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Funding and Assistantships

Assistantships and Professional Development

Doctoral students usually do more than simply fulfill degree requirements while engaged in the HS&P program.  Some of these extracurricular activities, such as attending lecture series, workshops, and brown bag seminars, are expected of any member of the community of scholars. Other activities, such as 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 PSU's Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) is available at the scholarship and awards website. HS&P students are encouraged to seek non-HS&P sources of funding. 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 HS&P program and the Hatfield School of Government and involve different application procedures.

Identifying funding opportunities administered off-campus requires more work, but the OGS website includes links to some of these. The faculty and staff associated with HS&P may be of help in pointing students in promising directions. Many of the HS&P faculty have considerable experience securing external grants and contracts that involve doctoral students or have worked with foundations and public agencies that fund doctoral studies and research. Here is a list of external doctoral funding opportunities and agencies.

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

Graduate Assistantships

While doing their coursework, HS&P students may also serve as graduate assistants (GAs). Most of these positions are funded by the College through faculty-supervised contracts or by external grants in support of faculty research. They usually include both a tuition remission and a stipend; the amount depends 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 position (FTE).  GA positions attached to the HS&P 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; however, appointments up to 0.49 FTE are also possible (with increased time commitment in summer months, as funding permits.

Positions are typically graduate research assistantships (GRAs), but internal funding is often used to support graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs). GTAs provide doctoral students with classroom experience as teaching assistants, often serving as instructors of specified courses.

Graduate assistantships are annual appointments and students must submit a GA application by the 1st of 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 faculty projects, in which case appointments are made at the discretion of the supervising 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.