TA in the prior academic year

Special Requirements: The department presents an award to an outstanding TA each year. Students may self-nominate and faculty may nominate students with whom they have worked. A student may win this award only once in their career.

Outstanding Research Paper Award

Amount: $250

Eligibility: All political science Ph.D. students

Special Requirements: Papers presented at scholarly conferences, completed for coursework, or accepted for publication over the past academic year, including the summer before the previous academic year, are eligible. A paper may not win this award twice, that is, it cannot win in one year as a conference paper and in the following year as an article publication. Only papers written by doctoral students are eligible. Students are invited to self-nominate. A student may only have one paper per year under consideration for this award, and this includes co-authored papers. A paper is eligible only if all co-authors are current Vanderbilt students.

University Graduate Fellowships

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

Provost’s Graduate Fellowships Award

Amount: Up to $5,000 per year for three years

Eligibility: Promising Ph.D. students in, or applicants to, the College of Arts and Science who are from traditionally excluded or 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. For more information about travel grants, please see the Graduate School website.

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.

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

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