Financial Aid

Financial assistance is provided in the form of Yale University Fellowships, tuition fellowships, teaching fellowships, traineeships, and research assistantships. The nature of the assistance varies among the divisions and departments. In most departments and programs, doctoral students are guaranteed five years of twelve-month stipend and tuition support. Applicants for admission to Ph.D. programs will automatically be considered for all Yale fellowships, traineeships, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships for which they are eligible. These awards of financial aid are announced in letters of admission, which are usually sent during the month of February. Students are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from external sources (see External Fellowships and Combined Award Policy).

In addition to grants and fellowships for tuition and living costs, Yale Health Basic Coverage is provided at no cost to students enrolled at least half-time in degree-granting programs.

Eligible Ph.D. students also receive a Health Award, which covers the full cost of the single-student and the Student + Child(ren) Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage (including coverage for prescriptions), half the cost of the Student + Spouse coverage, and the Student + Child(ren) portion of the Student Family Plan. Eligible Ph.D. students with a child will also receive an annual Student Family Support subsidy in the amount of $7,500, issued in installments of $3,750 per term. For Ph.D. students who elect the Family Plan at Yale Health, the Family Support subsidy is first applied automatically to pay the cost of the spousal portion of Family Plan coverage; the remainder of the subsidy is then disbursed to the student. The annual subsidy will increase by $2,500 ($1,250 per term) for each additional child under the age of six.

Students who do not participate in Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage will not be provided with Health Awards. The graduate dental and vision plans are options that eligible students may choose to purchase for themselves and their dependents and are not covered by the Health Award. (For further information regarding health care options through Yale Health, see Health Services under Yale University Resources and Services.)

University and Teaching Fellowships

The Graduate School provides all Ph.D. students with a minimum level of support for five years upon admission. Fellowships are awarded at admission to entering students on the basis of merit and recommendations made by individual departments. In most departments, the source of stipend support will change after the first or second year of study to a teaching fellowship or research assistantship. Students who teach outside of the standard departmental pattern defer their University Fellowships to a later year and do not receive more than the standard departmental stipend while teaching. University Fellowships may not be deferred beyond the sixth year of registration.

Students awarded a University Fellowship may not accept any other award without the permission of the appropriate associate dean. The Graduate School is the final authority on University Fellowships and any combination of University funding with other sources of financial aid. (See External Fellowships and Combined Award Policy.)

Because the Graduate School considers teaching experience to be an integral part of graduate education, doctoral students receive financial aid packages that include teaching fellowships. In many programs, there are specific years when students are expected to teach. For example, most humanities and social science students will teach in their third, fourth, and sixth years. In the natural sciences, the timing of teaching may be earlier or flexible over several years. When requested by the student for compelling academic reasons, these patterns may be adjusted with the permission of the director of graduate studies contingent on the student’s satisfactory academic progress and sufficient course enrollment.

If the associate dean and director of graduate studies determine that no suitable teaching is available in a term in which a student is expected to teach, the student will continue to receive the standard departmental stipend that term. Stipend support will be withheld if a student elects not to teach in a term in which the student is expected to teach as part of the student’s funding package.

The financial aid packages of many students, particularly in the science departments, may include non-University funds. Should these non-University funds become unavailable, additional University support may be provided. Doctoral students who receive additional University support during their first six years of registration will be required to do additional terms of teaching, if necessary. This additional teaching will typically be at the TF20 level and will be required in each term that the student receives University support. Students will not be required to teach more than the equivalent of six terms at the TF20 level during their first six years of registration. Students in good standing who require additional University support but who have already completed six terms of teaching at the TF20 level will receive University funds with no teaching obligation. Students receiving University funds are ineligible to seek additional teaching assignments that would be paid beyond the standard stipend.

Access to Teaching Fellowships

When departments are considering applications for teaching fellowships, priority is given to qualified graduate students who are expected to teach as part of their funding package. Students in years two through six who have completed their required teaching may teach if enrollments permit. In the humanities and social sciences, students who are on funding extensions are expected to teach at the TF20 level. In cases where an appointing department must choose between two or more graduate students who are each well qualified to teach a particular course, the student or students who have not yet had a chance to teach or who have taught the least will be given preference.

Limits on Teaching

Except when specified in their letters of admission, first-year doctoral students may be appointed as teaching fellows only in exceptional cases, and only after prior approval by their director of graduate studies and the associate dean. Students in the humanities and social sciences may teach during their second year only when such teaching is permitted by their department. Students in years one through six may teach no more than one TF20 assignment (up to twenty hours per week) per term. Students in the natural sciences teaching above the requirement are limited to one TF10 assignment per term. Seventh-year students may teach up to three TF20 assignments per year.

Students who have met their program’s teaching expectation and who are supported by non-University funds may seek additional teaching assignments at the TF10 level. Students who are teaching to fulfill a teaching funding or academic requirement will have priority for available teaching assignments over those who are seeking additional teaching assignments. Students may not be appointed as lecturers while registered in the Graduate School.

Students seeking TF appointments outside of their departments should discuss their plans with their director of graduate studies well in advance of the start of a term.

Students with outside fellowships may be eligible to serve as TFs according to the policies of the Graduate School and the conditions of their outside awards.

Assignment Letters

Letters of assignment are sent to graduate students via the online Teaching Fellow System (TFS) indicating the course in which a graduate student is expected to teach and the level of the assignment. An assignment is not official until the electronic assignment letter has been transmitted via the online TFS.

Teaching Fellow Levels

All teaching fellows teach at one of two effort levels. Students assigned at the TF10 level are expected to teach for up to 10 hours per week. Students assigned at the TF20 level are expected to teach for up to 20 hours per week. Science students engaged in required teaching and doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences who teach in years one through six receive the standard departmental stipend irrespective of the assignment level. Doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences are typically expected to perform required teaching at the TF20 level. All students, including master’s and professional school students, who are teaching outside of a doctoral financial aid package receive $4,000 for a TF10 assignment and $8,000 for a TF20 assignment.

Traineeships and Assistantships in Research

Traineeships (National Research Service Awards) from the National Institutes of Health are available in most of the biological sciences and in some other departments. These awards support full-time Ph.D. study by U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals of the United States, and permanent residents. In combination with University and departmental supplements, they provide payment of tuition, a monthly stipend, and the hospitalization premium. Federal rules require that trainees pursue their research training on a full-time basis. In some instances, there is a federal payback provision, which is ordinarily satisfied by serving in health-related research or teaching at the conclusion of training. Information about this obligation and other matters relating to traineeships is available from the director of graduate studies or the principal investigator of the specific training grant in question.

Research Appointments

Doctoral students in departments where the faculty receive research grants or contracts may be eligible for appointments as assistants in research (AR). In most of the science departments, advanced Ph.D. students are normally supported as ARs by individual faculty research grants. An assistantship in research provides a monthly salary at a rate agreed upon by the department and the Graduate School. It is understood that the work performed not only is part of the faculty principal investigator’s research project but also is the student’s dissertation research and therefore in satisfaction of a degree requirement. For a standard AR appointment, in addition to the salary, the grant pays half of the tuition or the full CRF. When the appointee is eligible for a University Fellowship, the other half of tuition is covered by a fellowship.

An appointment as a project assistant (PA) is intended for a student who performs services for projects that are not a part of the student’s degree program. A project assistant may normally work no more than ten hours per week. The rate of compensation is based on the department-approved rate paid to assistants in research. With the permission of the director of graduate studies and the appropriate associate dean, a student may receive a combination of project assistant and assistant in research appointments.

Questions about AR or PA appointments should be directed to the director of graduate studies or the appropriate associate dean in the Graduate School.