Financial Aid

Doctoral Student Funding

Duke is committed to financially supporting doctoral students selected for our program. All doctoral students accepted in our program will receive funding, either through the department, a university fellowship, a fellowship from other academic units at Duke, or outside funding sources.

NOTE: No student funding is provided towards the M.A. degree. Only those students who can pay their own tuition should apply.

The Graduate School University Fellowships

Faculty members of the Graduate Committee nominate the most outstanding applicants from entering student for university fellowships available through the Graduate School. These include the James B. Duke Fellowships and Dean's Graduate Fellowships. For more information on these university-wide fellowships, see the Graduate School website.

NOTE: Other university-wide fellowship are available to more advanced students and are described under Funding for Research & Writing in the section titled Doctoral Dissertation (see quick tabs at bottom of section page).

Fellowships in Other Academic Units at Duke

The department also nominates qualified applicants for fellowships from other Duke academic units.

Fellowships through Sources Outside the University

The History Department has been successful in obtaining such support and in recruiting outstanding applicants who have earned outside funding through national or international fellowships such as the Ford, Mellon, and Javits.

Departmental Fellowships

Students accepted to the Ph.D. program in the History Department who are not funded by the university, by another academic unit, or by sources outside the university are offered departmental fellowships. Each award is renewable annually, contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. To be eligible to receive this fellowship students may not be concurrently engaged in full-time or part-time employment and may not hold another award, such as Mellon or Javits. Although we are pleased when our students win such awards, they cannot be held in addition to a department fellowship.

A Departmental Fellowship covers the following expenses for a five-year period, contingent on satisfactory academic progress in the program:

  • A stipend for five years
  • Tuition
  • Annual registration fee for five years
  • Annual health insurance
  • Annual health fee for five years
  • Annual recreation fee for five years

For the current academic year the stipend is $20,240. It is divided in two parts: the noncompensatory portion ($14,440 for the academic year 2011-2012) is granted without the requirement of labor and the compensatory portion ($5,800 for the academic year 2011-2012) is paid for labor as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or grader in the History Department or department/program such as African and African American Studies, Women's Studies, or the University Writing Program. Over the past few years, the graduate school has been increasing the stipend amount each academic year, although there are no guarantees in this regard.

While the Department Fellowship ensures five years of full support, we expect students to apply for institutional and external fellowships in their fields. Outside fellowships replace departmental funding for students in years one through five of the program. If the outside fellowship is less than what the student would receive through the departmental stipend, the department will bring the student up to that year's stipend rate (both the noncompensatory and compensatory portions), without requiring labor from the student. The department also will pay the student's registration fees, health fee, and recreation fees of students who win external fellowships that do not provide these fees. In accordance with graduate school regulations, students cannot receive automatic credit towards additional funding past the fifth year from the history department, even if they receive outside funding during their five years of funding from the department.

Health insurance is compulsory by University policy. You have the option to accept the graduate student health insurance or to provide it yourself. If you obtain health insurance through an outside provider, the graduate school does not reimburse you for that expense. The Graduate school's funding of health insurance was new in the academic year 2006-2007. There may well be changes in this benefit over the next few years.

Grading, Teaching, and Research Assistantships

As a condition of the Departmental Fellowship awards, each recipient works for the department as either a grader or a research assistant (up to 9 hours per week throughout one semester, with assignment for two semesters) or a teaching assistant (up to 19.9 hours per week throughout one semester). Students in their first year usually fulfill this obligation through two Graderships or Research Assistantships.

The department tries to assign Departmental Fellowships recipients to each of these roles during their years in the program to enable each graduate student to obtain different pedagogical experiences. The DGS and the Director of Graduate Studie Assistant (DGSA) do their best to provide diverse of work experiences for each graduate student. Because this portion of the overall financial package is dependent on funds allocated to meet the overall need of the department and the university, it is not always possible to assign individual graduate students to particular jobs in a particular semester. Graduate students who would like to requests specific work assignments should communicate their request to the DGSA at the end of each Spring semester as this is when planning begins for the subsequent academic year.

Payment for service as a grading, teaching or research assistant is paid to students separately from their graduate stipend. The department has established work rules that govern which jobs that may be assigned to these three assistantship types. These rules are included in the section on "Teaching Opportunities" in this Handbook.

Continuation of Funding

Funding for five years is contingent on satisfactory progress in the program. Students taking courses will receive written evaluations from their professors after each course. These evaluations will be shared with the DGS. After their first year in the program, the graduate school requires students to file a written progress report with the DGS each spring. The DGS, in consultation with the faculty members of the graduate committee, then reviews those reports to assess students' progress. Should there be a problem, the DGS and faculty members of the graduate committee will meet with the student to discuss the issue and to formulate a plan to resolve it. Although our goal is to assure every student's success in the program, there are instances where problems prove intractable and result in a failure to progress in the program. In those instances, the DGS and the faculty members of the graduate committee may decide to discontinue funding and ask that a student withdraw from the program.

Work Study

Additionally, a portion of the department's graduate funding each year can be allocated from Work-Study money for students whose financial situation makes them eligible. To determine eligibility for Work-Study aid, students should complete and file a Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Statement [GAPSFAS] by January 1 of each year.

Funding for Sixth-Year Students

The department can promise no full stipend after the fifth year, but does its best to provide support through teaching and/or partial fellowships to sixth-year students making satisfactory progress. Advanced graduate students without funding and with good teaching evaluations will be given preference for replacement teaching positions. Students interested in replacement teaching should communicate with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) early in their fifth year and stay in frequent contact about their availability to teach.

Each spring the DGS and the faculty members of the Graduate Committee will, if possible, award small stipends to all sixth-year graduate students who meet the following criteria:

  1. Is making satisfactory academic progress.
  2. Is lacking a full fellowship from another source.
  3. Expresses the need for funding in their annual report.
  4. Has made a good-faith effort to secure external funding during previous years in the program.

The department's guiding principle is not to fund a few members of the rising sixth-year class in full, but to distribute the available money in such a way as to enable as many members of the class as possible to finish their dissertations the subsequent academic year.

The department will pay tuition for all students in the sixth year who are making satisfactory progress. After a student beyond the sixth year in the program has successfully defended their dissertation, the Department will reimburse their fees for the final semester in which the defense took place.