PhD Scholarships and Fellowships

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Graduate school is daunting enough without having to worry about the cost of the institution. But with some creative thought and some time invested into research and applications, it is possible to fund graduate school through the use of scholarships.

Types of Funding

First of all, scholarships at the graduate level fall under two broad categories: scholarships and fellowships. Fellowship is the most commonly used term, and is typically used to refer to a grant from an organization which funds a year or more of graduate study. There exist many shorter term opportunities for funding educational and research opportunities, such as trips to specific locations of study, time spent in research libraries, or field experimentation. These shorter term funding grants may be referred to as either scholarships or fellowships, depending upon the whims of the organization granting them.

Types of Fellowships

Fellowships fall into three major categories, with two major distinctions: where the funding comes from, and if the fellowship is portable. Funding may either come from the government, or a nongovernmental institute. Portable simply refers to whether the fellowship is able to be used at any institution of the applicant’s choice, or must be used at a specific institution.

Portable Federally Funded Fellowships

The first category, federally funded portable fellowships, is most often offered by major governmental bodies. The Department of Defense offers many of these, particularly in the field of computer security. There are also available opportunities within the fields of mathematics, engineering, and certain sciences with the DOD. Humanities students should not feel left out by the DOD, however, as they also offer fellowships to encourage the study of certain foreign languages, particularly those which are considered Least Commonly Taught or Less Commonly Taught. The National Institutes of Health also offer many fellowships, although theirs are typically geared towards students in the science fields who are interested in health related work. Non computer or scientifically oriented students can also consult the Department of Education, which offers portable fellowships in social sciences, fine arts, and the humanities.

Portable Independent Fellowships

The next major category of fellowships consists of those offered by independent organizations. This may consist of business seeking to attract employees educated in certain fields, or organizations who encourage the study of certain underrepresented subjects. This category may also consist of organizations which offer fellowships based upon membership in that organization, or other factors such as heritage or socio-economic status.

Non Portable Institutional Fellowships

Finally, and perhaps the most common, is the non portable institutional fellowship. This type of fellowship is awarded to students within the university, either during the application process, or after the student has already been enrolled. A fellowship of this nature may take multiple forms. In some cases, they are used to attract particularly promising candidates, in which case the student may not be required to work during the duration of the fellowship. In other cases, the fellowship may be in exchange for some form of production on the student’s part, such as scientific research, teaching responsibilities, or studying and writing on a specific topic.

In short, there exist many types of fellowships to fun graduate education. With a bit of knowledge regarding which type to look for and where to look, everyone should be able to find something to fit their educational and scholarly goals!