PhD Funding for Minority Students

Nov 07, 2023
Multiracial, minority young woman playing guitar at her home. An out of focus keyboard is in front of her.
The Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship offers a $24,000 award for minority students interested in a doctoral degree in musicology.

Pursuing a PhD degree is no small matter, and neither is funding one. It is an investment in your future but can be difficult due to financial constraints. Specifically for minority students, this can be a significant barrier as this population is underserved and underrepresented in several fields. However, there are many ways that current and prospective minority PhD students can fund their degrees. While some universities may offer fully funded PhD programs, numerous external organizations also provide fellowship opportunities that support students through financial awards, stipends, networking, and career development.

In this article, we share 18 PhD funding opportunities for minority students interested in accounting, sociology, sociology, criminal justice, financial services, STEM research, health policy, musicology, behavioral sciences, marine biology, polling research, and civil rights. Students from an ethnic minority, including African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Native American, are encouraged to apply.

If any of these opportunities are a good fit for you, be sure to set up a free ProFellow account to bookmark them.

AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research provides fellowships to financially support and assist minority PhD students at the dissertation writing stage. Aside from education research, applicants may also come from the humanities or social and behavioral sciences. Fellowship benefits include a $25,000 stipend to assist in research, teaching, or learning, an invitation to present research at the poster session of the AERA Annual Meeting, and additional mentoring and career development workshops.

AICPA Fellowship for Minority Doctoral Students

Each year, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) gives out $12,000 fellowship awards to promising minority PhD students interested in becoming accounting educators. As the AICPA is dedicated to diversifying the ethnic makeup of CPAs teaching in university classrooms, applicants must be American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino (Latinx), or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage. Applicants must also be licensed CPAs enrolled in or accepted to a full-time accounting doctorate program.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship

Sociology doctorate students in an advanced stage of their program are encouraged to apply for the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Minority Fellowship Program. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and identify with a minority group, which includes Black/African American, Latino/a/x, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. Fellows receive a stipend of $20,000. Applicants are reviewed holistically based on their commitment to research, experience, academic achievement, writing ability, research potential, financial need, and racial/ethnic minority background.

ASC Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity

The American Society of Criminology (ASC) provides the Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship with the vision of encouraging students of color to enter the fields of criminology and criminal justice. The $6,000 fellowship award is meant to support students in completing their degrees; applicants must already be accepted into a PhD program in a relevant field. Students already studying criminology or criminal justice issues are highly encouraged to apply.

Dissertation Completion Fellowship Program

The FINRA Foundation’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship supports final-year minority PhD candidates conducting their dissertation research on financial services and/or capital markets. The fellowship award of up to $40,000 can be used to cover educational expenses for completing dissertations, such as university tuition and fees, living expenses, and travel for research conferences and seminars. Interested applicants can be from any field of study; however, their dissertation subject must specifically concern financial services and capital markets.

GEM PhD Engineering and Science Fellowship

The National GEM Consortium provides this fellowship to underrepresented minority students who want to pursue a PhD in engineering or the natural sciences. While open to undergraduate seniors, master’s candidates, and master’s graduates, fellowship eligibility is limited to those admitted into a PhD program at a GEM Member University. GEM Fellows receive a $16,000 stipend in the first year of their award, a university-provided living stipend for the remainder of their PhD program, at least one paid summer internship with a GEM Employer Member, and full tuition and fees up to the fifth year of their program.

Health Policy Research Scholars

The Health Policy Research Scholars program is an excellent career development opportunity for future leaders dedicated to promoting public health. Applications are open to PhD candidates in their second year of full-time study who belong to a historically marginalized community, including but not limited to ethnic minorities, lower socioeconomic brackets, and first-generation graduates. Scholars have come from various academic disciplines, but a common interest has united all in promoting positive change in public health policy. Scholars receive a $30,000 annual stipend for up to four years and eligibility for a competitive dissertation grant of up to $10,000.

Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship

Minority PhD students interested in musicology are welcome to apply to the American Musicological Society’s (AMS) Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship. The $24,000 stipend award supports one year of doctorate study at an American or Canadian university. It is open to members of historically underrepresented groups, which are, in the U.S., African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans, and in Canada, aboriginal peoples, and visible minorities. Preference is also given to citizens or permanent residents of a North American country. Applications are limited to students with at least one year of full-time graduate study and who intend to pursue a PhD.

Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship Program

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship Program (IMFP) addresses a crucial need for new faces in the following six disciplines: psychology, nursing, social work, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and substance use and addiction counseling. In particular, the APA wishes to increase the prevalence of underrepresented minority communities (African American/Black, Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Asian-American) working in the aforementioned fields, with the driving goal being the improvement of care given to members of these groups who suffer from mental health or substance use disorders. Fellows receive an annual stipend for up to two years, with PhD fellows receiving up to $23,000 annually.

Marshall-Motley Scholars Program

Committed to achieving racial justice and equity, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) provides the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program (MMSP) to help train future civil rights lawyers dedicated to racial justice. Applications are open to incoming law students enrolled in a traditional 3-year program who intend to pursue a career in civil rights law. MMSP Scholars receive full coverage of their law school tuition and other costs. In line with the LDF’s focus on achieving racial justice in the South, Scholars will also take on summer internships at the LDF and other national civil organizations with a presence in the South and a two-year postgraduate fellowship at a national, regional, or local civil rights organization with a racial justice law practice in the South.

McKnight Doctoral Fellowships

The Florida Education Fund (FEF) established the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship program to address the under-representation of African-American and Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities in Florida. The program is open to African-American and Hispanic students pursuing a PhD at a Florida university in the following fields: agriculture, biology, chemistry, business administration, computer science, engineering, marine biology, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Up to 50 Fellows are selected each year, each receiving a tuition award of up to $5,000 for up to three years, an annual stipend of $12,000, and access to a comprehensive counseling and professional development support system.

NBCC Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors (Doctoral)

PhD students in counseling can apply to the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors (Doctoral) to support their studies. Fellows receive a $20,000 fellowship award and coverage for travel expenses for participation in program-related training. Because of the NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) Foundation’s dedication to improving the quality of mental health care and substance abuse treatment for historically underserved minority groups, applicants from said groups will receive special consideration. Veterans and members of military families are also welcome to apply.

NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Fellowship

Florida A&M University leads the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME), a partnership initiative that supports graduate students pursuing applied research in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mission-related, scientific focal areas include Coastal Resilience, Coastal Intelligence, and Place-Based Conservation. CCME scholars are well-supported, each receiving monthly stipends, full tuition coverage, funding for research-related expenses, and the opportunity to participate in NOAA conferences, among other benefits. Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled full-time in a graduate program, with particular preference given to those from underrepresented minority groups.

Want to learn more about this opportunity? Check out our interview with former NOAA CCME scholar DeMarcus Turner!

NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program is designed to support women and members of minority groups to financially support themselves in the pursuit of a master’s or doctorate in the following fields: oceanography, marine biology, maritime archaeology, and all other science, engineering, social science, and resource management disciplines involving ocean and coastal areas. These qualities reflect the program’s dedication to honoring the legacy of the late Dr. Nancy Foster, who contributed equally to promoting workplace diversity and marine conservation efforts. Scholars receive up to $42,000 per year to support their studies and further support for graduate program-related collaborations and field studies.

SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program

Minority PhD students interested in becoming university faculty are encouraged to apply to the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program. The program’s multifaceted support package includes financial assistance, academic/research funding, career counseling and job postings, scholar counseling and advocacy, a scholar directory for networking and recruiting, invitation to the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and continued early career support. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship in Support of Diversity and Inclusion

The W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship is an online program jointly organized by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University and The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). This fellowship focuses on graduate students studying in the U.S. who belong to a racial or ethnic minority historically underrepresented in polling research. Once selected, fellows will contribute to developing introductory-level instructional materials in public opinion survey research for educators via participation in weekly online conversations with leaders in the field. The benefits package includes a $5,000 stipend for the summer and complimentary AAPOR membership.

Western Michigan University Graduate Education and the Professoriate Fellowship

The Western Michigan University Graduate Education and the Professoriate (WMU-GEP) Fellowships are highly competitive awards open to U.S. citizens of African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Native American (with tribal affiliation) heritage who have been accepted into a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) or SBE (sociology, political science, psychology, or economics) doctorate program. Selected fellows receive one full year of funding, which includes a stipend and 24 credit hours of tuition. The award is eligible for renewal of up to four years based on fellows’ academic performance. Fellows are also expected to complete a weekly service requirement throughout their award.

William H. Hastie Fellowship Program

The William H. Hastie Fellowship Program reflects the University of Wisconsin Law School’s dedication to the diversification of the legal profession and its support of legal scholars in pursuing a career in law teaching. This two-year program is open to all law students at the University of Wisconsin Law School, with students of color and other underrepresented communities in the legal academy being especially encouraged to apply. Selected Hastie Fellows spend their first year in the position engaged in scholarship activities. The second year focuses on publishing, teaching, and entering the legal teaching market. Hastie Fellows are given $75,000 each year and a research support fund of $4,000 per year to support these endeavors.

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