Financial Support


The contribution of graduate students is highly valued, and the University and Department are strongly committed to financially support the students selected for admission. Each admitted Ph.D. will receive a letter that details the financial support package to be offered; information in this letter subsumes and supersedes the information in this section, which is intended as a brief overview.

Typically, PhD students receive full funding for their graduate studies, including tuition, fees, insurance, and stipend. Stipend support comes in the form of graduate fellowship, teaching assistantship, or research assistantship. Summer support comes from various opportunities - research assistantship with one's advisor, industry internship, summer course instructorship, and/or departmental funding.

PhD students are typically fully funded by the Department and/or fellowships during their first two academic years. This arrangement gives junior PhD students an opportunity to explore new areas and options for research engagement before requiring financial support from faculty advisors.

No financial support from the department is available for students in the MS or MSEC program. Although research and teaching assistantships and other forms of support may sometimes become available, there is no guarantee. All MS and MSEC students must be able to support themselves or secure external financial resources.

Fellowship Opportunities

Graduate School Fellowships: The Graduate School provides several competitive fellowships for incoming and continuing PhD students, including James B. Duke Fellowships, University Scholars Program Fellowships, Dean's Graduate Fellowships, etc. Please refer to the relevant Graduate School pages for details. Incoming students do not apply for these awards; rather, selection is based on departmental nomination. Continuing students interested in awards for advanced students should follow the application procedures in the respective announcements.

Department-Coordinated Fellowships: The Department annually selects students to nominate for a number of external fellowships. Students do not apply directly for these fellowships.

National and Foundation Awards: In addition to awards available through the University, Graduate School, and Department, Ph.D. applicants are urged to compete for national and foundation awards for graduate study.

The Duke University Office of Research Support houses a library of reference materials pertaining to research funding and graduate fellowships, publicizes grant opportunities, and holds regular seminars on grantsmanship and the availability of funding. Visit their student funding page.

Summer Opportunities

The Department offers a summer RIP (Research Initiation Project) initiative program for first-year Ph.D. students. The program provides matching summer funding for eligible students who have completed their RIP proposal by the end of their first spring semester and are working with faculty advisors on their RIP during the summer. Program availability and details may vary across years and will be announced by the DGS office each fall semester.

Research projects may offer research assistantships during the summer. The length of such assistantships varies; many offer two months of full-time support. Interested graduate students should consult their faculty advisors in advance for the availability of these assistantships.

Many summer internships are available in industry. Some of them have early application deadlines (e.g., end of fall or beginning of spring). Students apply to these internships directly, but should check their plans with faculty advisors. Faculty members with collaboration and contacts in industry are often able to identify more and/or better opportunities beyond those that are publicly advertised. International students should consult the DGS office for proper procedures before taking off-campus internships.

Opportunities also exist for graduate students to teach undergraduate classes during summer sessions; interested students should make such requests to the DGS office early in the spring.

Conference Travel Support

The Graduate School provides up to $525 for domestic ($700 for international) travel for advanced Ph.D. students who have passed all parts of the preliminary examination and are presenting a paper, poster, or demonstration at a conference; see application form for additional details.

The Department also provides limited support for conference travel. Awards are subject to funding availability. Apply using the Departmental Conference Travel Fellowship Application

Other Opportunities

Graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents meeting the federal criteria for need can apply for loans and work-study employment. Eligible students should check the Graduate School financial support page to apply for aid.