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PhD Financial Aid Overview

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PhD Students

All SoE PhD students who are in good standing relative to their PhD program requirements should be funded to the department’s PhD standard. In all departments, this is at least equivalent to Stanford’s 20-hour-RA salary plus tuition to cover the department’s required enrollment (summer enrollment requirements vary by department).  Arranging for this funding is the responsibility of the department and the faculty PhD advisor, and can include fellowships, research assistantships, training grants and teaching assistantships.

Often, our PhD students apply for and may receive individual fellowships which can reduce the department’s or advisor’s cost of funding.  In these cases, the guarantee of funding to the student will include the fellowship award and additional support from the department/advisor to reach the department-standard level.  For educational purposes, departments and advisors may encourage their students to apply for such fellowships and provide resources to strengthen their applications; however, no department or faculty member may require students to obtain external individual funding or to “self-fund” as a condition of admission, entry to or continuation in the Ph.D.

In practical terms, faculty PhD advisors are expected to plan the combination of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, local and external fellowships which support all of their PhD advisees.  Some of these sources of funds can be unreliable, which occasionally leads to shortages of funds for a faculty PhD advisor.  In this circumstance, it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to seek alternate sources of funding as needed to maintain all of their PhD advisees at the department-standard level of funding.

If a faculty PhD advisor does not have sufficient resources to fund all PhD advisees in good standing at the department’s standard level, the first step is for the advisor to contact their department chair for assistance.  SoE departments have a variety of resources to contribute to these situations, and it is the responsibility of the faculty advisor to ask for assistance if needed.

In some cases, the need for support exceeds the resources available at the department level.  In these cases, the faculty PhD advisor and their department chair can contact SoE’s Office of Student Affairs to ask for additional resources. Typically, a combination of departmental, SoE and VPGE funds can be assembled to support one or more students while the advisor seeks additional funding.  As above, it is the responsibility of the faculty PhD advisor to seek assistance to fund their PhD advisees.

In some cases, a prospective PhD student engages with a potential PhD advisor to explore possibilities for working together on a PhD project, or a prospective PhD student is hoping to explore a change of PhD advisor.  In such cases, and where the potential PhD advisor does not have sufficient funds to support the student during the transition, the potential PhD advisor is encouraged to contact their chair and SoE’s Office of Student Affairs to request “bridge funds” to support the transition.  As above, the request for SoE funds should come to SoE from the potential PhD advisor.

In cases where a PhD student who is otherwise in good standing in a SoE department but does not have a faculty PhD advisor who has committed to providing funding, it is the department’s responsibility to define, communicate and support the process of identifying and assigning a suitable faculty PhD advisor.