Many students entering our graduate program receive financial aid from one of two sources. First, the Department is able to offer one-year fellowships from the Graduate School to many of our funded first-year students. These fellowships include a stipend of over approximately $18,000 per year and full tuition remission, but do not require students to work as teaching or research assistants. Fellowships are converted to assistantships after the first year. Other funded first-year students are awarded assistantships. These assistantships usually require about 15 hours per week of service as a teaching or research assistant, and come with a stipend of over approximately $18,000 and an attractive package of benefits including health insurance and full tuition remission.
Students entering the program with financial support from the department are guaranteed support through their fourth year, contingent upon (1) satisfactory performance of duties, and (2) satisfactory progress towards the PhD. A fifth year support typically will be available for students who have made satisfactory progress and who appear likely to be ready to enter the job market and successfully defend their dissertation by the end of the fifth year. Students who enter the program without support can become eligible for support by compiling an above average record in their course work and comprehensive exams, and by demonstrating potential for research, although availability of such funding is contingent on departmental needs and resources.
Many students are able to supplement their academic-year stipends by teaching summer or winter classes for the department, or by working off campus during the summer or winter breaks; our department's proximity to Washington, DC, gives our students an advantage in getting internships in nearby government and international agencies.
In addition to fellowships and assistantships, the Department supports the professional development of our students by helping cover the cost of travel to professional conferences at which students present their research, and can help with research expenses such as costs of purchasing a data set. Students on the job market get help with expenses such as mailing, copying, and travel to the annual professional meetings at which interviews are held.