Graduate Handbook

Financial Matters: Fellowships, Stipends, Grants, Taxation


All entering students are admitted with multi-year fellowships, known as Hofstadter Fellowships, which carry five years of funding (or four for those with Advanced Standing). Fellowship awards provide full tuition, 9 month stipend, basic health and insurance fees available through the University, on a yearly basis. Students are responsible for all other fees such as the student activity fee, one time transcript fee, international and University facilities fee, on a yearly basis.

Students on such fellowships teach for three years (two if granted Advanced Standing), beginning in the second year. They do not teach in the first year and, usually, in the last fellowship year. In all cases, continuation of the fellowship is subject to satisfactory performance.

U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents who are recipients of fellowship awards that include teaching or research responsibilities are required to complete the financial aid forms for the federal aid programs. Students must submit the Columbia University Application for Loan and/or Federal Work-Study and must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The financial information contained in these documents will NOT alter the amount of the fellowship award from GSAS.

Students have a number of opportunities to secure 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.

Teaching Scholars Program: Any student who has received the M.Phil. (the degree awarded after the successful completion of the oral exam) is eligible to apply to the Teaching Scholars Program. Students will receive a full Teaching Assistantship for the year in which they teach that will include tuition, facilities fees, stipend, and health insurance. Additionally, students selected will be awarded $1,000 for the summer before the year in which they are scheduled to teach their proposed course to support their efforts to develop and prepare the course and its attendant materials. The Teaching Scholar's classroom assignment during the semester in which he or she is not teaching the proposed course will be determined by the department after it assesses its overarching curricular needs.

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 external 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.

Pre-Dissertation Fellowships

  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowships
  • Sciences Po Exchange
  • 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
  • GSAS International Travel Fellowships
  • German Chancellor Scholarship Program
  • American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research 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 those with funding and those without it are strongly encouraged to apply for different 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: The Graduate School provides an annual summer research stipend as part of the multi-year funding package for doctoral students. Students must be in good standing and making satisfactory academic progress in order to receive this funding. In addition, they should provide their department with a written description of their proposed summer research project and submit an end-of-summer report to their department. Departments will forward the end-of-summer reports to the Graduate School for review.

In recent years, the Department of History has been able to award additional summer awards to students within and past their 5th year of funding. 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.


Students without Teaching Appointments: Students without teaching or research responsibilities will receive 4 stipend checks over the academic year. Checks are available at the start of registration in September and January and at the start of the month in November and March.

Students with Teaching Appointments: Students who are appointed Teaching Fellow or Research Fellow also receive 4 stipend checks as described above which equals 2/3 of their total stipend. The remaining 1/3 of the stipend is processed as 9 monthly checks that are sent directly to their departments at the end of each month.

Stipend checks will be available for students to pick up at the Cashiering area in 210 Kent Hall. Students must be registered and are required to show a valid CUID card. International students must have a Social Security number or need to show a receipt of application in order to receive their stipend checks.


Travel funds are available to students through the J. Bartlett Brebner Fund. 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. Students beyond their seventh year of study in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences are not eligible. To apply please review the attached policy statement carefully and complete the attached application form, which is editable in Adobe Reader and Apple Preview. Submit the completed form and required documentation for approval by email to the Director of Graduate Studies and copy the Academic Department Administrator and Business Manager. Names and email addresses are listed on the form and policy statement. Only applications submitted by the deadlines below will be considered.


U.S. students and Permanent Residents: Income tax is not withheld on fellowship stipends paid to U.S. students and Permanent Residents. However, all grant aid (scholarships, fellowships) that exceeds the cost of tuition and required fees, books and related classroom expenses is subject to U.S. income tax. Also subject to tax are any amounts received representing payments for teaching and research. The Controller's Office at Columbia withholds income tax amounts earned through research or teaching appointments. W-2 forms will be issued for amounts earned and withheld for research or teaching appointments only. The student is responsible for accurately reporting stipend amounts and for making estimated tax payments if appropriate.

International students: Financial aid received by international students is subject to U.S. income tax. Income taxes for international students are withheld from university payments for teaching and research in the humanities and the social sciences. Fellowships awarded to international students are subject to taxation and 14% federal withholding on the amount in excess of tuition and fees. International students should receive the 1042-S form as tax documentation for their fellowship.

The United States has tax treaties or agreements with roughly 40 countries and territories under which their citizens may be exempt from all or part of U.S. income tax. Treaties are negotiated for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital. Treaties vary from country to country, and tax exemption may vary based on an individual's status (student, professor, etc.) and the number of years that individual has been in the U.S. For more information about tax treaties see the Department Treasury's Publication #901, United States Tax Treaties.

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