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PhD funding

Accepted doctoral students are normally automatically awarded six years of departmental funding via a teaching assistantship. Limited numbers of BoT Tuition Waivers are available to the English Department via the Graduate College. Information about these as well as travel funding and postgraduate fellowship opportunities can be found below.

For incoming doctoral students, the announcement of these awards is usually made at the time of admission via a letter from the Department Head. For continuing doctoral students, the announcement of these awards is usually made before the end of spring semester. The deadline for acceptance is April 15. Additional announcements may be made in June or later in the summer if assistantships are still available.

All teaching assistantships involve teaching freshman composition, other lower-division English courses appropriate to the assistant’s background, or tutoring in the Writing Center.

Students who are post-preliminary exams may apply for a cotutelle at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Course work

All teaching assistants are required to carry at least eight hours of course work per semester.


At the PhD level, appointments are one-half time (50% FTE) and require teaching two classes in the fall and one in the spring, or occasionally vice versa. In the first term, incoming PhD students do not teach. Rather, they take ENGL 555 – Teaching College Writing. This counts as the course they would have otherwise taught. PhD students are also entitled to a “dissertation leave” semester without teaching responsibilities in the Spring following successful preliminary exams.

All doctoral students qualify for such awards by virtue of having been admitted into the program, and are required to serve as Teaching Assistants for at least four semesters, unless they are exempted by the Director of Graduate Studies on the basis of other teaching experience. The requirement reflects the departmental conviction that teaching experience is an integral component of training at the doctoral level.

Students holding assistantships in Spring semester automatically receive a tuition and fee waiver for the Summer term, but are not required to register unless they hold a summer teaching appointment.

Stipend and Tuition and Fee Waiver

The standard Teaching Assistantship carries with it an annual stipend announced each year by the Graduate College. As a 50% FTE appointment, the English PhD student stipend amount is generally more than $18,000, although the final amount changes from year to year. Students are informed of the final amount in the assistantship agreement contract. Its renewal is contingent on satisfactory performance in the program.

Assistantship waivers cover the following fees assessed by the University:
* Full tuition
* Service fee
* Health service fee
* Academic facilities maintenance fund assessment (AFMFA)
* Library and Information Technology Assessment (LITA)
CampusCare Health Insurance if the student chooses to be covered by the plan (Fall and Spring Semesters only).

Assistantship waivers do not cover the following fees assessed by the Unviersity:
* General fee
* CTA transportation fee
* Student-to-student fee
* Sustainability fee
* Office of International Services student fees (international students only)
* The remainder of the cost of health insurance over the amount listed above (i.e., summer coverage or coverage for dependents).

Visit the Office of Admissions and Records website for the most recent and accurate list of tuition and fees.

Length of Term

Teaching assistantships are available to PhD students for a maximum of six years, and are contingent on sufficient progress through the program. Students and faculty complete an annual department review in order to ensure that students are making sufficient progress towards the degree.

Students with additional fellowship assistance within or outside the university are not provided with an automatic extension of assistance from the department beyond the sixth year. Extensions of assistance are awarded at the discretion of the DGS, the Department Head, and the Associate Head.


The following information is for graduate students appointed as first-year or second-year Teaching Assistants in the English Department.


First-year PhD Teaching Assistants ordinarily receive two-thirds time appointments requiring the teaching of three classes (two in the fall and one in the spring) each year. Teaching assignments may be in composition or some other course assigned by the department and appropriate to the Teaching Assistants’ backgrounds. Summer-term teaching is often available but cannot be guaranteed.

Non-Native Speakers

All international students who will have student contact must pass UIC’s “SPEAK” test. Visit the International Teaching Assistant Program for more information about arranging for a “SPEAK” test.

Hourly Work Requirements

All Teaching Assistants are required to attend a workshop during the week before classes begin in Fall semester. For each section a teaching assistant is assigned to teach, he or she is expected to devote approximately the following amounts of time each week: three or four hours of class meetings, three hours of preparation, two hours of office conferences, and four hours of reading and evaluating students’ writing. All Teaching Assistants assigned to a composition course must attend regular staff meetings.

English 555

Instead of teaching, all first-year Teaching Assistants take ENGL 555 – Teaching College Writing, during fall term. Assignment time for this course, and the course itself, are a part of each teaching assistant’s academic program, and are separate from the remunerated work requirement of the assistantship, but a portion of the weekly assignment time for the course (approximately three hours) is devoted to the supervised reading and evaluation of compositions written by students in English 160.

Teaching Evaluation

Teaching Evaluation is mandatory for all Teaching Assistants, who are required to participate in the departmental student evaluation of courses which occurs in all classes each semester. These evaluations are made available to the Head or those he/she designates without the option of the teaching assistant to withhold them. Faculty will also occasionally visit Teaching Assistants’ classes to evaluate their teaching progress. These evaluations will be consulted in considering Teaching Assistants’ applications for renewal. Teaching Assistants may also wish to make  available to faculty writing recommendations for his or her placement files. Teaching Assistants who fail to maintain expected standards of academic and teaching professionalism will have their Teaching Assistantships reduced or revoked at the discretion of the Director of the First Year Writing Program and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Composition Committee.

Teaching Assistants elect one of their number to serve on the departmental Composition Committee.

The Department of English receives a very limited number of tuition-and-fee waivers from the Graduate College each semester, known as the Board of Trustees (or BoT) waivers. The waivers are issued on a semester-by-semester basis. BoT waivers are effective for only one semester, and recipients must reapply each term. There is no guarantee that a BoT will be renewed; renewal depends on a number of factors including performance and the availability of the award in the coming years.

Students should notify their primary advisor that they intend to apply for a BoT waiver.

Eligibility: Preference will be given to eligible students experiencing certain extenuating circumstances (for example: those in the English Education program who are student teaching full-time and therefore ineligible for working/lectureship at UIC, or PhD students in their final year who need to complete credits to submit their thesis and graduate.) Eligible students:

  • are doctoral candidates living locally who have not yet accumulated the required 32 hours of dissertation research, as well as outstanding MA students;
  • do not already carry an assistantship or any other type of funding; and
  • will enroll in a a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours in the fall and spring semesters or a minimum of six (6) credit hours during the summer session.

Full-time employees, including lecturers, are not eligible for this waiver.

Process to request a waiver: Students should contact the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator as soon as possible if they intend to request a BoT. Afterwards, they will need to fill out the request form on the Funding & Awards page, which asks the following basic information:

  • Term/Year requesting a BoT waiver
  • Name
  • Program (English studies, Creative Writing, English Education)
  • Status (PhD or MA, full time or part time)
  • Primary faculty advisor
  • Courses you intend to take during the BoT waiver semester (with credit hours)
  • Circumstances that necessitate a BoT waiver

Deadline: After speaking with the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator, you must submit the request form by noon (12 pm) on the Friday before the last day of instruction in the term preceding the one for which you are applying.

Covered fees & charges: BoT waivers cover the following charges:

  • full tuition, including differential, if any
  • service fee
  • health service fee
  • Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment (AFMFA)
  • Library and Information Technology Assessment (LITA)
  • $100 toward the cost of university health insurance (CampusCare) if the student is enrolled. The entire $100 is paid in the first semester that the student is enrolled in CampusCare, usually the Fall.

BOT waivers do not cover the following charges: general fee; CTA transportation fee; student-to-student fee; or the remainder of the cost of health insurance after the $100 payment.

Questions? Direct questions about the BoT waiver to the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator.

This page is intended to assist current doctoral students find the necessary funding to travel to conferences and scholarly events.

There are three travel awards for the PhD students:

(1) The LAS PhD Student Travel Award – Up to $600, supplemented by Department funds. This award is processed by the Department twice a year. You should begin by filling out the intent form by the deadline for that term. Once notified of approval by the DGS, you should then fill out the application form, get your advisor’s signature, and turn it in to the DGS Office to be signed. The DGS will pass the form on to the department’s business manager, Amy Liu, for processing.

LAS and departmental funds will only go to those presenting at a conference or visiting archives. Half of each year’s funds will be allocated to each period. The hierarchy for deciding how to allocate funds is as follows:

  1. students presenting at national conferences
  2. students presenting at regional conferences
  3. students presenting at local conferences
  4. students accepted to seminars (such as those at Cornell’s School of Criticism & Theory or Breadloaf)*
  5. students conducting archival research

To ensure equitable distribution among all grads, students may not receive the LAS PhD Student Travel Award more than two (2) times over the course of their graduate career.

(2) The Graduate Student Presenter Awards are intended to help graduate students defray costs associated with presenting research at scholarly meetings or conferences, (e.g., registration and/or travel expenses).

(3) The Graduate Student Council Travel Award. The UIC Graduate Student Council Travel Award is available to students actively participating in academic or professional meetings. To eligible applicants, the GSC gives awards of up to $275, which may be used for reimbursement of transportation, lodging, registration, and meal costs.

Students working on the dissertation who would like to pursue fellowships and grants should consult the University of Illinois’ Fellowship Finder and get in touch with the DGS.

Below is a partial list of post-doctoral fellowships. Some postdoctoral fellowships entail teaching or other duties. Each is administered separately and independent of UIC. Any questions should be directed to the administering institution.

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Submit an application if you are a researcher from abroad with above average qualifications, at the beginning of your academic career and only completed your doctorate in the last four years. A Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers allows you to carry out a long-term research project (6-24 months) you have selected yourself in cooperation with an academic host you have selected yourself at a research institution in Germany. ​

American Council of Learned Societies Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships
ACLS invites applications for the annual competition for the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships, which support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. The program encourages timely completion of the PhD. Applicants must be prepared to complete their dissertations within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than August 31, 2016. A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports this program.

Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere at UF
Founded in 2005 and launched in 2009, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida is directed by Bonnie Effros, Rothman Chair and Professor of History. The Center has three interrelated purposes:

  • to facilitate and promote the research programs of humanities scholars* at UF
  • to provide an intellectual space and a physical location within the University and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for critical and collaborative discussions of the humanities that reach across and beyond individual disciplines, and
  • to provide a place for outreach to the community in which we live and teach.

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Woodrow Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies encourages original and significant research about women that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. Previous Fellows have explored such topics as transnational religious education for Muslim women, the complex gender dynamics of voluntary marriage migration, women’s role in African-American adult literacy, women’s sports, militarism and the education of American women, and the relationship between family commitments and women’s work mobility.

Cornell University, Society for the Humanities, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships
Fellows include scholars from other universities and members of the Cornell faculty released from regular duties.  The fellowships are held for one academic year.  Each Society Fellow will receive $45,000.  Applicants living outside North America are eligible for an additional $2000 to assist with travel costs. Deadline is announced annually, usually mid-Fall term.

Council of American Overseas Research Centers
The Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Research Fellowship Program for Advanced Multi-Country Research. The program is open to U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their Ph.D. in fields in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences and wish to conduct research of regional or trans-regional significance. Deadline is usually end of January.

Dartmouth Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences
With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dartmouth is pleased to accept applications for one  postdoctoral fellowship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences for the 2011-2013 academic years. These fellowships foster the academic careers of scholars who have recently received their Ph.D. degrees, by permitting them to pursue their research while gaining mentored experience as teachers and members of the departments and/or programs in which they are housed. The program also benefits Dartmouth by complementing existing curricula with underrepresented fields. Deadline is usually October 1.

Deutscher Akademischer Austausach Dienst (DAAD)
See DAAD’s great list of research funding opportunities in Germany and Europe:

The Getty — Research Grants for Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowships
Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships provide support for emerging scholars to complete work on projects related to the Getty Research Institute’s annual theme. Recipients are in residence at the Getty Research Institute, where they pursue research to complete their dissertations or to expand them for publication. Fellows make use of the Getty collections, join in a weekly meeting devoted to the annual theme, and participate in the intellectual life of the Getty. Deadline to apply is announced annually, usually early-Fall term.

The John W. Kluge Center Fellowships, Library of Congress
The John W. Kluge Center accommodates up to two dozen post-doctoral Fellows pursuing resident research, usually for periods from six to twelve months. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural topics of a kind normally not encouraged in specialized departmental settings are welcome. Selection of a diverse group of Fellows is by various competitions. Post-doctoral Fellows have an opportunity to discuss their research with the Kluge Scholars and to explore possibilities for intellectual collaboration with other Fellows. Deadline is usually mid-July.

Princeton University, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
Postdoctoral (Cotsen) Fellows are appointed for three-year terms to pursue research and teach half-time in their academic department, in the Program in Humanistic Studies, or in other university programs.

Smithsonian Opportunity for Research and Study (SORS)
Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships

Graduate Student Fellowships — These fellowships allow students to conduct research for ten-week periods in association with Smithsonian research staff members. Applicants must be formally enrolled in a graduate program of study, must have completed at least one semester, and must not yet have been advanced to candidacy in a doctoral program.
Predoctoral Fellowships — These fellowships allow students to conduct research for periods of three to twelve months. Applicants must have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for the doctoral degree, and must be engaged in dissertation research. In addition, candidates must have the approval of their universities to conduct their doctoral research at the Smithsonian.

Postdoctoral and Senior Fellowships — Postdoctoral Fellowships of three to twelve months are available for scholars who have held the doctoral degree or equivalent for fewer than seven years as of the application deadline. Senior Fellowships of three to twelve months are available for scholars who have held the doctoral degree or equivalent for more than seven years as of the application deadline. Applications for senior fellowships may be made up to eighteen months in advance. Stipends for senior fellowships are the same as for the postdoctoral program, but the Smithsonian’s stipend may be matched by other sources of funding such as a sabbatical salary.

Wesleyan University, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship
Fellowship Program

Scholars who have received their Ph.D. degree after June 2007 in any field of inquiry in the humanities or humanistic social sciences – broadly conceived – are invited to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship, made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Wesleyan University.  The purpose of this Fellowship is to provide scholars who have recently completed their Ph.D.’s with free time to further their own work in a cross-disciplinary setting, and to associate them with a distinguished faculty.

We strive to keep this section up to date. If you notice any broken links or you think we should add another funding source, please let the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator know.