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Graduate Funding

Financial assistance from the department and the university is available for full-time Ph.D. students in three main forms: fellowships, teaching assistantships and graduate assistantships. 

The central criterion in all departmental financial aid decisions is academic merit. All admitted Ph.D. students are offered five years of support. In each case, annual renewal of financial support is based on satisfactory performance and progress in the program. Stipends are currently in the range of $22,000-23,500 and include tuition remission. Health benefits are available as part of the funding packages. We encourage all students to seek in-state student status within two years of entering the program. All applicants accepted into the Ph.D. program are automatically considered for funding. 

M.A. applicants will be considered for funding through Teach Assistantship, which provide a stipend and partial tuition remission. Those who do not obtain such funding are eligible to apply for graduate assistantships on campus, which carry tuition remission and stipends.

Teaching Assistantships

The majority of our financial aid awards are in the form of teaching assistantships. Doctoral teaching assistants presently teach two courses per year, or their equivalent. These full teaching assistantships also include 10 credits of tuition remission and the option of participating in the health insurance program that the University offers to full-time employees. We also offer partial TAships to some exceptionally qualified M.A. students, which carry less tuition remission and a smaller teaching load.

For more information about the responsibilities of departmental teaching assistants, see the Graduate School website.

Graduate Assistantships

Across the campus, the university offers graduate assistantships in many different capacities. These assistantships can carry the same tuition remission and health benefits as the departmental teaching assistantships and similar stipends. University graduate assistants work 10-20 hours per week. Many of our students have received these graduate assistantships. Advertisements for these positions, many of which are announced during the spring and summer, can be found at the University of Maryland's Department of Human Resources.

Dissertation Fellowships

The application is valid for the following dissertation fellowship competitions: Harman-Ward Dissertation Fellowship, Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship and the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship. Please note that the deadlines for this application are prior to listed fellowship deadlines on the Graduate School and ARHU websites, as we need time to evaluate your applications to decide which students are going to be nominated for different fellowships.

All those interested in applying for the aforementioned dissertation fellowship competitions must have advanced to candidacy and have submitted an approved copy of his or her prospectus. Applicants are asked to submit one application for nomination and/or support consideration by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). This procedure will allow the GSC to match applicants to the fellowship competitions appropriately and to distribute resources among graduate students as widely as possible. Once the GSC has made its selections, students and advisors will be asked to revise/edit their materials to make them specific to a particular competition.

Applications must include the following:

   1. The application cover sheet

   2. A 500-word abstract of the dissertation written for a general audience. The abstract should include: a) the title; b) a description of the study; c) the significance of the study; and d) sources of information or data, if applicable.

   3. A one-page statement of work completed to date, work remaining, timeline and expected date of completion;

   4. A C.V. of no more than 2 pages

   5. A letter from the dissertation director. This letter should address the student’s outstanding qualifications, the significance of the student’s scholarship or research and an account of how this fellowship would have an impact on the student’s ability to progress toward his or her degree in a timely way. This letter should be submitted electronically to the graduate coordinator.

Please electronically submit all of the documents requested to the graduate coordinator, Heather Dias (hdias@umd.edu) by no later than January 15.

Harman-Ward Dissertation Fellowship

Eligibility: ENGL Ph.D. students

Amount: $18,000 for an academic year (9.5 months)

This fellowship was established in honor of two former professors in the English department, Susan E. Harman, who retired in 1961, and Kathryn Painter Ward, who retired in 1977. The award provides fellowship support for an academic year (9.5 months) and carries a stipend of $18,000. It is awarded by the department to an ENGL Ph.D. candidate pursuing a dissertation that focuses on one of these fields: medieval literature, linguistics, 18th-century literature or colonial American drama.

Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship

Eligibility: ENGL and CMLT Ph.D. students (nominations to the Graduate School)

Amount: $15,000 for one semester

Each year, the Graduate School awards numerous Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships. The fellowships provide support for one semester. They carry a stipend of $15,000 and fellows receive candidacy tuition remission and a credit for mandatory fees. Please note the Snouffer no longer provides health insurance coverage; however, recipients may file a health insurance reimbursement request of up to $1,000 (reimbursement does not include family plans). They are intended for students who are in the final stages of writing their dissertations and criteria includes the likelihood of the student finishing the dissertation during the fellowship year.

Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship

Eligibility: ENGL and CMLT Ph.D. students (nominations to the College of Arts and Humanities)

Amount: $20,000 for an academic year (9.5 months)

The Mary S. Snouffer Scholarship Fund supports up to four fellowships for qualified students pursuing the doctorate within any discipline in the humanities, including the study of language, literature, culture, philosophy, history or the arts. Preference will be given to students in English; scholarships can be awarded to students in other disciplines within the humanities. Recipients of the scholarship shall be selected by a committee appointed by the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Criteria for selection shall be based upon both academic merit and need. Each department should put forward its very best candidate and no department should submit more than three nominations. Proposals should be written with a non-specialist audience in mind. The successful applicant must be a graduate student who has reached the dissertation stage and must have completed all coursework and passed the qualifying examination for the doctorate degree. Students receiving the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship are expected to enroll full-time and to devote full time to work on their dissertation. The academic year (9.5 months) stipend for the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship is currently $20,000 and includes tuition remission for up to 6 credit hours (this amount does not cover health benefits and is not tax exempt).

Travel and Research Support

The English department will provide financial assistance to graduate students presenting their research at academic and professional conferences. In order to receive departmental travel funds, students must be delivering a presentation/poster at a regional, national or international conference, including no more than one graduate student conference.

Departmental travel funds support graduate student travel to conferences on a rolling basis.

For Ph.D. students, the department offers funding of up to $400 in a given Academic Year (AY) for five years. Unused funds may roll over into another academic year. While these funds are intended primarily for presenting research at professional meetings, they may also be used for supporting travel to a conference for the purposes of a job interview or for necessary research expenses (such as photography, transcription, language study, etc.). If a student would like to use these funds for purposes other than conference travel, they will need to obtain the prior approval of the DGS. In addition to these funds, the department will provide up to $1,600 in matching funds for external travel awards, such as the ARHU Travel Award, the Graduate School's Goldhaber Travel Award and the International Conference Student Support Award (ICSSA). Students who have exhausted their non-matching funds and who have applied for, but did not receive one of these awards, should contact the Business Office.

For M.A. and M.F.A. students, the department offers one-time funding of up to $400. In addition to these funds, the department will provide up to $400 in matching funds for external travel awards, such as the ARHU Travel Award, the Graduate School's Goldhaber Travel Award and the ICSSA.

For more information on external travel awards, please consult the External Funding link at the bottom of the ARHU Fellowships, Grants & Awards page.

Summer Funding

All students interested in applying for departmental and university-wide summer funding are asked to submit one application for consideration by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). This procedure will allow the GSC to match applicants to the fellowship competition(s) appropriately, and to distribute resources among graduate students as widely as possible. This application will allow students to apply for any of the following fellowships. Please note the different eligibility requirements for each fellowship.

Application Process

Students who wish to be considered for any of these fellowships should provide the following to the graduate coordinator as a single PDF by the application deadline:

1. A completed cover sheet 

2. A specific proposal, no more than two pages, stating:

  • a) the nature of the work to be accomplished during the summer
  • b) a plan for its execution
  • c) the specific benchmark(s) that this award will enable the student to meet
  • d) a clear indication of how the summer project fits within the program’s timetable for completing graduation requirements; students are asked to write this proposal for an educated lay audience.

3. A CV, no more than two pages   

4. If you are applying for the Kwiatek Fellowship: A copy of your submitted FAFSA form. FAFSA can be completed here.

5. A letter from the advisor or the major professor with whom the student is working. This letter should address the student’s outstanding qualifications, the significance of the student’s scholarship or research and the student’s timely progress through the program. This letter should be submitted electronically to the graduate coordinator (hdias@umd.edu).

Please electronically submit all of the documents requested to the graduate coordinator, Heather Dias (hdias@umd.edu), by no later than February 15.

Awards for Excellence in Service and Academic Achievement

University and College Awards

The James F. Harris Art and Humanities Visionary Scholarship: The competition is open to masters and doctoral students. Applicants are to write a two-page application describing how their breadth of interests and activities exemplify key principles of an arts and humanities education. A letter of support written by a faculty member who can speak to the student's suitability for this award should be submitted to the home department/program. Departmental deadline is November 15.

The James W. Longest Memorial Award provides $2,000 to support doctoral dissertation research in the social sciences with potential benefits for small and/or disadvantaged communities. Candidacy tuition remission is granted for each of two semesters (if not covered by other tuition remission). Departmental deadline for application is February 15.

The Michael J. Pelczar Award for Excellence in Graduate Study offers $1,000 to a doctoral candidate who has served at least one academic year as a teaching assistant with a commendable performance and who has demonstrated excellence beyond his or her coursework. The student must have advanced to candidacy for the doctoral degree and have demonstrated a high level of accomplishment in research. The student must have served at least one academic year as a teaching assistant, with a commendable performance. The student must demonstrate evidence of excellence beyond course work, e.g., a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to a discipline, publications in national or international journals, election to honorary societies or honors or awards by other groups. The departmental deadline for application is February 15.

The Phi Delta Gamma Graduate Fellowship offers $1,000 to a doctoral student (ENGL or CMLT) who “best exemplifies interdisciplinary scholarship achievement.” Students may be at any stage of their program. Students must exemplify the spirit of interdisciplinary focus in research. Membership in Phi Delta Gamma is optional. Departmental deadline for application is February 15.

The Dr. Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Achievement: Dr. Spencer taught at the University of Maryland from 1948 to 1968. Her energy, dynamic personality and commitment to bringing about positive change made her a leader in the university community. Dedicated to programs and activities that advanced the interests of women at the university, Spencer was also known for her extraordinary ability to communicate with and provide assistance to her students, especially students from underrepresented minorities and from foreign countries. The Spencer Award is available on a competitive basis for students who will have achieved candidacy by June 1, 2017. The stipend for the Spencer Award is currently $15,000. Departmental deadline for application is February 15.

Essay Prizes

The Kinnaird Awards are given in honor and in memory of John Kinnaird, formerly a professor of Romantic literature in the English department. Professor Kinnaird was admired as both a fine teacher and scholar here; his great biography of the English essayist William Hazlitt was published only a year before his death in 1980. Two awards are given each year, one for the best seminar paper by a master’s student in English, the other for the best seminar paper by a doctoral student in English, written in the preceding calendar year. Details on the administration of this award will be announced in the spring.

Eligibility for the two Kinnaird prizes:

1. ENGL M.A.; $100 prize

2. ENGL and CMLT Ph.D.; $100 prize

The Comparative Literature Essay Prize recognizes excellence in graduate student writing about literature in multiple languages. The award is open to graduate students in comparative literature, SLLC and English. The paper must be written in English and deal with at least two languages/literatures and demonstrate, through quotations and bibliography, that the texts were analyzed in their original languages of publication. The prize carries an award of $500.

Dissertation Awards

The following three awards recognize outstanding dissertations by the department and by the Graduate School; there is no application process because the Graduate Studies Office solicits nominations directly from the faculty in December. If you are nominated, you will be contacted by the GSO for materials.

Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged. Awards will be given each year in four broad disciplinary areas: 1) mathematics, physical sciences and engineering; 2) social sciences; 3) humanities and fine arts; and 4) biological and life sciences. The Council of Graduate Schools uses these categories for its annual national dissertation awards. Recipients of the Distinguished Dissertation Award will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and may be nominated by the university for the CGS national award.

The Carl Bode Dissertation Prize is given in honor and in memory of Carl Bode, emeritus professor of English, who died in 1993. Professor Bode was a beloved teacher and invaluable member of our department for nearly 40 years and he wrote prolifically in the fields of American literature and American studies. This award is presented each year to a graduate student in English for the best dissertation in American literature.

The Alice L. Geyer Dissertation Prize was established in 1996 through the generosity of Alice L. Geyer, who earned a master’s degree from this department in 1951 with a thesis on the English Romantic poet George Gordon (Lord Byron) and who was a longtime friend and supporter of the English graduate program. This award is presented each year to the graduate student in English with the best dissertation on British literature.