Graduate Funding Resources
Funding for travel and research
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Political Science offer grants to support travel by M.A. and Ph.D. students who present papers at professional meetings and conferences.
- Students in the freestanding M.A. program are eligible for both the GSAS and the Department of Political Science Travel Grant with the approval of a faculty member at the time of application.
- First-year Ph.D. students may apply for a Department of Political Science Conference Travel Grant with the approval of a faculty member at the time of application. First-year Ph.D. students are not eligible to receive a GSAS Conference Travel Grant.
- Second- and third-year students are eligible for both the GSAS and the Department of Political Science Conference Travel Grant with the approval of a faculty member at the time of application.
- Students who have received the M.Phil. may apply for both the GSAS Conference Travel Grant and the Department of Political Science Conference Travel Grant through their seventh year or through their sixth year if they have received advanced standing.
- Ph.D. students on the job market may apply for department travel grants up to $1,000 to attend the APSA Annual Meeting in the year in which they go on the market, even if they are not presenting a paper or poster.
Types of expenses funded
Both the GSAS and the Department Conference Travel Grants reimburse students for registration, transportation, and lodging costs associated with presenting papers at professional meetings and conferences.
Students are eligible to receive up to $1,000 per year.
The GSAS grant provides up to $500 on a matching basis (up to $250 from GSAS and up to $250 from the department). The Department of Political Science Travel Grant provides up to $750, including matching contributions to the GSAS Matching Travel Grant for allowable expenses.
The department provides grants up to $3,000 on a competitive basis to students in good standing to fund research-related travel, research assistance, data and surveys, and other expenses directly related to dissertation research.
The department announces calls for applications each spring for proposed activities to be carried out in the following summer and academic year.
Applications should include:
- A narrative from the student briefly explaining the proposed project, and why the funds are needed. The narrative should include a justification for the amount requested. If the student has already received funds through the department (for example funds for conference travel) for the project, the narrative should explain why additional funds are needed.
- An itemized budget
- A letter from the dissertation sponsor or a member of the dissertation committee endorsing the request
Priority is given to third- and fourth-year students who have passed comprehensive exams and are at the beginning of the dissertation project as well as students at a further stage of dissertation research and writing who have not yet received such funds from the department.
The Alliance Call for Doctoral Mobility supports and finances intercontinental research projects of the highest quality, in all disciplines, from doctoral students affiliated to one of the four partner institutions.
Doctoral students are encouraged to pursue their research abroad for a period of one to three months under the supervision of a host faculty member: students from the three French institutions can complete a research period at Columbia University while students from Columbia can complete a research period at École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, or Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University.
Each project will be funded with a maximum limit of $5,000.
Applying for external fellowships is an important part of graduate education. Funds from a successful application can be used to supplement funds provided by GSAS, and the application process can aid both in clarifying the aims of a research project and in the cultivation of grant-writing skills.
Doctoral students are required to apply for an external fellowship within their first four years of study. The GSAS External Fellowship Policy page outlines how funds from a successful application may be disbursed.
External Research Grants
Students may want to apply for grants to fund research expenses directly (not the cost of tuition or living expenses). Social science research grants are managed by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). Applications must be submitted through Columbia's office of Sponsored Research. Students who plan to apply for an external research grant should schedule a consultation with an ISERP staff member as early in the proposal process as possible.
Financing your education
Scholarship funding opportunities for M.A. students are limited. M.A. students often finance their education through a combination of:
- Loans (from federal and private lenders)
- External fellowships
- MA research matching funds
- Fulbright opportunities (for international students)
Students may request a list of funding resources the department has identified from the Graduate Program Coordinator.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, through individual departments, awards fellowships solely on the basis of demonstrated academic merit in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Students admitted to an Arts and Sciences Ph.D. program receive a commitment of multiyear support as indicated in the official letter of admission from the dean. This multiyear support is composed of a combination of fellowships and teaching or research assistantships.
All departments provide a nine-month standard stipend, the level of which is established each spring for the following academic year. Political Science Ph.D. students also receive annual summer fellowships. Multiyear fellowships cover tuition, the Health Services Fee and basic medical insurance premiums under the University's Student Health Insurance Program, the University Facilities Fee, and the International Service Charge (if applicable). Students are responsible for all other fees, such as the Student Activity Fee and the Document Fee.
Students who are not covered under a GSAS fellowship are responsible for tuition and all fees.
Upon admission, all students should become familiar with policies governing GSAS multiyear fellowships.
Students should direct questions about fellowships to the Director for Academic Administration and Finance.
GSAS considers support of its Ph.D. students essential to their success and timely completion of the degree. External fellowship awards help students remain funded for additional semesters past their GSAS fellowship years, develop grant-writing skills, and enhance their curriculum vitae for their subsequent job search.
As part of an application for annual renewal of a multiyear GSAS fellowship, GSAS requires that students apply for at least one academic-year external award during years one through four of their GSAS fellowship years. Students will be required to submit to the Director of Graduate Studies evidence of at least one good-faith effort to obtain funding from a funding source external to the university. Students should consult with the DGS to determine what constitutes such an effort for a particular field and stage in the program.
In collaboration with the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the department organizes a workshop on applying for external funding each fall.
Ongoing support for proposal development is available from ISERP. Students who have identified an external funding opportunity should consult ISERP's guide for student proposal submissions.
Major Ph.D. fellowships
Department of Education
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS)
This program provides academic year and summer fellowships to institutions of higher education to assist graduate students in foreign language and either area or international studies. The goals of the fellowship program include: (1) to assist in the development of knowledge, resources, and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies; (2) to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and (3) to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs.
Jacob K. Javits
The program provides financial assistance to students who have demonstrated (1) superior academic ability and achievement; (2) exceptional promise; and (3) financial need to undertake graduate study leading to a doctoral degree or Master of Fine Arts (MFA). The Department of Education awards fellowships in selected fields of study of the arts, humanities and social sciences. Fellowships can be offered to individuals who at the time of application have not yet completed their first full year of doctoral or MFA study or are entering graduate school for the first time in the next academic year. On-line application information is available on the website.
Predoctoral Fellowships For Minorities
This three-year fellowship is offered to members of the following minority groups: Alaska Natives (Eskimo or Aleut), Black/African Americans, Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos, Native American Indians, Native Pacific Islanders (Polynesian/Micronesian), and Puerto Ricans. The fellowship program identifies individuals with demonstrated ability and provides them the opportunity to engage in graduate study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. Approximately sixty predoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies on behalf of the Ford Foundation. This fellowship is not intended to be an extended dissertation award. Applicants already enrolled in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. program for one year or more must demonstrate that they can fully utilize a three-year predoctoral fellowship. Online application is available at website.
J. P. Morgan Chase Bank
Dolores Zohrab Liebmann
The fellowship is available to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences (including law, medicine, engineering, architecture or other formal professional training).
National Science Foundation
NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
These fellowships provide three years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.
Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation
Fellowship For New Americans
Thirty fellowships are awarded to New Americans. A New Americans is an individual who 1) holds a green card, 2) has been naturalized as US citizens, or 3) is the child of two parents who are both naturalized citizens. Preference is given to students who are entering their graduate career, although consideration will be given to those completing their dissertations, though not past their second year.
American Association of University Women
This Fellowship is available to women who expect to defend by the end of the award period, or shortly after. To qualify, applicants must have completed all course work, passed all required preliminary examinations, and received approval for their research proposals or plan by the deadline. Students holding any fellowship for writing a dissertation in the year prior to the AAUW Educational Foundation fellowship year are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study, except engineering. Scholars engaged in researching gender issues are encouraged to apply.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
ALCS Early Career Fellowship - Dissertation Completion Fellowships
Open to Ph.D. candidates in a humanities or social science department in the United States. Applicants from other departments may be eligible if the project is in the humanities or related social sciences and their principal dissertation supervisor holds an appointment in a humanities or related social science field department.
Lindt Dissertation Fellowship
This is a final-year dissertation write-up fellowship. Applicants should intend to defend by the end of the award period, or shortly thereafter.
Eisenhower World Affairs Institute
Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship
This fellowship is for students who are currently in the process of writing their dissertations. Eligible fields of study include international relations, security studies, government, economics, business administration, and history. Through this fellowship program, the Institute aims to promote the study of a broad range of topics that will contribute to the intellectual growth of tomorrow's leaders. The Fellowship is offered annually by the Eisenhower Institute.
Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust
Josephine De Karman Fellowship
Fellowships support full-time graduate students entering their terminal year of a Ph.D. program who show promise in their graduate careers. Applicants should be in their last year of graduate school in any discipline (special consideration is given to the humanities). All study must be carried out only within the United States and must be confined to the regular fall and winter semesters or the equivalent where the quarterly system prevails. Contact the foundation for an application.
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship
This fellowship is designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. In addition to topics in religious studies or in ethics (philosophical or religious), dissertations might consider the ethical implications of foreign policy, the values influencing political decisions, the moral codes of other cultures, and religious or ethical issues reflected in history or literature. Electronic application available on the website.
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)
AIIS Junior Research Fellowships
This fellowship is available to doctoral candidates at U.S. colleges and universities in all fields of study. It is specifically designed to enable doctoral candidates to pursue their dissertation research in India. Junior Research Fellows establish formal affiliation with Indian universities and Indian research supervisors. Awards are available for up to eleven months. Fellowships for six months or more may include limited coverage for dependents if funds are available.
GSAS International Travel Fellowship
Columbia University offers Traveling Fellowship for doctoral students in the research or writing stages of their dissertation who require overseas travel to complete their research.
Department of Education
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS)
This program provides academic year and summer fellowships to institutions of higher education to assist graduate students in foreign language and either area or international studies. Students can use the Summer FLAS internationally or domestically. Students typically use the Academic Year FLAS at Columbia; however, they may be able to use the Academic Year FLAS at other institutions. The goals of the fellowship program include: (1) assisting in the development of knowledge, resources, and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies; (2) stimulating the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and (3) developing a pool of international experts to meet national needs.
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award (DDRA)
Fellowships are to support doctoral candidates pursuing research in areas other than Western Europe. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed all requirements for the doctorate but the dissertation are eligible to apply. Travel to more than one location for research purposes is possible.
German Academic Exchange Service
Research Grants for recent PhDs and PhD candidates enable candidates to carry out dissertation research at libraries, archives, institutes or laboratories in Germany for a period of one to six months during the calendar year. In general, PhD candidates not older than thirty-two years of age may apply. Applicants should possess knowledge of the German language commensurate with the demands of their research project. The grant consists of a monthly maintenance allowance, international travel subsidy and health insurance. Please consult DAAD's Web site for comprehensive eligibility requirements and application information.
Institute of International Education
Study Abroad Grants support graduate students at all levels for nine months while they pursue research abroad for the dissertation. The proposed project must be completed in only one country. Required knowledge of the language is dependent upon country of application.
IREX administers a range of programs between the United States and the countries of Eastern Europe, the New Independent States (NIS), Asia, and the Near East. See website for specific fellowship information and applications.