Doctoral students may receive financial support from a variety of sources, and we recommend doctoral students research all available opportunities, including the ones shared below, that will best suit their needs.
The University of Connecticut offers a variety of financial aid options, in addition to state and federal assistance.
Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships
Most doctoral students support their graduate study through graduate assistantships, which can involve teaching (teaching assistantships) and/or research (research assistantships). Assistantships of 10 hours per week or more provide coverage for tuition, a small stipend, and benefits. The graduate student union is a helpful source of information regarding work rules and compensation for such positions and their associated benefits.
Teaching Assistantships can involve having sole responsibility for a class or supporting a faculty member who is teaching a large class. These assistantships are assigned and overseen by the department in which the course is offered. Because there is no centralized information of teaching assistantships that might become available, securing teaching assistantships involves being proactive, for example, discussing possibilities with your advisor and department chair. Teaching an undergraduate course requires having a master’s degree; teaching an MA/MS course requires having a Ph.D. or equivalent, relevant experience.
Many doctoral students are hired to work on faculty research projects that are funded by outside agencies or internal UConn grants. While many times faculty have advisees work with them on projects, there are opportunities for students to seek out other projects with faculty and in accordance with graduate student union work parameters. Because grants are received on a rolling basis, depending on the funding source, it pays to be proactive in seeking out such opportunities. Speaking to faculty who do research that is relevant to your experience and interests is important, as is consulting with your advisor about any grants that they are aware of that would be a good fit for your interests. Open positions are sometimes posted in the Neag Student News, so it is also a good idea to read that regularly.
A limited number of other funding opportunities are also available to students and provide variable funding (e.g., some provide a lump sum for student use and some have associated graduate assistantships). Below is a list of regularly available fellowships and the relevant qualifications:
Dean’s Doctoral Scholar Fellowships
The Dean’s Doctoral Scholars (DDS) Program provides full tuition for four years plus a stipend to promising Ph.D. candidates — in particular, those who aspire to work at a Research 1 institution of higher education upon graduation and demonstrate a commitment to issues of social justice and educational equity. Dean’s Doctoral Scholars have the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research with leading experts in the field of education while earning a doctoral degree from UConn in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, or educational psychology.
UConn Jorgenson and Harriott Fellowships
(Students must indicate interest in being considered for these fellowships when applying to a graduate program).
The Jorgensen Fellowship (JF) and the Harriott Fellowship (HF) are university-wide fellowships available to outstanding young scholars who have been admitted to doctoral programs at the University of Connecticut. Nominees for HF and JF awards are expected to demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity either within their field of study or more generally in all areas of higher education. These fellowships are open to international students.
There are also funding opportunities available through national organizations. Students would pursue these funding opportunities on their own. Here is one example:
The National Science Foundation often has programs that support doctoral study in STEM-related fields. Currently, The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is designed to help ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support over a five-year fellowship period for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF actively encourages women, persons who are members of groups historically underrepresented in STEM, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply. Click on the link above for additional information.
The University sponsors competitions for two kinds of additional support: conference participation awards and a summer doctoral fellowship. Departments within the Neag School also sponsor opportunities to award additional support to students for a variety of activities.
As one gets ready to pursue dissertation research, there are also competitive fellowships that one might apply to, including those listed below.
Neag School Scholarships
There are a number of small internal scholarships available that can provide funding for incidental expenses, such as fees, books, etc. Applications are invited every January.
Holmes Scholars Program
In Fall 2020, UConn’s Neag School of Education was selected to join the more than 50 higher education institutions nationwide currently sponsoring the Holmes Scholars Program. The Neag School has pledged to cover the costs of sending each of its Holmes Scholars to the AACTE’s annual conference, as well as the two-day preconference exclusive to Holmes Scholars, for a minimum of three years. In addition, Holmes Scholars are funded to attend AACTE's Washington Week one time.
Established in 1991 by the Holmes Group and supported by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Holmes Scholars Program seeks to provide mentorship, peer support, professional development, and rich scholarly experiences to students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds who are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE member institutions. Since its inception, more than 700 Holmes Scholars have benefited from taking part in the program.
Gavin Dissertation Completion Award
This competitive award was established through the UConn Foundation by UConn alumna Dr. Kathy Gavin ’97 Ph.D., a retired associate professor in residence in mathematics, providing funding to doctoral students who are engaged in dissertation research and who have successfully defended their dissertation proposals, with the expectation that recipients anticipate defending their dissertation by end of the academic year. The award may be used to support anticipated dissertation research expenses.
Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Dissertation Fellowship
The Spencer/NAE Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education.
American Association of University Women American Fellowship
The purpose of the American Dissertation Fellowship is to offset a scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation. The fellowship must be used for the final year of writing the dissertation.
Applicants must have completed all coursework, passed all preliminary examinations, and received approval for their research proposals or plans by the preceding November. Students holding fellowships for writing a dissertation in the year prior to the AAUW fellowships year are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering and math fields or those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.
AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research
The AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are members of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in higher education (e.g., African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders). Applicants can come from graduate programs and departments in education research, the humanities, or social or behavioral science disciplinary or interdisciplinary fields, such as economics, history, political science, psychology, public policy, or sociology. Eligible graduate students will be at the writing stage of their dissertation by the beginning of the fellowship. Fellows are required to provide proof of advancement to candidacy at the beginning of the award period. Applicants must work full-time on their dissertations and course requirements.
AERA Dissertation Grants
Dissertation Grants are available for advanced doctoral students and are intended to support the student while analyzing data and writing the doctoral dissertation. Proposals are encouraged from the full range of education research fields and other fields and disciplines engaged in education-related research, including economics, political science, psychology, sociology, demography, statistics, public policy, and psychometrics. Applicants for this one-year, nonrenewable award should be advanced doctoral students at the dissertation writing stage, usually the last year of study. Applicants may be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents enrolled in a doctoral program. Non-U.S. citizens enrolled in a doctoral program at an U.S. institution are also eligible to apply. Underrepresented racial and ethnic minority researchers as well as women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.
UConn Human Rights Institute Dissertation Research Fellowship
In an effort to support graduate student dissertation research with a human rights focus at UConn, the Human Rights Institute funds at least one dissertation research fellowship of up to $5,000. The purpose of the fellowship is to support primary research activities, including but not limited to: archival research, participant observation, interview, data collection, data set construction, ethnography, textual criticism, digital archiving, and historical preservation.
UConn Human Rights Institute Dissertation Writing Fellowship
In an effort to support the writing of graduate student dissertations with a human rights focus at UConn, the Human Rights Institute funds a dissertation fellowship. The fellowship should be used to support the student during the time in which a majority of the dissertation is expected to be written.
Navigating Ph.D. Funding
How do I find more details about Ph.D. funding opportunities?
We recommend that all prospective doctoral students consult with faculty and staff in their specific program of interest, as they will be able to share detailed information on additional sources of financial support, including fellowships and assistantships.
How can I learn about opportunities after I have enrolled in a program?
As one settles into doctoral study, additional opportunities arise for financial support. Students may hear of paid internships, or hourly work.
Are there certain opportunities within each department at the Neag School?
Departments within the Neag School also sponsor opportunities to award additional support to students for a variety of activities. Here, too, maintaining good communication with your advisor and other mentors within the School and your department, as well as regularly reading Neag News, will increase your awareness of such opportunities.