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Funding & Assistantships

Assistantships and Professional Development

Doctoral students usually do more than simply fulfill the degree requirements while engaged in the PAP program. Some of these extracurricular activities, like attending lecture series, workshops, and brown bag seminars, are expected of any member of the community of scholars. Others, like serving as research or teaching assistants, provide opportunities for both professional development and remuneration.

Funding Opportunities

Information about graduate scholarships, fellowships, and other awards administered through OGS is available at the scholarship and awards website. PAP students are encouraged to seek non-PAP sources of funding and the University has made this relatively easy to do by consolidating the search and application process for many of these awards. The opportunities discussed below are administered by the PAP program and the School of Government and involve different application procedures.

Identifying funding opportunities administered off-campus requires more legwork, but the OGS website includes links to some of these and the faculty and staff associated with the PAP program may be of help in pointing students in fruitful directions. Many PAP faculty have considerable experience securing external grants and contracts for research projects that involve doctoral students or have worked with foundations and public agencies that fund doctoral studies and research. A list of some main portals for doctoral fellowships and scholarships in Public Affairs, Public Administration, Public Policy, and Political Science is available here.

PAP students are encouraged to present their research at scholarly conferences and workshops. The PAP program may be able to provide travel support to help defray some of the costs of attending these meetings. Students can also seek travel support from some of the funding sources listed on the OGS scholarship and awards website.

Graduate Assistantships

While doing their coursework, many PAP students also serve as graduate assistants (GAs). Most of these positions are funded by the College, by faculty-supervised contracts, or by external grants in support of faculty research (the latter two sources also known as “soft money”). They usually include both a tuition remission and a stipend, the amount depending on the number of hours per week that the student is expected to devote to the project and calculated as a share of a full-time equivalent (FTE). GA positions attached to the PAP program usually fall within the range of 0.15 to 0.30 FTE—requiring between 6 and 12 hours of effort per week, with stipends between $3,000 and $6,000 for the academic year—but appointments up to 0.49 FTE are not uncommon.

Although positions funded by soft money are almost always graduate research assistantships (GRAs), internal funding is often used to support graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs). GTAs provide doctoral students with classroom experience as teaching assistants (graders, guest lecturers, lab or recitation leaders) or as instructors of their own courses.

Graduate assistantships are annual appointments and students must submit a GA application by 1 February for the next academic year, even if they currently hold a position. The exception is for GA positions that are fully funded—tuition remission and stipend—by soft money, in which case appointments are made at the discretion of the responsible faculty member. Assistantships are subject to cancellation at any time if the student fails to maintain good academic standing. The availability of some assistantships may not be known until the summer before the start of the academic year.

Research Traineeships and Fellowships

PAP doctoral students may apply for an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) in Ecosystem Services for Urbanizing Regions. ESUR trainees participate in an interdisciplinary program that explores solutions designed to assure ecosystem service support for rapidly growing urban areas. Students complete four core courses and problem-based research projects in addition to their doctoral studies in PAP. The training program also features extensive collaboration with a diverse group of community partners in the class-room and the field. ESUR trainees receive funding for two years, including an annual $30,000 stipend, full tuition remission, and up to $10,500 in research funding to support dissertation research.

Hatfield Research Fellowships place qualified doctoral students in public and nonprofit organizations as paid researchers. Placements provide students with opportunities to conduct dissertation research, acquire advanced research skills and experience, and receive assistance in research funding. Sometimes research fellowships are combined with graduate assistantships. The program is administered by the Center for Public Service in the School of Government. The availability of a research fellowship will depend on the fit between the student’s research and the needs of the hosting agency.