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Financial Support

The Department guarantees six years (12 semesters) of full financial support to all Ph.D. students who are making satisfactory academic progress and performing adequately as classroom teachers.  Students do not teach during their first year, and can expect to receive at least three, and often four, additional semesters of non-teaching fellowship support during the dissertation-writing period (usually years four, five and six).   Students are supported by teaching assistantships during their remaining semesters in the program.  Typical teaching assistantships involve overseeing two discussion sections of 20-25 students.  All students receive medical and dental coverage during their time in the program.

Students also receive summer support, in the form of either non-teaching fellowships (most summers in the program) or teaching assistantships (at the end of year four). Except when teaching, students are not required to be in residence in Ann Arbor during summers.

One example of a funding pattern for students could look like the one below. Please note that not all funding packages will look like this; admitted students should refer to their offer letter for specific details.

   Fall  Winter  Summer
Year 1    Fellowship    Fellowship    Fellowship  
Year 2  GSI  GSI   Fellowship
Year 3  GSI  GSI  Fellowship
Year 4   Fellowship  GSI  GSI
Year 5  GSI   Fellowship  Fellowship
Year 6   GSI  Fellowship  GSI (optional) 

The Department may nominate applicants for Rackham Merit Fellowships, which provide slightly more generous financial support and an additional term of non-teaching fellowship during the dissertation writing period.  The Merit program helps sustain the academic excellence and inclusiveness of the Michigan graduate community by offering financial assistance to students with diverse experiences, goals, and familial backgrounds.  The Fellowship is open to newly admitted students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA).

Only the Department may nominate candidates for these fellowships, but applicants are encouraged to use their personal statement in the Rackham application for admission to provide relevant information about their suitability as nominees for Merit Fellowships. Please see the Admissions FAQ's for more information

Competitive multiyear fellowships from external sources (like the Ford, JavitsMellon, and SSHRCC) may be supplemented to ensure levels of funding commensurate with Departmental norms.   While students with such fellowships often do less than the average amount of teaching during their graduate careers, the Department requires at least four semesters of teaching (during the regular academic year) to ensure that students have adequate preparation for academic positions.

The Department also provides funds for travel to professional meetings, and partially defrays travel expenses for students who have papers accepted for presentation at legitimate philosophy conferences in North America. Additionally, Rackham invites students to apply for Conference Travel Grants to help offset the costs of attending a conference.

Lastly, there are many more opportunities within Rackham and various other programs at UM for year-long or semester-based fellowships. Examples of these include the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship; the Institute for Humanities fellowships; and semester or summer fellowships through the Sweetland Writing Center or the Institue for Research on Women and Gender