What does funding look like for PhD students?
All Ph.D. students have graduate assistantships and receive a tuition waiver and a health insurance subsidy. Remaining expenses include course fees which—depending on the number of credit hours—typically do not exceed $1,000 a semester.
Our graduate student stipends are highly competitive (over $18,000) and quite generous when one factors in the low cost-of-living of Columbia. Historically, our students have won multiple university fellowships that provide additional funding (often $11,000-16,000).
The Truman School is also unique in guaranteeing funding for the five years it takes students to complete their PhD requirements, rather than make acquiring funding a competition between students. We have found that our approach reduces student anxiety about their economic situation. When students don’t compete with each other for their funding, they are free to build lasting friendships and connections.
What are the options for graduate assistantships?
Graduate assistants typically work 20 hours a week as either a teaching assistant or a research assistant. Graduate students in RA positions are paired with faculty members with similar research interests, so promising research assistantships often evolve into full-fledged co-authored projects. Teaching assistant duties vary according to the class, sometimes involving mostly grading while other times involving leading discussion sections. We also have opportunities for students interested in applied policy research to work as an RA with the Institute of Public Policy.
Students are allocated to either TA or RA positions based on a mixture of needs of the Truman School and the strengths and preferences of students.
We want our students to produce high-quality political science research that changes how people think about politics. Oftentimes, producing ground-breaking research requires spending significant time in a location to understand how politics works at a local level. Or, it may require collecting original data in order to answer interesting research questions. Either way, we provide seed funding to help students with the expenses related to traveling to conduct research, interviews, or survey respondents.
In just the past few years, we have provided a large number of these internal grants. In addition to getting the students off on the right foot in their research process, this seed money often attracts bigger grants from other funding agencies.
- Survey experiments on national identity and preferences for redistribution in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
- Interviews about corruption in local government in Ghana.
- Survey experiments on the relationship between perceptions of fraud and support for social welfare among Americans.
- Opinions on performance budgeting among American legislators and the public.
- Surveys to test the effects of police apologies on African Americans’ perceptions of police legitimacy.