Graduate Studies Funding

All students admitted to the graduate program are guaranteed five years of financial support. Financial support is distributed through fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or graduate instructorships at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies. Continued financial support is contingent upon timely and satisfactory degree progress* in the program.

Funding support beyond five years, as students are ABD, is not ruled out. However, additional funding is not guaranteed. Students in good standing beyond the first five years will be placed on an alternate list for department support. If there are extra positions not filled by students in their funding band, students outside of theirs may receive additional funding beyond the five years.

For more information, please see the Graduate Studies Handbook

TA, R/G, and Instructorship Appointments

The history department employs approximately 30-40 TAs and graduate instructors each academic year. TA appointments are awarded to the beginning and advanced students who are qualified for supervised teaching duties. All awards are contingent upon the availability of funds.


Graduate assistants receive an annual stipend, 12 months of coverage on the Graduate Assistant Health Plan, and tuition coverage for fall and spring semesters, based on working 390 hours in both fall and spring semesters. 

Position Requirements

  • Students must be registered as full time each term of the graduate appointment. This requirement applies to any appointments classified as a graduate assistantship. For more specific information, refer to the Graduate School website.
  • An online funding application is due at the end of each academic year for the following year.
  • Students are asked to indicate their preferences for teaching appointments so that we can assign students to appropriate courses.

Differences in TA and R/G Assignments

Most students will be given teaching assistantships where they will be asked to lead discussion sections and assist the lead instructor with grading and other administrative responsibilities. Other students will be given assignments as readers/graders. Reader/graders do not lead discussion sessions, but they do assist the main instructor with a larger proportion of grading for the course.

Departmental Positions

There are several department based assistantships that will have graduate assistants working closely with the department staff. These positions include communications assistant, recruitment weekend coordinator, History Day assistants. The staff will work with the director of graduate studies to make appointments. Graduate student preferences will be taken into consideration. 

Research Assistant (RA) Appointments

The Director of Graduate Students does not assign 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 on a yearly basis.


The history department awards a variety of year-long fellowships to graduate students. Some department fellowships are offered to first-year students while others are offered to advanced students.

The department also nominates outstanding graduate students for fellowships that the Graduate School and the U of M award to advanced students.

Other Funding Sources

Graduate students can also find support outside the department.

  • The GS Fellowship Office (314 Johnston Hall) can provide information on fellowships and scholarships awarded by outside foundations and organizations and on miscellaneous funds available within the U of M.
  • The Office of Student Finance (200 Fraser Hall) accepts applications for scholarships, loans, and work-study grants.
  • Other U of M departments or offices sometimes employs history graduate students as part-time TAs or administrative assistants. Such positions are often listed with the Graduate Assistant Employment Office.
  • The Employment Office (170 Donhowe Building) maintains lists of on-and off-campus jobs.
  • Consult the Graduate School catalog and the GS's booklet on fellowships for other possibilities for aid.
  • For current students, the Graduate School website keeps a list of graduate school funding resources.

*What does "timely and satisfactory progress" mean?

Continued funding in the history graduate program is contingent on timely and satisfactory progress, which is defined as:

  • A graduate GPA of at least 3.5
  • Filing the degree program(s) by end of the first year of residency; if you are seeking an MA, you should file both an MA program and a PhD program
  • Finishing coursework within 3 years of entering with a BA or 2 years of entering with an MA. In cases where there are extenuating circumstances (such as the need to complete a Plan A thesis, or to undertake additional language training), there can be flexibility, not in the total number of years of support guaranteed, but in their distribution before and after doctoral candidacy (ABD status)
  • Filing thesis forms in the first semester after passing prelims