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50 Best Scholarships for Ph.D. Students

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Updated: May 30, 2024, Reading time: 27 minutes

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“First, you get your bachelor’s degree, and you think you know everything.
Then, you get your master’s degree, and you realize you don’t know anything.
Then you get your doctorate, and you find out that nobody knows anything.”

While we can’t find information on who said these words, we can’t help but laugh! You, a student pursuing your doctoral degree, may even laugh at it because there’s a grain of truth to it. Your doctoral dissertation, after all, will likely be about creating new knowledge or building on old knowledge because “nobody knows anything” in a manner of speaking. 

But why are you pursuing a doctoral degree when your master’s degree will suffice for most jobs? There are even people who believe that it’s a waste of time and money for many reasons. Some people push for it because of the numerous benefits that it brings.

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So, which one’s a better perspective? A doctoral degree is about contributing to the existing body of knowledge through original research. It is considered an introduction to independent research in your chosen field, with your doctoral dissertation as the first of many intellectual masterpieces.

Let’s first take a look at the unfavorable view because there’s also some merit to it. For one thing, there’s the cost of doctoral education that, in U.S. universities, the average is $133,340. In Ivy League universities, the cost can be higher – at Harvard University, for example, the full tuition needed for the first two years of study is $54,032, exclusive of health insurance, housing, books and supplies, and food expenses.

Yes, indeed, it isn’t cheap to get a doctoral degree in the United States, not even in one of the lesser-known universities!

In addition, there’s a sense of dissatisfaction among doctoral students. You may feel, at one point, that you’re doing slave labor, no thanks to the 10-hour workdays and low pay during your research.

Your employment prospects may also seem uncertain, considering the competition due to the oversupply of Ph.D. holders. The number of Ph.D. holders exceeds the number of employment opportunities for them, too! Such a disconnection partly stems from the high degree of specialization required to get a doctoral degree, not to mention that Ph.D. holders have high employment expectations.

Still, the number of doctoral degree holders in the U.S. has more than doubled between 2000 and 2018! In 2000, there were 2 million Ph.D. holders, and by 2018, there were already 4.5 million. Why do people pursue doctoral degrees despite the myriad of challenges that come with them?

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Here’s why.

Are you still worried about the financial expenses of getting a Ph.D. in your field? We completely understand that $ 50,000 plus per year plus the difficulties of juggling work, studies, and family responsibilities will break a person. But you can achieve your doctoral degree through scholarships and grants!

This isn’t a new concept either, as millions of Ph.D. holders have also achieved such a lofty goal. Many of them have been scholars and fellows for most, if not all, of their studies – and it’s a path you can take, too, with plenty of planning and networking.

You have dozens, if not hundreds, of scholarship and fellowship opportunities in your field of study, not to mention the ones offered without restrictions as to the field of study. The trick here is to diligently look for these opportunities, applying to as many as you are qualified for, and complying with the requirements.

You may have to apply every semester or academic year for a new scholarship or fellowship, but it’s worth the time and effort. You could be lucky and be one whose studies were financed through scholarships and grants from year one, although luck has little to do with it because you spent time looking and qualifying for the scholarships you deserve!

Here, we present you with 50 of the Best Scholarships and Fellowships for Doctoral Students that we think are worthy of your consideration.

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IBRO Travel Grants

IBRO Travel Grants support PhD students and early-career post-doctoral neuroscientists by covering travel and local expenses for conferences. Preference is given to under-resourced, less well-funded countries. Nevertheless, students studying and residing in the United States can still apply for the grant. 

ScholarshipOwl No Essay Scholarship

The ScholarshipOwl No Essay Scholarship is available to all types of students, including PhDs. Applicants can win multiple awards with a $50,000 scholarship, with four monthly winners earning $1,000 each and two additional winners in December 2024. Applicants must be residents of any 50 United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories, except for Rhode Island and Michigan.

Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award

AIChE is the leading global organization for chemical engineering professionals. It boasts over 60,000 members from 110 countries and administers over 60 awards, including monetary prizes, certificates, and medals. The $200 award may seem small, but the benefits extend far beyond its monetary value.

This award honors outstanding graduate scholars in separations, recognizing their contributions to fundamentals and applications and awarding a plaque. Recipients gain recognition within the field, enhancing their professional credibility and giving them access to new opportunities. 

“Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship

Bold.org offers a $25,000 “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship to students with the boldest profiles. The scholarship is based on the characteristics of being earnest, determined, and moving. It is similar to many easy scholarships available on Bold.org and will be awarded to students who apply earlier. The scholarship is open to students at any education level, state, field of study, and GPA.

Valuing Diversity PhD Scholarship

The Valuing Diversity PhD scholarship program was made to encourage underrepresented populations to attend marketing doctoral programs. The amount given to applicants depends on the program’s funding and the number of recipients. If you’ve applied for this scholarship opportunity before, you can still reapply. 

Applicants should be enrolled in and have completed at least one year of an on-campus AACSB-accredited marketing or advertising doctoral program. Two signed letters of recommendation are required.

Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

The Valuing Diversity PhD scholarship program was made to encourage underrepresented populations to attend marketing doctoral programs. The amount given to applicants depends on the program’s funding and the number of recipients. If you’ve applied for this scholarship opportunity before, you can still reapply. 

Applicants must be on-campus enrollees of an AACSB-accredited marketing or advertising doctorate and have completed at least one year. Two signed letters of recommendation are required.

Independent Research Awards (pediatric cardiology)

The Children’s Heart Foundation funds research affecting patients with congenital heart disease. This award is given to doctoral students in clinical cardiology, translational research, and population science. It gives priority to researchers focusing on advancing the diagnosing, treating, and preventing congenital heart defects.

ASH Graduate Student Scholarships

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation offers Graduate Student Scholarships for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students in communication sciences and disorders. These scholarships include International Student Scholarships, Minority Student Scholarships, and NSSLHA Scholarships for racial or ethnic minority students.

Applicants must be accepted in U.S. graduate communication sciences and disorders programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation. They must be full-time students for the entire academic year.

Graduate Fellowship in the History of Science

The American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship in the History of Science supports students completing dissertations on atmospheric, oceanic, or hydrologic sciences. This fellowship aims to foster close working relations and provide a $20,000 stipend for one year. Applicants must submit a cover letter, transcripts, a detailed dissertation topic description, and three letters of recommendation.

Sheep Heritage Foundation Memorial Scholarship

Although less known, the sheep industry is a big contributor to the country’s economy. The Sheep Heritage Foundation Memorial Scholarship, administered by the American Sheep Industry Association, is a large program for students pursuing sheep-related studies. This Fund is given out yearly to those dedicated to helping advance the U.S. sheep industry, wool, and lamb.

Applicants must have U.S. citizenship, involvement in sheep and wool research, and be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. institution.

John Santos Distinguished Program Development in Clinical Gerontology Award

John Santos, a retired Retirement Research Fund board member, established an award in 2009 to honor the contributions of psychologists and students working with older adults. Candidates must be nominated and endorsed by a division member, providing a letter of nomination, CV, evidence of impact, and two additional letters of support.

Kay F. Fullwood Northeast Florida Geriatric Nursing Scholarship Fund

The scholarship is open to nursing students in Northeast Florida enrolled in an accredited graduate program focusing on geriatrics and practicing geriatric N.P.s in an accredited DNP program. 

Henry and Sylvia Richardson Research Grant

The grant, established by Henry and Sylvia Richardson, offers research funds to post-doctoral ESA members with at least one year of experience in insect control. The recipient must be an ESA member and a highly skilled scholar working with insect control methods like attractants, repellents, biological controls, thermocontrols, or chemical controls.

F.J. McGuigan Dissertation Award

The F. J. McGuigan Dissertation Award supports research on mental function and understanding the mind from behavioral and neural perspectives. The award is open to any area of behavioral or brain science. Applicants must meet specific criteria: quality, viability, originality, competence, and resource allocation. Candidates must have finished their PhD candidacy and received committee approval for their dissertation.

Aylesworth Scholarship 

The Aylesworth Scholarship offers support to students enrolled in universities across Florida. Eligible applicants can pursue research in any academic field that pertains to marine sciences, provided their institution participates in the Florida Sea Grant program. 

To qualify, candidates must be U.S. residents, actively seeking a doctoral degree, and studying disciplines such as ocean science, biology, engineering, economics, marine science, or food science. Additionally, applicants must be full-time students attending a Florida-based institution and demonstrate financial need to be considered for this scholarship.

Niche $25,000 “No Essay” Scholarship 

This is one of the most inclusive scholarships, open to U.S. students with U.S. citizenship or a valid Visa/U.S. passport. However, because recipients are picked through a random draw, those affiliating with Niche cannot apply. This includes employees, officers, directors, and their children, grandchildren, or those affiliated with Niche’s other partnering organizations. 

This scholarship is also only applicable to students planning to study in one of Niche’s listed colleges.

Wayne F. Placek Grants

The Wayne F. Placek Grant, which has been awarded over $1 million since 1995, aims to enhance public understanding of homosexuality and sexual orientation. It helps fund research and initiatives for doctoral students that focus on alleviating stress experienced by the LGBTQ community. This includes addressing prejudice, discrimination, and underrepresentation in scientific research.

APF welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds, including doctoral-level researchers and graduate students, and encourages early career researchers and graduate students.

CVS Health / AACP Community Pharmacy Health Equity Award for Student Pharmacists

This award is given to 21 students annually who demonstrate high academic performance and those who overcome financial barriers. Underrepresented minority, disabled, and military service students are encouraged to apply. The award recognizes leadership, academic success, and commitment to patient care in underserved communities.

The Springfield Research Fund Dissertation Fellowship

Springfield Research Fund Dissertation Fellowship offers graduate students the opportunity to research contemporary LGBTQIA+ issues, aiming to dispel stereotypes and negative information contributing to prejudice and discrimination. Intersectional stigmas will be prioritized in 2024. It offers a $10,000 fund for each recipient, with a $1,000 bonus upon publication. 

Applicants must have begun their doctoral studies in a regionally accredited university. They must submit a dissertation abstract, statement of need, and CV.

ONS Foundation Josh Gottheil Memorial Stem Cell Transplant Development Award

Josh’s Fund, established in 1994, awards educational grants to oncology nurses to support their professional development. It also establishes endowments for emotional and mental support. 

Among ONF’s several awards is the Josh Gottheil Memorial Stem Cell Transplant Development. It aims to offer financial assistance to non-advanced practice-level registered nurses in stem cell transplantation and bone marrow. Applicants must have one or more years in practice.

Dr. James T. Mellonig Regeneration Research Award

The Dr. James T. Mellonig Regeneration Research Award is given annually to periodontology residents who are advancing clinical therapies in periodontal regeneration. U.S. students in their second and third years of periodontal residency are eligible for this award. Applicants must also have completed original research and published a manuscript advancing periodontal regeneration clinical therapies.

The Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarships

The Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarships program is open to full-time Ph.D. students involved in peace and conflict prevention or resolution, disease prevention and treatment, and water and sanitation. Applications can be made via a local Rotary Club chapter, and the chapter must sponsor non-Rotarians applying for the scholarship. The chapter creates the applicants’ initial application, and the latter then completes the online scholar profile.

The amount can be used for various costs, including passport/visa, travel expenses, tuition and other fees, vaccinations, school supplies, room and board, and household supplies. Application is year-round. However, scholarship applications for August, September, or October studies must be submitted by 30 June.  

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Marketing Research Grant

Offered by the Harold & Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation, Inc., this Marketing Research Grant is applicable to students enrolled in an AACSB-accredited program. It gives priority to applicants who are focused on scientific research and knowledge production in business administration. 

Marian R. Stuart Grant

The APF Marian R. Stuart Grant offers up to 20,000 USD to early-career researchers researching mental and physical health. While APF welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds, preference is given to psychologists in medical schools.

MNF Ph.D. Research Grants

The Mississippi Nurses Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises, accepts, and distributes charitable donations to enhance Mississippi’s professional nursing and overall health. Among its scholarships is the MNF Ph.D. Research Grants, which aim to help nursing professionals complete their original research. Applicants must be in good standing in a PhD Nursing program in Mississippi, a Mississippi resident, and a Mississippi Nurses Association member.

Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk Veteran Scholarship

The Harold and Muriel Berkman Charitable Foundation has established a scholarship in honor of Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, renowned for his World War II and Vietnam War achievements. This scholarship program accepts applicants from online and on-campus AACSB-accredited degree programs. It is awarded to an exceptional veteran applicant, chosen by the review committee from the finalists.

Carole Bailey Scholarship

The Carole Bailey Scholarship is offered by the AccessLex Institute, an organization focused on promoting quality legal education for purpose-driven students. This scholarship program, awarded annually to ABA-accredited law students, provides up to $5,000 for those committed to public service in a legal career.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Fellowships 

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is a leading institution preserving and studying East European Jewry’s history and culture. The institute offers several fellowship programs to encourage more students to pursue research in the field and contribute to YIVO’s archives and library collections.

$5,000 awards: 

$3,000 awards: 

Every fellow is also required to deliver a public lecture regarding their research. The research period should be between 2 and 3 months only. Interested applicants should submit a written summary of their respective research on acceptable topics.

YIVO – Fellowship in East European Jewish Studies

The combined Professor Bernard Choseed Memorial Fellowship and the Natalie and Mendel Racolin Memorial Fellowship come with many benefits. Aside from the financial stipend, three months of free access to the YIVO Library and Archives are also offered for research. They, on the other hand, will be required to deliver at least two public lectures on Jewish studies.

Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. (NEF)

NEF offers several scholarship opportunities for doctoral students in the field of nursing, many of which are the result of endowments by notable nursing practitioners who want to support the continued education of professional nurses. 

American Cancer Society Post-doctoral Fellowships

ACS, the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit organization funding scientists and doctorates studying cancer, offers grants and fellowships managed by the Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team. The Post-doctoral Fellowships are designed to help new investigators in research training programs, preparing them for independent careers in cancer research. Program funding includes

The application is open to U.S. citizens or non-citizens with an appropriate visa and within four years of obtaining a doctoral degree.

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NCTM & AMTE Early Career Research Grant

Granted in partnership with Eugene P. & Clara M. Smith Mathematics Education Research Fund, the Early Career Research Grant accepts applications from doctoral candidates pursuing math education degrees. The grant must be used in supporting their doctoral research project, preferably projects that bridge research and practice. 

Note that early career math educators or those who have completed either an EdD or PhD in math education or other related fields within the past five years are eligible to apply. Doctoral students will only be considered if they have advanced to candidacy status in accredited programs. 

Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies Faculty Fellowship

The American Indian Studies Faculty Fellowship is intended for scholars in the early stages of their careers who are involved in American Indian studies, specifically research in the Newberry Consortium collections. Doctoral students are welcome to apply. The monthly stipend can be used for a wide range of education-related expenses, too.

Fellows receive the NCAIS research carrel and other fellowship privileges, as well as perform responsibilities related to their research. These include research presentations, seminar participation, and consultation with other NCAIS Graduate Student Fellows.

AIA Fellowship for Study in the U.S.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) offers post-doctoral research fellowships for archaeologists working at Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) or its project collaborators. The fellowships are for either fall 2024 or spring 2025 in selected universities, including the University of Cincinnati, the Joukowsky Institute at Brown University, or the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Fellows are provided with financial support for travel expenses, a stipend for living expenses, and residency at a university housing or rental housing, as well as library privileges. The residency lasts for 2-3 months only, during which time the Fellows are expected to give a minimum of one lecture at their respective host university. 

Applications should include a duly filled-up online application form, a curriculum vitae, and two references, among others.

National Gem Consortium Ph.D. Engineering Fellowship

The National GEM Consortium in Engineering Fellowship is open to Ph.D. students belonging to the minority, and who have been accepted into a doctoral program straight from a bachelor’s degree program or who have earned a master’s in Engineering. Fellows can be enrolled in any of the participating GEM member universities. 

The above-mentioned stipend applies to the first academic year of fellowship for a Ph.D. Engineering/Science Fellow. After that, the fellow will enjoy a continued living stipend up to the fifth year of Ph.D. studies through a combination of alternative funding sources. The fellow will also have his tuition and fees paid for by the GEM university member.

American Association of University Women American Fellowship Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grants

The Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grant is the oldest female-specific scholarship program for graduate students. Of course, only female graduate students are considered, and they must either be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applicants should also be available for eight consecutive weeks during the summer.

The American Association of University Women’s selection committee applies strict criteria in choosing the annual crop of scholars. The criteria include academic excellence, project originality, project design quality, project scholarly significance to the discipline, and project feasibility. The applicant’s qualifications are also considered.

History of Art Institutional Fellowships

Devoted to studying European art, architecture, and archaeology heritage, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation chooses six applicants each year to receive up to $30,000 worth of research grants. Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program focused on antiquity to the early 19th century. They should also be completing all higher degree work except dissertation.  

Patty and Paul Levi Research Award

The Patty and Paul Levi Research Award, offered by the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, grants a predoctoral student or students annually. They should be doing research related to preventative periodontology under faculty supervision. The applicant can apply post-graduation, provided their research was conducted during predoctoral studies, and must submit their current C.V.s. 

SMART Scholarship Program

SMART, a Department of Defense-funded scholarship program, provides full tuition, stipends, and guaranteed employment for STEM students pursuing degrees in 24 disciplines. It aims to increase underrepresented students’ participation in the DoD STEM workforce, particularly for high school seniors in Historically Black colleges and universities.

Norman S. Baldwin Fishery Science Scholarship

Norman S. Baldwin, the inaugural executive secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, guided the organization for 15 years until his untimely passing in 1971. The Norman S. Baldwin Fishery Science Scholarship seeks to inspire talented graduate students to pursue advanced research in fishery biology and Great Lakes science, prioritizing scientific excellence and innovative inquiry.

The chosen candidates will be awarded $3,000 scholarships each, with the Awards Committee distributing them as needed. Applicants must be master’s or Ph.D. students with relevant research topics who have not been previously awarded. 

David M. Dolan Scholarship

David M. Dolan’s scholarship, which started in 2014, honors students conducting graduate research in statistics, mathematical modeling, data analysis, or quantitative decision support to advance the understanding and management of Great Lakes ecosystems. The scholarship is open to exceptional students whose graduate research aligns with Dr. Dolan’s work on Great Lakes ecosystems but not relatives of IAGLR officers or directors.

Applicants must submit an extended abstract and a brief title for their proposed research. It should highlight how the study of the Great Lakes relates to the use of applied environmental statistics and modeling. In addition to the $3,000, recipients will receive a one-year membership in the IAGLR.

Lawren H. Daltroy Preceptorship in Health Communication

The Lawren H. Daltroy Preceptorship in Health Communication from the Rheumatology Research Foundation supports student, researcher, and clinician training in rheumatology. They are among the top supporters of those who dedicate their studies to enhancing patient-clinician interactions and communications. 

Eligible candidates include trainees, junior researchers, and health professionals without funding. Projects must address patient-clinician interactions and communications, including small-scale research, curriculum creation, participation in education, patient-facing materials, health literacy/numeracy studies, and shared decision-making in healthcare settings.

AWWA Abel Wolman Scholarship

Students who are pursuing advanced training and research, including doctoral studies in water supply and treatment and its related fields, can apply for the Abel Wolman Fellowship. The doctoral fellowship provides financial support for up to two years to an outstanding student. Applications can be sent to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and more information can be seen on its site.

AWWA Larson Aquatic Research Support Scholarships

Made in honor of Dr. Larson, the Larson Aquatic Research Support (LARS) scholarship is available for outstanding doctoral students engaged in the fields of science and engineering. The selection committee chooses one doctoral student every year for the scholarship, with an emphasis on excellent academics and leadership potential.

Applications must include a resume, official transcripts, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores as well as a course of study. Be sure to submit your research plans, too, with your application.

Martin Frank Diversity Travel Awards

The Martin Frank Diversity Travel Award program aims to increase participation in physiological sciences among trainees and early career faculty from historically underrepresented backgrounds. It provides travel awards to students and professionals interested in attending the American Physiology Summit. Recipients receive travel reimbursement, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The program is open to specific underrepresented populations defined by the NIH.

National Gem Consortium Ph.D. Science Scholarship

The National Gem Consortium’s PhD Science Scholarship is exclusive for students belonging to the minority in their first year of doctoral studies. Applicants should be pursuing a natural science discipline, such as earth science, chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, and computer science. The scholarship applies to an accredited GEM member university.

Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship or legal residency. Applicants must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and get promising GRE scores.

Frances C. Allen Fellowship

The Frances C. Allen Fellowship is exclusive to women of American Indian heritage. Applicants must be engaged in studies related to the Newberry Research Library’s collections, and the fellow must use the resources at the Chicago, Illinois, library. Applicants should also write to the library for more details, although application forms are available on the official website.

Gil Kushner Memorial Travel Award

Gilbert Kushner was key in establishing applied anthropology as a graduate discipline. Gil has made USF’s Department of Anthropology among the most thriving applied research centers. The $750 travel expense award is given annually to a select few who want to attend the SfAA annual meeting.

Sallie Mae Scholarship

Sallie Mae has launched a scholarship program for employees’ children pursuing college education. The program offers renewable scholarships for full-time study at an accredited institution, with eligibility determined by the sponsor. The scholarship is open to legal residents of the United States.

Lou Hochberg Thesis and Dissertation Awards 

While the Lou Hochberg scholarship’s $1,000 grant isn’t much, its eligibility requirements are relatively easy to comply with. The essays submitted should focus on the social, biophysical, and experimental aspects of Wilhelm Reich’s discoveries. These are then judged based on their clarity, merit, and accuracy, and there’s no deadline for submissions.

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