Sources of graduate funding at Penn State include the Graduate School, academic departments, student financial aid and external agencies. Most doctoral students at the Hershey campus are granted admission and provided support by their graduate program. There are services available at The Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration to assist continuing graduate students to locate and apply for fellowships from external agencies.
Graduate research assistantships are provided for qualified students. Assistantships include stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidy for medical insurance. Fall and spring assistantship and summer support is $26,196 during the 2015-16 academic year. At the Hershey campus most assistantships are half-time and require the student to register for 9-12 credits.
This level of support is sufficient to allow students to devote full-time effort to graduate studies and research. A graduate assistant may not accept concurrent employment inside or outside the University without permission from the Department Head and the Graduate Academic Program Chairperson.
Fellowships and Traineeships
Recipients must be superior students and meet University criteria in order to be considered eligible for an award. Fellows and trainees are required to carry at least 9 credits of course work each semester or the equivalent in research, receive stipends that vary with the awards, and usually receive grants-in-aid of tuition. They may not accept employment during the period of their appointments (except with special permission for training purposes). In some cases, a recipient will be expected to engage in research in a broad field specified by the individual Fellowship or Traineeship. There is no sharp distinction between a fellowship and a traineeship. Scholarly excellence is always a major consideration and usually the most important criterion in selecting fellowship recipients. Other considerations, in addition to scholarly excellence, may be taken into account in awarding traineeships.
The Graduate School Funding Programs
The Graduate School recognizes excellence in graduate education through a variety of award programs for students and faculty with funding derived from institutional resources as well as gifts from donors. Some awards are selected centrally from nominations and applications that are submitted to the Graduate School (though most require support from academic programs) and others are offered by way of funding allocations to colleges in order to support recruitment and retention of high-achieving students.
College of Medicine Fellowship Incentive Program
Doctoral students at the College of Medicine who submit and receive an externally funded fellowship are eligible for a College of Medicine Fellowship Incentive in the amount of 5% of the fellowship stipend