Scholarships for doctoral students are available, although they’re more scarce than those available to students seeking their first undergraduate degree. In many cases, doctoral students instead rely on assistantships or fellowships provided by their individual university, but this doesn’t mean that you should abandon hope of receiving financial aid from other sources.
Some of these options will be available only to students seeking a doctoral degree in specific career fields, while others may require you to write a lengthy essay to qualify. Major corporations also offer help in certain cases, although they may require you to work with them for a specified number of years in order to recoup their investment. In the latter case, you may be able to have up to 100 percent of your investment covered.
Where to Find Doctoral Scholarships
While doctoral scholarships may prove more elusive than their undergraduate counterparts, there are options available. When you’re ready to obtain your PhD, keep these possibilities in mind:
Your University – The college of your choice may offer grant and fellowships to help defray tuition costs, and they’ll sometimes offer discounts on the cost of post-graduate degrees. This isn’t always a given, though, so be sure and check with your school’s financial aid office to be certain.Research Fellowships – For those career paths in which research is highly prized, research fellowships may help you complete your education. If you’re studying math, science, engineering, or technology, then be sure to check into the availability of fellowships.
Scholarships from Professional Organizations – Belonging to a professional organization has numerous benefits. In addition to making lifelong contacts, it may also lead to scholarship opportunities. When you’re ready to pursue your doctorate degree, check with any organizations you belong to and see if they provide scholarships.
Career Scholarships – You may be able to find scholarships tied to a certain field. This is especially true for those going into teaching or nursing. If you’re studying a field that’s in high demand, your chances will be much better of getting some manner of financial assistance.
Scholarships for Doctoral Students
Now that we’ve covered the general sources of doctoral scholarships, let’s look at some specific examples:
North American Interfraternal Foundation – This organization is dedicated to advancing college fraternities and sororities through promoting qualities such as leadership and education. To this end, they award a number of scholarships to those who’ve participated in Greek life during their college career. If you need a scholarship for doctoral studies, you may wish to pursue one of the following:
Jack Anson Fellowship – Each year, up to two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to current or former staff members of a national social sorority or fraternity. You must currently be involved in graduate study or have applied, and your fraternity must be a member of the NIC, NPC, PFA, or NPHC. Applicants must also be studying college administration, student personnel, or must be planning on working with the professional staff of their sorority or fraternity.
Finally, the applicant will need to submit the following: completed application, letter of acceptance to a graduate or professional school, official transcript, and letters from recommendation from fraternity members (including undergraduate or alumni officer, member of national governing board, and executive director of applicant’s fraternity or sorority).
Lloyd G. Balfour Fellowships – Each year, 10 scholarships are awarded in honor of Lloyd G. Balfour of Sigma Chi. The amounts range from $1,000 to $2,000 and are awarded based on community involvement, campus leadership, and strong academic achievement (at least a 3.7 GPA). To qualify, you must be a full-time graduate student who’s also a member of a sorority or fraternity belonging to either the NPC, NIC, PFA, or NPHC. An application for the scholarship must be filled out and submitted along with an official college transcript and acceptance letter from a university or professional school.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund – This organization is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to Hispanic students throughout the United States. They have a wide range of financial aid options available, although most of them are for undergraduate students. Still, those seeking scholarships for doctoral students have one options available.
HSF/CVS Caremark Scholarship – A $5,000 scholarship awarded to a Hispanic student pursuing a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. It’s open to students in their first or second year of a professional pharmacy program, and it may also lead to a paid internship. In addition to being Hispanic, the candidate must also meet the following qualifications: Must be enrolled as a full-time student in a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree program, must plan to apply for federal financial aid, must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Preference will be given to students who speak fluent Spanish (as well as English).
Fulbright Program Scholarship – Around 8,000 Fulbright grants are awarded each year, a tradition that started in 1946. The main emphasis is on studying abroad, allowing students to learn about other cultures and gain an appreciation for the global community. Benefits of a Fulbright scholarship include full or partial tuition, a monthly stipend, transportation to and from the host country, and coverage in case of sickness or accident.
Fifteen types of grants are awarded in categories ranging from scholar and teacher to student and professional. Winners are selected according to merit, so students from smaller schools have just as good a chance of winning as applicants from Ivy League colleges.
Scholarships for doctoral students are harder to find than most, but those that do exist can help chip away at the high cost of obtaining a PhD. If you’ve already obtained your undergraduate and master’s degrees, then you owe it to yourself to take that final step in the educational process. Not only will your earning potential be greatly increased, but you’ll also be able to insist that everyone refer to you by the title of “doctor.”
by Shane Rivers