Graduate Student Handbook

Financial Support Opportunities & Policies

MacCracken Fellowships. Admitted Ph.D. students typically receive a 5-year package of full academic-year (September through May) support known as a MacCracken fellowship - after Henry M. MacCracken, the founding dean of the Graduate School. This package includes a base stipend award plus tuition remission and comprehensive health insurance. For the remaining three months, students may be supported from other University-sponsored sources (see Summer Funding Possibilities). MacCracken fellowship comes with a five-semester teaching obligation. The department expects that students will fulfill their teaching obligations by TAing once per year. This obligation may be reduced by obtaining RA support or an external fellowship (see below).

Note: Students receiving MacCracken support who were admitted into GSAS for terms earlier than Fall 2000 are governed by different support policies than stated above and should see the Academic Affairs Coordinator (Sergej Zoubok) if they have any questions about their support.

Research Assistantships (RA's). Some students may be supported as research assistants on faculty-obtained grants. While some RA supports may cover the entire twelve-month year, they, like the MacCrackens, more typically only cover the nine-month academic year. Support for the three summer months is either supplied by a separate RA contract or is sought from the department (see Summer Funding Possibilities below). RA support may also affect a student's teaching obligation. A student's maximum teaching obligation of five semesters is reduced by one semester for every full year of RA support they receive, to a minimum of two semesters.

Self-obtained Fellowships and Scholarships. A number of government and private agencies (e.g. NIH, NSF), offer student fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis to those who apply for them and meet the guidelines for the awards (which may, for example, be made on the basis of academic merit and/or excellence of a research proposal). Obtaining one of these awards not only enables the student to be more independent in pursuit of career goals within graduate school but is very persuasive in credentializing the search for desired positions afterwards. Therefore, the Department and the Program requires its students to make such applications where feasible and will offer its services towards those ends. In the event that the amount of the support for an academic year should fall somewhat short of what the MacCracken funds supply, the support will be supplemented up to the MacCracken level. In addition, each year of external support reduces the student's teaching obligation by one semester, to a minimum of two semesters. (For directions as to how to proceed in the application process, consult your advisors or sponsor, the Program Coordinator, or the Department's Director of Graduate Studies, as well as the Academic Affairs Coordinator.) Also, the Dean's Office at 6 Washington Square North maintains a file of agencies offering student fellowships and scholarships, their guidelines for applications, and a timetable of application deadlines as does the Office of Sponsored Programs (15 Washington Place, #1-H, x82121) and GSAS Student Affairs (1/2 Fifth Avenue, x88060). Note, it has been a policy that first-year students apply for a special grant only available to them from NSF (The National Science Foundation). For information the department has gathered on this and other funding sources, click here.

Summer Funding Possibilities

  • Summer Research Fellowships: Descriptions of these fellowships, their current amounts and the instructions for how to apply for them on a competitive basis are posted in the early spring by the Academic Affairs Office. Students have some summer fellowship support guaranteed in their offer of admission. Please note that any student receiving a 12-month external award (e.g. NSF, APA, etc.) or other summer support may have their summer fellowship adjusted.
  • Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Each summer there are two 6-week terms in which a number of undergraduate courses in psychology are offered. For many of these, TAs and half-TAs are assigned to help the course instructors. The TAs are paid for their services at levels determined each summer by the Faculty of Arts and Science. In the early spring, the Academic Affairs Coordinator will invite applications for these TA-ships on a competitive basis.
  • Summer Teaching Practica. As part of the department's commitment to train its graduate students in teaching as well as research skills, it provides its more qualified students the opportunities in the summer to teach (not TA) an undergraduate course on their own (but under expert supervision). Most of the summer undergraduate courses in psychology are taught in this way. In the early spring, graduate students are invited to apply (competitively) for the Teaching Practicum course openings that will be available in the summer and informed of the application requirements.