The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a comprehensive program of financial support, including grants and fellowships from internal and external sources, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic employment opportunities.

For PhD students, Harvard awards full financial support for five years, typically for the first four years of study as well as the completion year. Ordinarily, in cases where the length of PhD study extends beyond five years, students secure financial support through various Harvard and non-Harvard opportunities, including research fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships.

Financial Aid

All incoming students receive a merit-based award, regardless of need. This includes a fellowship for tuition and health fees, as well as a stipend for living expenses, for up to five years. Unlike at many other institutions, students at Harvard have no teaching responsibilities during the first two years of graduate study. In addition, Harvard’s standard funding package includes Summer Research Awards for the first four years.

Teaching Fellowships

Teaching Fellows assist in courses under the supervision of course heads, who hold formal teaching appointments. Duties may include teaching sections, conducting tutorials, recommending grades, supervising independent study projects, and monitoring students’ progress toward their degrees.

To qualify for stipends during their third and fourth years of graduate study, graduate students in Sociology ordinarily need to offer two sections of a standard lecture course each semester (a section is a once-weekly meeting of, ordinarily, fewer than twenty undergraduate students).

Research Assistantships

Over the course of their PhD studies at Harvard, many graduate students in Sociology work as Research Assistants. Such assistantships often carry financial support and are arranged with individual faculty.

External Funding

While the standard funding package is guaranteed, we encourage students to apply for external funding from various sources. Students in the Sociology PhD program have been awarded fellowships from many organizations, including:

The GSAS Fellowships Office provides a range of services to assist graduate students in their search for fellowship funding, including individual counseling and professional development seminars. Additional information about possible fellowships can be found in the CARAT database (, formerly the Graduate Guide to Grants.

Pro tip:
Extremely restrictive searches don't yield many useful results and often erroneously exclude relevant opportunities. We recommend that you play around with different search terms, and provide the following suggested "Academic Stages" search parameters to help you get started:
  • Graduate student
  • Doctoral candidates at early stage, supporting course work and/or preliminary dissertation research
  • Doctoral candidates at dissertation research stage
  • Doctoral candidates at dissertation write-up stage; and
  • Stage (not specified; may include master's candidates)

Harvard GSAS also lists opportunities broken down by these fellowship categories:

For a comprehensive search for outside support, you can search Pivot (formerly Community of Science) at; read the FAS Research Guide to Pivot for instructions.

These universities have their own funding databases:

Departmental Travel Grants

The Department of Sociology has limited funding available to graduate students in the department who will be presenting their research at an academic conference. Students are eligible to receive up to $400 per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) in travel grants. These awards are intended to defray the costs of graduate student conference travel; they are not reimbursements for all expenses related to such trips. Additional information about these grants, including information on how to apply, can be found on our Graduate Student Travel Funding.