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Graduate Program

Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes

A variety of fellowship opportunities are available with support ranging from tuition scholarships only to tuition scholarship plus stipend. Financial aid is not necessarily tied to teaching or research assistantships.

Explore the following items for more information:

Departmental Financial Aid

Fellowships and tuition scholarships are available for PhD work in economics. Fellowships pay a cash stipend for the academic year, and include a full tuition waiver. Tuition scholarships pay no cash stipend, but offset the tuition costs of study.

Financial aid in the form of research assistantships or teaching assistantships is generally not available to first-year students as the course load is demanding. To apply for financial aid as an entering student, you need only complete the designated section of the application.

Fellowships are typically renewed every year, for three years, so long as the student’s performance is meeting initial expectations. No financial aid is provided after the fifth year.

Full tuition scholarships are also generally renewed for three years for students who are in good academic standing. A tuition scholarship may be upgraded to a fellowship in the following year if performance is sufficiently strong.

Entering students should not expect their tuition scholarships to be upgraded routinely. Department financial constraints and competitive considerations make this an unpredictable event.

Tuition scholarships for course credit are not ordinarily given past the third year or during the summer. In the fourth year, the tuition scholarship is only intended to cover a continuation fee for dissertation research. Therefore, you should expect to complete your coursework in the first three years.

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Dissertation Year Fellowships

We nominate students for two dissertation-year fellowships. Every year, up to three students are nominated for the prestigious Sloan Fellowship, and one student is nominated for the University's Ball Fellowship.

These fellowships last for one year, and are intended to allow outstanding students to devote their full attention to the dissertation during their last year of study.

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Tuition Scholarships

A full tuition scholarship means that the College Graduate Studies Office will pay up to 90 credits of coursework. A standard program might look something like this:

First year 28 credit hours - in course work
Second year 30 credit hours - in course work
Third year 2 credit hours - workshops, master essay, PhD research
Fourth year 0 credit hours - doctoral dissertation, 999 or 997 registration category

If you are in doubt about whether your program of study meets the conditions for a tuition scholarship then please contact the graduate secretary.


  • To remain a full time student prior to the 999 or 997 category you must take 12 credit hours per semester. If you are a TA or RA then nine credit hours may count as full time.
  • To apply for the 997-registration category you must have no incompletes and all your grades must be in. You should also have finished your qualifying exams. A complete program of study for the PhD degree should be approved and filed in the College Graduate Studies Office. Registration forms must be submitted to the College Graduate Studies Office for 997 approval prior to registration.
  • If you are going to go over the 90 credit hours you must petition the College Graduate Studies Office in advance for approval of additional tuition scholarship. This petition must be granted in order to receive additional scholarship. Similarly, to go over 32 credit hours in any year you must petition the College Graduate Studies Office in advance for approval of additional tuition scholarship. Otherwise, you will be financially responsible for the extra hours.
  • You may audit one course per semester. You must again petition the College Graduate Studies Office in advance in order to get the fees waived. Fees are only waived for courses endorsed as necessary to your degree program.
  • After the fourth year you must register in the 999 -Doctoral - Dissertation category and pay your own fees.

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Reviews of Student Performance

The faculty reviews graduate student performance following each semester. Key elements in this review are:

  • Course grades
  • Qualifying examination results
  • Status of third-year paper and thesis research
  • Teaching assistance performance
  • Any other information the faculty may have concerning student progress

These reviews are important for determining awards and prizes, and changes in financial aid.

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The department recognizes superior performance through a variety of prizes. These include the:

  • Kaplan Prize—awarded to the second-year student with the best overall course record
  • Conibear Prize—awarded for the best third-year paper
  • Tapan Mitra Prizes—awarded for the best fifth-year empirical paper and the best fifth-year theoretical paper

In addition to the recognition, all three prizes currently include a cash award.

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Outside Support

A variety of external funding sources are available. These include fellowship and research programs offered by the US and foreign governments, financial institutions, and philanthropic or research organizations.

The department strongly encourages students to apply for outside funding. A partial listing of funding sources is available in the department office. Many of these programs require submission of a research proposal, a task which is greatly facilitated by having a finished and polished dissertation prospectus.

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Employment Policy

The department regards its awards as providing graduate students with the opportunity to undertake full-time graduate study and research without bearing the full cost of this activity. In keeping with this view, we desire that graduate students receiving fellowships not undertake other employment commitments during the academic year.

However, we do recognize that financial constraints may necessitate part-time employment. A guideline for the maximum amount of such outside employment compatible with maintaining a fellowship is one day per week, or, in teaching units, one course per term.

We also remind you of the permanent income hypothesis, and the fact that finishing a year earlier, or with a higher quality dissertation, can have significant future rewards.

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