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The Department of Philosophy offers admitted PhD students a five-year financial aid package with an annual entry stipend, plus tuition and health care benefits. Students must be in good academic standing in the program to receive the aid.

Teaching or research assistantships or fellowships (or a combination of them) provide the stipend. The tuition benefit covers the cost of tuition for up to 14 credits per semester. The health care benefit pays for medical and dental insurance for an academic year. MacArthur Scholar fellowships, various fellowships administered by the Graduate School, and others fill out the financial aid package.

Following the first year, students in good standing will receive $3,000 of summer research funding (contingent upon budgetary availability and approval).

Teaching Assistantships

The teaching assistantship is the most common form of support for our graduate students. In their first semester, first-year students typically hold a quarter-time teaching assistantship and a quarter-time departmental fellowship, progressing to a half-time teaching assistantship in their second semester. From the second year on, students who are teaching assistants usually hold half-time appointments. In their capacity as assistants, half-time teaching assistants work approximately 20 hours per week during the term of appointment. As a teaching assistant, students in their first several years of the program conduct discussion sections in an introductory course taught by an instructor or serve as graders for a more advanced course.

Research Assistantships

Some students are appointed as research assistants to assist individual faculty members with their own research endeavors—for example, a book publication or grant research.


In addition to fellowships offered to all University graduate students, the Department of Philosophy provides some fellowship support from its own resources. These fellowships generally provide a stipend of $16,000. There are also select fellowships that derive from specific endowments and are awarded competitively.

Swenson/Kierkegaard Graduate Student Fellowship

This endowment now provides a semester of financial support without teaching responsibilities to one or two graduate students at the dissertation writing stage of their career. Lillian Swenson, wife of David Swenson, the Department Chair from 1935-40, founded the endowment, by a bequest in memory of her husband's lifelong dedication to the study of the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard.

Tom Lapic Fellowship in Philosophy and Social Justice

This endowment provides summer fellowship funds for graduate students pursuing the study of ethics and its relevance to public practice. Tom Lapic, who was committed to social justice, civil liberties, and honesty and integrity in politics, died in the plane crash of October 25, 2002 that claimed the lives of Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator Wellstone's wife and daughter, and two other campaign aides. Trudy Lapic, Tom's wife, founded the endowment to honor her husband's ethical values, beliefs, and ideals. The Graduate School matches the interest on new principal for this fund from its 21st Century Graduate Fellowship Match.

Graduate School and First-Year Fellowships

In addition, the department nominates prospective and continuing graduate students for the Graduate School and other fellowships listed below. Philosophy graduate students have been very successful in the competition for these awards. These fellowships may be for a period of one to three years of funding and are intended for recruiting outstanding new students to the University's graduate programs. Prospective students must be nominated by their chosen major field early in the spring semester for entry in the following fall semester.

DOVE Fellowship

The DOVE (Diversity of Views and Experiences) Fellowship seeks to assist graduate programs to promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence. This diversity is promoted through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences. Programs are encouraged to consider students from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the graduate programs. Ten fellowships are awarded annually by the Graduate School to first-year graduate students from underrepresented groups (US citizens and permanent residents). Prospective students must be nominated by their chosen major field early in the spring semester for entry in the following fall semester.

ICGC Fellowships

The Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) is an interdisciplinary program that promotes graduate study and research on issues of peace, global change, social power, and justice. The program provides fellowships for students in their first and fourth years, while the Department provides support in the form of assistantships for the other years.

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is available to PhD candidates who have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation. Candidates must be nominated by their graduate program.

Other Resources