Skip to content Skip to navigation

Financing Your Education - Doctoral Programs

A doctoral degree is a significant investment in your future, and financing your education is a critical factor to consider. While the funding we provide covers the basic standard cost of attendance determined by Stanford University for a modest life as a graduate student, accepting an offer from a doctoral program has significant personal, professional, and financial implications. Below you’ll find information about financing your PhD and how the GSE works closely with the Stanford University Financial Aid Office to assist students.

Funding guarantee

Stanford GSE offers all admitted PhD students a five-year funding guarantee that provides tuition aid, fellowship stipend, and assistantship salary, and covers the standard cost of attendance below. This funding applies to the first five academic years of the doctoral program and generally entails assistantship work (research and/or teaching) on a research project or course with a GSE faculty member. The funding is based on meeting the basic financial need of the student alone. There is no separate application for this funding.

Funding structure and details

As part of the five-year funding guarantee, the GSE pays tuition to the university on the student’s behalf. In addition, students receive fellowship stipend from the GSE and earn salary from their assistantship. This funding guarantee is based on meeting the basic financial need of the student alone and is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress.

Assistantships

Assistants are needed on a variety of projects within Stanford GSE. Research assistants are funded by the GSE and grants received by the professor, and can lead to joint publications with faculty or to dissertation topics. Students who have sufficient expertise and experience may also be selected as teaching assistants. Assistantships are typically secured with the assistance of faculty advisors. Students work 10 or 20 hours a week depending on their year in the program. 

  • Research assistantship (RA): Various research duties for sponsored projects
  • Teaching assistantships (3 types):
    • Course Assistant (CA)—course preparation and grading
    • Teaching Assistant (TA)—leads regularly-scheduled discussion sections
    • Teaching Affiliate (TF)—full responsibility for course

Funding details 2021-2022

To see funding details for 2021-2022 (autumn through summer), please visit the doctoral handbook.

Cost of attendance

Tuition depends on the units taken by the student. In addition to tuition expenses, a PhD program involves other living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation. The sum of tuition and non-tuition expenses constitute the standard cost of attendance. As you consider applying to graduate school, you can use the chart below—plus any additional expenses you might have—to create your financial plan.

Cost of attendance 2021-2022

The tuition and non-tuition expenses of the cost of attendance are set by the university on an annual basis.

Tuition
Quarter Year 1 Year 2 - 4 Year 5

Autumn

11 - 18 units | $18,105

8 - 10 units | $11,770

*TGR | $3,531

Winter

11 - 18 units | $18,105

8 - 10 units | $11,770

*TGR | $3,531

Spring

11 - 18 units | $18,105

8 - 10 units | $11,770

*TGR | $3,531

Total tuition

$54,315

$35,310

$10,593

Non-tuition expenses
Standard on-campus budget Year 1
9 months
Year 2 - 4
9 months
Year 5
9 months

Rent (**Campus Housing)

$16,590

$16,590

$16,590

Food

$6,390

$6,390

$6,390

Personal

$6,555

$6,555

$6,555

Transportation

$1,380

$1,380

$1,380

Books & supplies

$990

$990

$990

Health services fee

$696

$696

$696

Health Insurance (***Cardinal Care)

$6,192

$6,192

$6,192

Total non-tuition expenses

$38,793

$38,793

$38,793

Total cost of attendance

Year 1
$93,108

Year 2 - 4
$74,103

Year 5
$49,386

* TGR (Terminal Graduate Registration)
** Students living off-campus should add 10-40% to the total living allowance for a more realistic estimate.
***Cardinal Care is an annual plan, with coverage extending through Summer quarter regardless of enrollment status.

What you can do now to prepare financially if admitted

  • Prepare for how your standard of living may change as a graduate student, especially if you are coming from a full-time job.
  • Understand that the GSE PhD funding package is intended to cover the basic Stanford student budget for the student alone, and create a financial plan for graduate school.
    • Consider the length of your program, any dependents, existing debt, and additional financial commitments you may have. Students with children may review Stanford support programs for families.
    • If you have personal or special circumstances that require additional expenses above and beyond the standard cost of attendance, plan accordingly.
  • Start saving as much as you are able to cover any unexpected expenses you may incur while in graduate school.
  • Familiarize yourself with federal as well as private student loans, their interest rates, fees, repayment options, deferment policies, and eligibility requirements, so that you are informed if you need to borrow.
  • Be ready to cover all initial expenses, since fellowships and stipends will not be disbursed until a few weeks into your first quarter. Onboarding into a PhD program often requires up front out of pocket expenses for relocation.

Additional GSE resources

Once PhD students matriculate, the GSE has a variety of resources available to support academic work and unanticipated needs.

Stanford University resources

Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS) program aims to prepare the next generation of global leaders to address the increasingly complex challenges facing the world. The program selects up to 100 students each year and provides three years of financial support that is integrated into the GSE’s funding package for PhD students.

Vice Provost for Graduate Education awards various fellowships for doctoral students and maintains a list of other Stanford fellowships that students may consider.

Cardinal Care subsidy is an automatic university-wide subsidy program for graduate students. Vaden Health Center manages the university’s Cardinal Care student health insurance.

Stanford Financial Aid Office oversees a number of financial support programs specifically for graduate students with challenging financial situations. 

Additional hourly work is available to students who wish to work for pay as "casual labor" at Stanford up to eight hours a week, provided work does not adversely affect the academic program. Requires approval from the student’s advisor and the Academic Services team.

Other funding sources

Back to the Top