All students admitted to the PhD program receive guaranteed financial support (four years for students entering with an MA or five years for students entering with a BA). This guarantee includes full tuition, academic year stipends, and comprehensive health insurance.

Financial support is distributed through fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or graduate instructorship. To receive support, a student must be registered for courses or thesis credits as well as be demonstrating satisfactory and timely progress toward the degree.


First-year students are eligible for the following awards, which do NOT require separate applications beyond the admissions application.

  • College of Liberal Arts Fellowships
    Each year the American Studies Admissions Committee nominates students for CLA Fellowships. If awarded, these fellowships carry a generous stipend ($25,000 in 2016–2017), full tuition waivers, and subsidized health care coverage.
  • Diversity of Views and Experience Fellowships (DOVE)
    This program assists departments in recruiting and retaining US citizens underrepresented in graduate study. Applicants who wish to be nominated for the DOVE should include in the diversity narrative statement on how their background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to promoting excellence through diversity.
  • Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change Scholar Fellowships (ICGC)
    This promotes graduate study and research committed to the interdisciplinary study of the global south in the context of global change. Applicants who wish to be nominated should include supplemental information, in the "other information" category, a statement detailing their experience and interest in the issues of the ICGC-MacArthur Program.
  • Sylvia K. and Samuel L. Kaplan Fellowship in Social Justice
    This American studies fellowship is designed to provide financial assistance to exceptional applicants seeking an American studies PhD. Recipients receive a stipend, tuition waivers, and subsidized health coverage in their 1st and 4th years. Applicants who wish to be nominated for this fellowship should include a one-two page statement detailing their commitment to social justice through their PhD as supplemental information (in the "other information" category).

Teaching Assistantships

Graduate students are eligible for half-time (20 hours/week) assistantships, which do NOT require separate application beyond the admissions application. Teaching assistantships are available to PhD students through their fourth year in the program (if entering with an MA) or fifth year in the program (if entering with a BA). On occasion, a PhD student beyond their fifth year may receive a teaching assistantship, though this is not guaranteed as part of admission. Teaching assistants in their first year of teaching will either act as graders or conduct discussion sections for large undergraduate courses; some may teach their own courses in later years.

Awards and Support for Later Years

Graduate students beyond their first year can apply for the following awards.

  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship
    University-wide competition for mid-career PhD students to study with faculty at one of the University’s interdisciplinary research centers or institutes.
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships
    University-wide competition for students in the final stages of dissertation writing.
  • Beverly & Richard Fink Summer Research Fellowship
    This fellowship encourages recipients of the Graduate School's DOVE Fellowship who are enrolled in graduate programs of the College of Liberal Arts to partner with a CLA faculty mentor on a research project to be conducted during the summer. Recipients will receive a fellowship of $4,000.
  • Department of American Studies Research Assistantships
    Individual faculty members who receive funding for research hire graduate students of their choice on an as-needed basis. The availability of these positions varies from year to year.
  • Administrative Fellowships
    Occasional job openings in American studies or in other University offices (e.g., in CLA administration as an administrative fellow). Watch for internal postings.
  • Department of American Studies travel and research awards
    Fellowships may be available for PhD students to pay for a portion of travel to give conference papers, conduct archival research, or go to a job interview. Short-term research grants may be available to PhD students to pay for summer travel directly related to scholarly work.
  • Graduate Research Partnership Program (GRPP)
    This program provides $4,000 summer awards for selected graduate students, who are advised by a faculty member. Applications are judged on the quality and significance of the work proposed, value of the experience to the student’s academic development, value of the support to the scholarly/creative achievement of the project, and evidence of timely progress toward degree.

Emergency Funding

The Department of American Studies Emergency Fund will make available up to $2000 in funds per academic year (with up to $1000 allocated per semester) for graduate students. Priority will be given to requests seeking support for crises that impact immediate basic needs such as food insecurity, shelter, safety, health, and other crises that inhibit a student's ability to successfully move through the program. Should funds be available we will also consider requests based on immediate manifestations of ongoing responsibilities and/or family emergencies. 

Other Funding Sources

Graduate students can also find support outside of the department.

  • The Graduate School Fellowship Office (314 Johnston Hall) can provide information on fellowships and scholarships awarded by external foundations and organizations and on miscellaneous funds available within the University.
  • Other UMN departments or offices sometimes employ American studies graduate students as part-time teaching or administrative assistants. Such positions are often listed with the Graduate Assistant Employment Office.
  • The Office of Student Finance (200 Fraser Hall) accepts applications for scholarships, loans, and work-study grants.

The University of Minnesota Office of Human Resources (170 Donhowe Building) maintains lists of on- and off-campus jobs.