Admissions

Tuition & Scholarship | 3 min read

Summary
• The tuition fee could be a hurdle to transition from a bachelor's to Ph.D. program.
• If you apply for a Ph.D. program, you might have more chances to get funded than apply to a master’s program - a terminal degree, for example.
• There are two common types of scholarships for Ph.D. programs; assistantships and fellowships.


Tuition

One of the biggest hurdles when transitioning from a bachelor's to a Ph.D. might be the tuition fee. Those who apply for a master’s only would face more difficulties with limited funding. What should you do here is to set your financial plan that includes the overall tuition fee, living expenses, and incidental costs that may be incurred. Tuition fees vary across the schools and universities, for example in the U.S. range from $20,000 to $60,000: due to whether they are public universities or private universities, or due to the programs you’re applying to.

Some institutions require international students to submit a bank statement. The expenses should be equivalent to the amount that covers your tuition fees and living costs during 9 months, the academic year. You might file one of your parent’s statements of bank balance (in English) along with the Affidavit of Support form provided by the school. In case you receive the funding or scholarship from the institutions or company, you just need to submit the official financial documents with the beneficiary amount and duration as proof.

Scholarship/Funding

What matters most for prospective Ph.D. students is whether or not they get fundings. Often referred to as fully-funded, many Ph.D. students join the graduate program with it. Fully-funded students usually carry full tuition remission, a stipend, and health insurance. In return, they are serving as a Teaching or Research Assistant to a professor for a certain period of time. Ph.D. funding is generally offered by the professor so you should ask for funding availability when you contact a professor for asking Ph.D. vacancies.

Scholarship amounts vary across the schools and fields but STEM is known to provide rather generous amounts than those of Humanities or Social sciences. In case you hold a scholarship or fellowship to support your studies, you just enter the name and the award amount in the online application. If you want to apply for the scholarship/financial aids, make sure to check the deadline - it is generally a month prior to the application deadline. It is normal to send the offer letter with the admission result but some schools announce the scholarship beneficiaries after the admission decision.

Here are 2 common types of scholarships for Ph.D. programs.

(1) TA/RA (Assistantship)
This is the scholarship you may prioritize when applying for graduate programs. TA (Teaching Assistant) will be in charge of the courses for the undergraduates, the grading is the most part of the job. Whereas the RA (Research Assistant) will join in the Research project to assist the research process. In return, your tuition fees and health insurance will be done by the professor. Both the professor and department often offer assistantship to students but the source could be different.

(2) Fellowship
Fellowships are generally awarded to outstanding students and applicants. If you’re admitted to the program with fellowship support, you don’t have to work or serve as an assistant in return. All you have to do is to make academic progress while you’re financially supported. It covers not only tuition and stipend but also is a great honor for researchers to receive the fellowship. Fellowship varies due to the funding institutions with the conditions so you should search for eligible scholarships and apply for them.

How to Increase Odds to Get Funded

First off, you should apply for as many programs as possible since the programs hold a different range of fundings. Try to contact your potential advisor prior to submitting the application with the attached CV holding your research excellence. What matters here is how parallel your research objective and interests are those of the professor’, to be considered as candidates. Keep in mind that the financial aid application deadline is generally a month earlier than the graduate application. If your prospective program’s admission is processed on a rolling basis, try to apply as early as possible to increase the chances.


The Steps of Applying to Graduate Schools will be more discussed in the continued articles.

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