PhD Support

The Department provides several types of support.


Normal support:
The department guarantees all Ph.D. students six years of normal support, including a stipend, tuition, and health insurance, intended to meet basic living expenses in Ann Arbor, subject to the conditions below. Support under this guarantee may come from any source, departmental or extra-departmental.

Fellowship support:
Students entering the Ph.D. program without outside fellowship support may expect two terms of non-teaching fellowship support in their first year, and at least two terms of non-teaching fellowship support after attaining candidacy.

Summer support:
The Department seeks to offer Summer support, beyond normal support, to all students in the first three years with a plan of study approved by the Chair of Graduate Studies. Study plans should take up the bulk of the Spring/Summer terms, with a rebuttable presumption that they be undertaken at the University of Michigan. An acceptable plan of study cannot normally consist solely in the completion of outstanding incompletes. Upon attaining candidacy, students may apply for summer teaching opportunities.  

The department's restrictions governing support are as follows:

1. Teaching condition. All Ph.D. students enrolled in the program shall receive normal support for six years, provided that the student's teaching is not judged by the department to be so seriously deficient that the department could not responsibly place the student in the classroom.

Students judged to have deficient teaching may be required to carry out an improvement plan under the supervision of a teaching mentor as a condition of receiving support. Teaching support may be suspended by the end of the third year if a student's teaching has not sufficiently improved by that time. Students whose support has been terminated due to unsatisfactory teaching cannot expect to receive a Departmental recommendation to any teaching position when they go on the job market.

2. Restrictions on support in the 5th year. Students shall not receive a ninth term of support without having achieved candidacy, and shall not receive a tenth term of support without having an approved prospectus.

The department will not assign teaching or fellowship support to any student who is expected to run afoul of this regulation. In the normal course, the department assigns its available GSI and Fellowship support for Winter in the preceding November, and for Fall in the preceding April. Therefore, if a student expected to run afoul of this regulation satisfies the candidacy or prospectus requirements after these assignments are made, there is no guarantee that support will be available for the following Fall or Winter, respectively, existing support commitments notwithstanding. Students should note that the department requires one full month for the evaluation of a dossier.

3. Deferral of support. Support guarantees are issued for specific years. Students must petition the Graduate Studies Committee to defer all or part of a support guarantee.

4. The Ten Term Rule. This rule, administered by the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, limits graduate students to 10 terms of support from LSA General Funds. This includes regular term GSI appointments and some fellowships, but not summer GSI appointments, Rackham Fellowships, or support derived from Philosophy Department endowment funds. For more information, consult LSA's webpage on the Ten Term Rule. Departmental teaching support beyond the 6th year may be provided only if the Ten Term Rule does not prevent a student from receiving a GSI appointment and the department needs more graduate student instructors than can be found from those who have not exhausted their guaranteed support.