Assistantships, Fellowships, and Other Funding
We guarantee five years of funding to every student we admit and who makes satisfactory progress. We encourage students entering our program with a BA to complete their degree by the end of their fifth year, and we expect completion by the end of the sixth year. We offer teaching lectureships for a final year to those students in good standing as they finish up their doctoral program.
Every student is guaranteed a minimum of four years on a graduate assistantship. The majority of these assistantships are teaching assistantships, and there are limited research and editorial assistantships as well. All of our students serve as teaching assistants, because teaching experience is a vital dimension of the graduate experience. Regardless of type, assistantships provide cash stipends, grants-in-aid to cover tuition, as well as health insurance coverage.
Conference Travel Award
The department encourages our students to begin to present their work in workshops, seminars and conferences as often as possible. The department covers basic travel and lodging expenses for at least one conference per year.
Through the generosity of the Mark and Lucy M. Stitzer Fund and the Harriet Pencak Endowment we are able to offer grants to support research and study during the summer months to explore potential dissertation topics, acquire languages, and make preliminary visits to archives.
The McCourtney Family Graduate Scholarship and the Isabel F. Knight Graduate Enrichment Fund supports preliminary research directly related to the dissertation topic.
University and Department Dissertation Fellowships
Graduate students in our program are encouraged to apply annually for a large number of departmental, college and university scholarships. The largest number of these are targeted for the dissertation phase (research/write-up) of a graduate student’s studies. Every student admitted to our program receives a semester release from teaching duties through the College of the Liberal Arts Humanities Initiative. The college also offers a Sparks Fellowship to carry out dissertation related research. Finally, the department offers a Hill Dissertation Completion Fellowship to facilitate the final write-up phase of a student’s dissertation.
College and Department Awards
In addition, students in History are eligible to apply for fellowships and awards from other entities at Penn State, such as the College of the Liberal Arts, the Graduate School, and the Center for Humanities and Information. These fellowships offer support for summer research, writing, and travel to collections. History students have had a good record of securing this funding.
We encourage our students to apply for external funding when appropriate, and we provide guidance in grant writing. Several of our advanced students have won major external grants, including CLIR Mellon, Fulbright-Hays, and NSF.
Department Matching Funds
The department typically adds its own funds to major internal and external grants.