All joint PhD students are fully funded via a combination of fellowships and teaching or research assistantships for five years. The first year is generally funded through a departmental fellowship. Subsequent funding differs from program to program; generally support comes from two to three years of teaching and then an additional one to two years of fellowship. Women’s Studies doctoral students have been very successful in receiving internal (e.g. Rackham Predoctoral, Institute for the Humanities, Michigan Society of Fellows, Barbour, etc.) and external (Ford, NSF, AAUW, etc.) fellowships. Summer funding opportunities vary from program to program. Women’s Studies doctoral students have been successful in finding funding through the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG), Women’s Studies Summer Funding Opportunities, Sweetland Dissertation Writing Institute, etc. We work with each student to identify summer funding sources.
At the time of application to the program, no separate application for financial aid is required. All admitted students will receive a full funding package that is explained in detail in their admissions letter. Once a student has matriculated, some competitive fellowships may require separate applications as described below. Please note that this list is not an exhaustive list.
Women’s Studies Funding
Women’s Studies Summer Funding
When funds are available, joint PhD students are invited to apply for summer funds to cover living and/or research and travel expenses. Amounts vary from year to year and funding is not guaranteed.
WS deadline: early March
Dorothy McGuigan Graduate Prize (awarded by the DPC)
For the best essay written by a graduate student on an interdisciplinary Women’s Studies topic. Includes an award of approximately $500.
WS deadline: mid February
Women’s Studies Travel and Research Grants and Job Search Expense Coverage
The WS Department is able to offer graduate students in the joint PhD programs a grant each year for travel to conferences, to research collections, or for other research expenses. Joint PhD students can also receive some reimbursement funds to cover job search expenses. These funds may be used for postage, business cards, overnight mail, graduate letter service costs, etc.
Rackham Awards through Women’s Studies
The following funds are provided by Rackham and awarded by the Women’s Studies Department. They are distributed on a competitive basis and decided by the Doctoral Programs Committee (DPC). Additional funding opportunities may be found on the Rackham website.
Humanities Research: Candidacy Fellowship and Humanities Dissertation Fellowship
For students in the humanities and humanities-related social sciences to decrease time towards degree.
One-term Dissertation Fellowships
Women’s Studies receives a total of 4 awards every year.
To speed the process of completing the dissertation and to fund the defense term.
Awarded at the writing stage of the dissertation. Students must have filed a dissertation committee with Rackham. Support includes stipend for the term, tuition and fees, and GradCare.
WS deadline: early March
Awards Administered by Rackham
Each unit is invited to nominate candidates for the following awards. Students submit applications to the DPC, which will decide on the final nominee(s). Joint PhD students are encouraged to seek nomination via the Women’s Studies Department, but may also seek nominations via their department. For all Rackham awards, please view the Rackham website here.
Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship
For outstanding students who will complete the dissertation in the year in which they hold the fellowship and who will complete the doctorate within six years of beginning their program. Fellowship includes a stipend, tuition and fees, and GradCare for 3 terms.
Rackham deadline: mid January; WS deadline: end of November
International Student Fellowship
For students who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents in their second or third term of study. Fellowship includes a stipend.
Rackham deadline: mid October; WS deadline: late September
Outstanding GSI Award
For students who have demonstrated exceptional ability and creativity as teachers; continuous growth as teachers; service as outstanding mentors and advisors to students and colleagues; growth as scholars. Students must have served as a GSI for at least two terms. Past value of the award was $1,000.
Rackham deadline: mid March; WS deadline: early November
For women who are citizens of countries in what was once the “Orient” (Eastern countries in the region extending from Turkey on the west to Japan and the Philippines on the East). Students must not be a permanent resident or citizen of the US; must not be married to a permanent resident or citizen of the US; must intend to return to their native country upon receipt of degree and devote themselves to a professional career. Must have completed two full terms of graduate work at U-M. Scholarship includes a stipend for Fall and Winter, tuition and fees, and GradCare.
Rackham deadline: early January; WS deadline: early December
Susan Lipschutz, Margaret Ayers Host and Anna Olcott Smith Awards
For women graduate students pursuing a doctoral degree in any Rackham program who have achieved candidacy and have demonstrated particular commitment to their community and the university. Stipend amount varies.
Rackham deadline: late January; WS deadline: early December
Institute for Research on Women and Gender
The following awards are sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG). Students apply directly to IRWG.
Research Award Program
Graduate student funding program for research, scholarship and creative activities focusing on women and gender. Up to $500.
Community of Scholars
For graduate students planning or conducting research, scholarship, and creative activities focusing on women and gender. Each awardee participates in a weekly seminar during May and June and offers a public presentation of their work during the following academic year. Fellowships are for 4 months (summer). The 4-month fellowship includes a stipend of $1600 per month May–Aug and GradCare if student has no other coverage.
Boyd/Williams Sisters Fund
A dissertation grant award for research on women and work that promotes knowledge and enhances understanding of the complexities of women’s roles in relation to their paid and unpaid work. One grant of $1500.
Deadline: early June
Awards from Other Units Through Women’s Studies
Mary Malcomson Raphael Fellowship
For women graduate students in the humanities or social sciences who have completed at least two terms at the U-M. Students must demonstrate academic excellence and capacity for intellectual growth; clarity of scholarly and professional goals; potential to make a contribution of exceptional usefulness to society. Application includes a financial need statement. Stipend is dependent on student-generated budget.
CEW deadline: early February; WS deadline: late November
Sweetland Dissertation Writing Institute
For students stalled in completing the dissertation. For Spring term: 6 hours a day for 8 weeks, stipend of $3,000.
Deadline: early March
Awards from Other Units
Barbara A. Oleshansky Award
(available only to Psychology students)
To assist outstanding women graduate students who demonstrate financial need. Two research awards of $500. Students apply directly to the Psychology Department.
Psychology deadline: mid October
Institute for the Humanities
The Institute for the Humanities promotes interdisciplinary research and discussion in the humanities and the arts. Graduate student fellows are in residence for 10 months and attend a weekly two-hour Fellows seminar. Students must have achieved candidacy. They must demonstrate interest in interdisciplinary work in terms of the breadth of their academic experience and the dissertation project. The dissertation project must include humanities content. Former or current holders of the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship are not eligible. Fellowship includes a stipend for 10 months beginning either July or September, tuition for two terms, and GradCare.
Deadline: early January
Sweetland Writing Center
The Sweetland Writing Center provides a seminar to bring together faculty and experienced GSIs committed to the integration of writing into their courses.
Fall: seminar; Winter: teach Eng 125
Deadline: early February
The purpose of these guidelines is to distribute teaching opportunities fairly while meeting the specific teaching needs of the department. If you have further questions or concerns, please direct them to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (who oversees GSI hiring) or the Director of Graduate Studies (who is responsible for graduate student funding). Final decisions will be made jointly by the two directors.
Generally, all joint PhD students are guaranteed two terms of teaching in their disciplinary department (usually in the second year) and two terms of teaching as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in Women’s Studies (usually in the third year). Students may apply for additional terms of teaching in both their disciplinary department and Women’s Studies. Joint PhD students most often teach in their disciplinary department for a year before applying to teach in Women’s Studies. Priority for GSI positions will be given to students in their third year. Terms of employment are subject to successful progress per the terms of the GEO contract.
Even if you have been guaranteed teaching in Women’s Studies, you must go through the application process, and you may be required to interview for a GSI position.
Consult email announcements and/or website in early February for available teaching positions for Fall term. Winter term teaching positions will be posted in October .
• Application materials available early February and early October.
• Fall term applications due early March; Winter term applications due in October
• Applicants notified by mid-April or mid-November
Notes on the GSI Positions in Women’s Studies
The majority of GSI fractions in Women’s Studies are a .5, offering full tuition, health insurance and stipend.
Your letter of admission may guarantee you two terms of teaching in WS, but we cannot promise you either an assignment to a particular course or when you will be offered the opportunity to teach. It may not be possible to offer everyone two terms in the same year or in the same course.
WS students usually teach in their disciplinary department their second year and then become eligible to teach in Women’s Studies their third year. Women’s Studies tries to accommodate all teaching requests from joint PhD students for their third year in the program, but this may not always be possible.
Students may serve as GSIs in the following courses: WS 212 The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, WS 220 Women and Health; WS 240 Introduction to Women's Studies; WS 245 Introduction to LGBTQ Studies; WS 270 Gender and the Law; WS 300 Men’s Health; WS 400 Women's Reproductive Health. Additional GSI opportunities may arise from term to term.
In order to provide teaching experience to as many students as possible, no student may teach the same course for more than six terms.
Most GSI positions involve leading discussion sections in a large, faculty-taught lecture class. In some courses, you may be invited to give a lecture. Instructors for WS 220 typically prefer students as GSIs who can commit for both fall and winter terms. Teaching WS 240, in addition to leading discussion sections, involves collaborating with the instructor and the other GSIs on the syllabus over the summer or the previous term and delivering up to two lectures during the term. Students will be offered positions in WS 240 according to the following criteria:
• Women’s Studies joint PhD students have priority over all other applicants.
• Eligibility: In most cases, students with prior teaching experience who have not yet taught for two semesters in Women’s Studies have priority over those with no teaching experience or who have already taught for two semesters in Women’s Studies.
• In most cases, priority will be given to students in their third year.
• Need for diversity: We try to form a team made up of people from different disciplines and who represent diversity in race, ethnicity, sexuality, and nationality.
• Faculty teaching Women’s Studies courses other than 240 sometimes have to consider expertise that WS students may not have. Thus, joint PhD students are not always given priority over other applicants in these courses. However, faculty are directed to give priority to joint PhD students when they do have the necessary qualifications for the position.
All students teaching for the first time are required to take a CRLT GSI training course and are required to attend a Women’s Studies teaching development workshop.