Doctoral Program: Fellowships and Financial Aid

Student Fellowship and Stipend Information

Every student entering our Ph.D. program will receive a full fellowship (tuition, fees, and a stipend) upon admission. Students awarded such funding upon admission will receive five years of support (except for those entering with advanced standing, who will receive four years of support). In all cases, continuation of the fellowship is subject to satisfactory performance. These fellowships carry teaching obligations, normally in years two through four.

In addition to these fellowships, students are eligible for several other kinds of teaching appointments in Columbia College and in the History Department:

  • Students who have completed at least two years in the Ph.D. program are eligible for appointment in the Undergraduate Writing, the required writing course for all students in Columbia College. Students appointed to this program receive up to two years of full funding, including a stipend equal to those awarded to students doing departmental teaching, as well as a summer stipend for those who have completed two years of service.
  • Any student who has received the M. Phil. is eligible to apply to teach in the two central courses of Columbia College's core curriculum, Contemporary Civilization (CC) and Literature Humanities (LitHum). These appointments also provide full funding plus a stipend somewhat higher than the normal fellowship stipend.
  • Finally, students are also eligible for one-term teaching fellowships in the History Department that provide tuition, fees, and one-half of the regular full-year fellowship stipend. The number of such fellowships is determined by need and available funds.

There are, finally, many other opportunities for fellowship support, some from within the university and many from without. Most are directed at advanced students. Within Columbia, there are Whiting fellowships, which support the final stages of work on a dissertation, and other fellowships to support travel abroad and study of foreign languages. Some are targeted directly at minority students. Outside Columbia, there are many fellowships supporting many different kinds of historical research and writing. Guides to available outside fellowships are available through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Brebner Fund Travel Awards

A fund bequeathed to the department by the late Professor J. Bartlett Brebner provides limited awards to graduate students for travel expenses related to the presentation of papers at academic conferences and meetings of scholarly organizations. To apply please review the attached policy statement carefully and complete the application here. Only applications submitted by the deadlines below will be considered. *Please note that the application can be accessed only via Lionmail.*

Please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for more information on the GSAS Conference Matching Travel Fund.

Deadlines: middle of June middle of October middle of February
Travel Dates: May 1 - August 31 September 1 - December 31 January 1 - April 30

Travel Fellowships

  • German Chancellor Scholarship Program
  • American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship
  • Columbia University Traveling Fellowship
  • Summer at Reid Hall
  • W. Stuart Thompson Memorial Fellowship
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Fulbright Institute on International Education
  • IREX

Additional or Substitutional Funding

Contemporary Civilization and Literature Humanities. Any student who has received the M.Phil. (the degree awarded after the successful completion of the oral exam) is eligible to apply to teach in the two central courses of Columbia's core curriculum, Contemporary Civilization (CC) and Literature Humanities (LitHum). If appointed, the student will receive full funding for two and sometimes three years of teaching in the program, including a stipend slightly higher than those awarded to students doing departmental teaching. The selection process for CC and LitHum is competitive, but History Department students have traditionally received a significant number of such appointments. The student will also receive a summer fellowship (currently $3,000) after teaching in the program for at least a full year.

The University Writing Program. Appointments in the University Writing Program are open to all students in the History Department who have completed two years of the Ph.D. program. If awarded an appointment, the student will receive up to three years of full funding, including a stipend equal to those awarded to students doing departmental teaching. The student will also receive a summer fellowship (currently $3,000) for the summer after the second year of teaching in the program. The program is subject-oriented and is, therefore, an attractive funding option for history graduate students. For students without other funding, the University Writing Program is now the best funding opportunity available, offering students up to three years of support beyond what has already been received. This funding can carry the student through the sixth or seventh years in the program.

There are also significant advantages to University Writing Program appointments for students who already have multi-year funding. If, for example, the student accepts an appointment in the Writing Program beginning in the student's third year (at which point the student will already have taught for a year in the History Department), the student will remain eligible for the dissertation fellowship year when they complete the program. If the student teaches in the Writing Program for two years, the dissertation fellowship would fall in the fifth year. If the student teaches in the Writing Program for three years, the dissertation fellowship would fall in the sixth year-thus extending funding for a year beyond what a multi-year fellowship provides. The student will also be eligible for a summer fellowship after the second year in the Writing Program.

Other Fellowships. There are many other opportunities for fellowship support, some from within the university and others from outside. The Graduate School maintains an extensive listing of fellowships available to graduate students. Some of the major fellowships students regularly apply for are listed below. For details and deadlines, please visit the Financial Aid Office website.

You may also search the Community of Science website,

Pre-Dissertation Fellowships:

  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowships
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
  • Ford Foundation Fellowships for Minorities
  • J.P. Morgan Chase Fellowships
  • Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowships
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
  • Paul & Daisy Soros Foundation Fellowship for New Americans
  • Social Science Research Council Fellowships
  • Travel Fellowships
  • German Chancellor Scholarship Program
  • American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship
  • Columbia University Traveling Fellowship
  • GSAS Summer at Reid Hall Fellowship
  • W. Stuart Thompson Memorial Fellowship
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellowship
  • Fulbright Institute on International Education Fellowship
  • IREX Fellowship

Dissertation Write-Up Fellowships:

  • American Association of University Women
  • Columbia University Whiting Fellowship
  • Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship
  • Josephine De Karman Fellowship Trust
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship
  • Doris Quinn Dissertation Fellowship

All students are strongly encouraged to apply for different external fellowships every year. If the student has no other funding, the advantages of an outside fellowship are obvious. Even if the student is already funded, an outside fellowship can provide additional years without teaching obligations, additional support for travel and research, and a higher level of financial support than a Columbia fellowship alone would offer. Unfunded advanced students who are not beyond their seventh year in the program and who win outside dissertation fellowships (of at least $8,000) that provide full support can petition the department to have their Matriculation and Facilities and health insurance fees covered by the department during the time of their fellowship.

Summer Research Fellowships. In recent years, the Department of History has been able to award between fifteen and twenty $3,000 summer fellowships to students who have successfully completed their first year in the doctoral program. Funds for these fellowships are provided by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and although we cannot predict from year to year the exact number of awards we will be able to make, we are confident that a number of these fellowships will be available every summer.