Financial Aid

PhD students are guaranteed at least five years of funding, typically including two years of duty-free fellowship support.  Admitted students should expect to receive departmental fellowships providing full tuition, fees, basic health insurance, and an annual stipend of around $28,000. In their first year, students take a full course load and are on duty-free fellowships. In years two through four, PhD students receive funding as Teaching Fellows, either as Teaching Assistants, or as instructors in the English department or the Writing Program.  In their fifth year, students receive duty-free dissertation fellowships.  Some funding is usually available in the sixth year, in the Writing Program, although such funding is never guaranteed. Fully funded PhD students only ever teach one class per semester. There are additional funds available through competitive fellowships in the English department and through the Graduate School, both short term research and travel grants ($1000-$5000) and long-term, semester-long dissertation fellowships.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available to MA students.

Students in the PhD Program in English are also eligible to compete for several prizes and fellowships offered each year:

Warren and Myrtle Ault Fellowship

The Ault Graduate Fellowship may be awarded to an outstanding graduate student of English history or literature each year; the departments of English and History make awards in alternate years. The competition is open to dissertation-level graduate students working on any area of English literature.

BUCH Fellowships

The Boston University Center for the Humanities gives various awards to dissertation-level graduate students in the humanities each spring. These awards include semester-long dissertation fellowships as well as smaller “Graduate Student Awards” ($1,000-$7,000). Departments may nominate two students for dissertation fellowships and two for smaller awards. Any student who has advanced to candidacy is eligible for a Graduate Student Award. Students are only eligible for dissertation fellowships if they will defend their dissertations by August of the academic year in which they will hold the fellowship.

Applications for both kinds of awards are due on March 1, 2020 (full details can be found here ). Qualified students must first submit their completed applications to the English Graduate Committee for review by February 1, 2020, via email to Anne Austin at These preliminary applications should consist of all the required documents for the BUCH application except the letter from the Director of Graduate Studies (which will be provided to nominated students). Please ask your First Reader to submit their letter of support separately to Anne Austin, also by February 1. For dissertation fellowship applications, this letter of support must confirm that the applicant will defend by August 2021. The English Graduate Committee will consider both the excellence of these applications and, for dissertation fellowships, the viability of the student’s timeline for completion. Nominated students will be notified by February 20.

For a list of materials required for the internal English Department review of BUCH applications, see here 

George and Helen Christopher Fellowship

The Department of English offers annually the George and Helen Christopher Fellowship to provide support to graduate students in English.

Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship

The Graduate School and BUCH offers Graduate Research Abroad Fellowships (GRAF) for advanced graduate students who need to do research abroad. Applications are accepted each semester for both long and short term projects. Long term GRAFs provide a full semester of funding for research in another country. Deadlines are in October and March (full details can be found here). The English Department can nominate up to three students per semester. For full consideration, please send your completed application materials to Anne Austin at, usually by October 15 or March 1.  Required materials for the application are described on the nomination form.

Fellowships for Summer Institutes

The English Department regularly awards fellowships to pay full tuition for PhD students to attend the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory, the Dartmouth Futures of American Studies Institute, and the Dickens Universe at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Students have to apply directly and be accepted to these programs to be eligible. Fellowships are awarded depending on the availability of department funds and at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Chair. The English department will also consider tuition fellowships to fund participation in prestigious, nationally competitive summer institutes not listed here. Applications are accepted by the DGS on a rolling basis and consist of a two-page letter explaining the rationale for the institute’s importance to advanced graduate work; a description of the program, including costs; and an email endorsement from the student’s dissertation chair.

Albert Gilman Shakespeare Prize

The Department of English offers annually the Albert Gilman Shakespeare Prize for the best essay written on Shakespeare or any other aspect of English Renaissance drama. The competition is open to all graduate students in the Department of English. The competition is announced in the spring.

David Bonnell Green Prize

The Department of English offers annually the David Bonnell Green Prize for the best essay on an aspect of English or American literature of the Romantic period; the competition is open to all graduate students in the Department of English. The competition is announced in the spring.