Last updated October 14, 2021
People often ask us about fellowships to fund doctoral study. In general, finding and entering a PhD program that offers automatic full funding to its doctoral students is easier than winning a competitive external doctoral fellowship. When a doctoral program indicates that they provide full funding to their PhD students, in most cases this means they provide each admitted student full tuition and a stipend for living expenses for the four to six year duration of the student’s doctoral studies. Not all universities provide full funding to their doctoral students, which is why I recommend researching the financial aid offerings of all the potential PhD programs in your academic field, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad.
Below is a list of universities that offer full funding to all of the admitted students to their PhD programs in public policy, public administration and public affairs.
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Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College (Pittsburgh, PA): The financial aid program for the PhD in Public Policy and Management is designed to provide students with the financial support necessary to enable them to successfully complete the program. This support also allows the student to gain classroom experience that is valued in the academic marketplace. Every Ph.D. student in good standing receives a full-tuition scholarship for their entire tenure in the program. Students who remain in good standing may also receive a stipend and Teaching Assistantships of up to $27,000 per academic year.
Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy (Durham, NC): During the first year of the program, most students receive a scholarship for tuition and fees and are paid a stipend via departmental or external fellowships, with no additional work obligations. In years two and three, students are expected to work as Research or Teaching Assistants to earn part of the stipend. In years four and five, students will be funded through a combination of research assistantships and external dissertation fellowships.
Georgia State, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies/Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA): The Andrew Young School has been able to fund virtually all full-time students for at least three years. Assistantships typically provide full tuition waivers and stipends of $18,000 per year. Three new doctoral students each year receive Andrew Young or AYSPS Dean’s Scholar Fellowships, which provide an additional $6,000 annually.
Pardee RAND Graduate School (Santa Monica, CA): Pardee RAND’s mission is to train future leaders who share a common passion for changing the world for the better. It offers a fully-funded Ph.D. that includes a generous scholarship, a research fellowship in which students work alongside RAND experts on projects of the students’ choice, and competitively-awarded dissertation funds. Pardee RAND’s program, backed by the resources of the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, enables students to cover their tuition while receiving a consistent stipend for living expenses each year. The school also offers students the opportunity for subsidized housing at Pardee Commons.
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (Princeton, NJ): The doctoral program offers full merit-based funding to cover the cost of each student’s tuition and living expenses for five years. The stipend for living expenses is $30,975.
University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Ann Arbor, MI): At present, new doctoral students enter our program with a funding package sufficient to cover tuition, insurance, and living expenses for the first five years of study.
University of Southern California (USC), Sol Price School of Public Policy (Los Angeles, CA): Incoming Ph.D. students at USC are fully supported for four years through a graduate assistantship that provides tuition remission, a stipend for fall and spring semesters, year-round health and dental insurance, and payment of the university’s health center fee for fall and spring semester. The graduate assistantship provides an opportunity for students to work on teaching and collaborative research with one of our faculty members. Students beyond their fourth year of study are often supported through teaching assistantships, research assistantships or a combination of funding sources from USC and/or outside sources.
University of Washington, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance (Seattle, WA): The University of Washington Evans School typically provides a 5-year graduate assistantship for entering students. All funding packages include full tuition remission and a competitive stipend for living expenses during the academic year. A variety of additional internal fellowship and funding opportunities exist for students, including excellent travel support for attending professional conferences, and summer income assisting faculty on externally funded research projects.
For application tips on applying to a PhD program, see How To Get Into a Fully Funded PhD Program: Contacting Potential PhD Advisors.
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