Graduate Funding Opportunities

The Georgetown Biology PhD program is fully funded; a stipend and tuition waiver will be provided for all five years of the program. Students in the program receive their stipends through a combination of research assistantship jobs, teaching assistantship jobs, university fellowships, and external fellowships. 

Stipend funding

Assistantship funding

Most biology students are funded by paid assistantships for all five years. This means that students work as Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants (sometimes called “Teaching Fellows” in the biology department), depending on the semester. For the purpose of managing working conditions and hours, the graduate school differentiates between work you are doing for a stipend (your “employment”) and work you are doing for your degree and dissertation (your “academics”). Teaching Assistants typically help run recitation or lab sections for a course taught by a professor. Research Assistants usually work in the lab of their PI, and can be asked to do work that is not directly related to their dissertation. Both of these jobs are unionized, and subject to the contract negotiated between Georgetown and the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. This Collective Bargaining Agreement sets minimum stipend levels and details the benefits and work protections available to graduate student assistants. The minimum stipend for biology for the 2022-2023 year is $36,934.20. These are 12-month stipends; you will be paid over the summer. Under this contract, your employment duties cannot exceed 15 hours per week; the remainder of your time is reserved for your own coursework and dissertation research.

External fellowship funding

Students are encouraged to pursue external fellowship funding. Fellowships are prestigious, and provide a stipend that is not dependent on a work, or “service” obligation. This can provide more time to focus on your dissertation research, and more flexibility in pursuing research topics outside of the interests of your PI. 

We encourage you to read about fellowship opportunities; here are some places to start:

The most common fellowship that graduate students in the department have won is the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship provides funding for three years of your dissertation; if you are awarded this or other fellowships before you begin graduate school it will strengthen your application and may allow the department to accept you even if department funding is limited. If you are awarded a fellowship, you can notify departments that you already received rejections from, or departments that you did not even apply to! If you bring your own funding with you, the department may be able to accept you regardless of their own funding status.

Internal fellowship funding

The Graduate School provides a number of Dissertation Fellowship Awards each year.  Typically, each award will include two semesters of Thesis Research scholarship support. These capstone awards are intended for doctoral candidates who are in the final stages of their research and writing. Nominees must have completed all coursework and language requirements for their program, passed their comprehensive examinations, and have an approved thesis proposal on file with the Graduate School by the nomination deadline. Each Main Campus doctoral program may nominate one doctoral candidate for a Dissertation Fellowship. The Committee for Graduate Students and Studies will meet to determine the eligibility of students and help to prepare the nomination packet to send to the Graduate School.  Interested students or faculty mentors should contact CGSS for more information. 

Professional Development and Research Funding

Conference Funding

The Graduate School and the department support the professional development of graduate students by providing Conference Travel Grants to doctoral students. These grants may be used toward travel and other expenses associated with attendance at a professional meeting and may be requested in advance. The amount of the individual grants will depend on the nature of the student’s participation and the location of the conference.  Please check the Graduate School’s pages for additional information and deadlines. The department travel grants operate on a rolling basis; contact CGSS for more information.

Dissertation Research Travel Award

The Graduate School provides a number of Doctoral Dissertation Research Travel awards of up to $5,000 each.  These awards will support the travel costs of doctoral students engaged in archival or field research outside the United States.  Grants will not exceed $5,000; the actual amount awarded will depend on budgets submitted by nominees. Nominees must have completed all coursework and language requirements for their program, passed their comprehensive examinations, and have an approved thesis proposal on file with the Graduate School by the nomination deadline. Each Main Campus doctoral program may nominate one doctoral candidate for a Dissertation Research Travel award. The Committee for Graduate Students and Studies will meet to determine the eligibility of students and help to prepare the nomination packet to send to the Graduate School.  Interested students or faculty mentors should contact CGSS for more information.