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Financing Your Education - Doctoral Programs

Our Commitment

Students entering the doctoral programs at Stanford GSE receive a five-year funding guarantee which provides tuition aid, fellowship stipend and assistantship salary. 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 faculty member at Stanford GSE. The average time-to-degree completion for Stanford GSE students is five years.

Research and Teaching Assistantships

Research assistants (RAs) are needed on a variety of projects within Stanford GSE. RAs are typically funded by grants received by the professor. Some assistantships may lead to joint publications with faculty or to dissertation topics. We believe that it is critically important for students to actively participate in the research of our faculty, so they can develop the skill-set they need for independent research. Students who have sufficient expertise and experience may also be selected as course or teaching assistants (CAs/TAs) to assist them with their courses.

RA and TA appointments are made on a quarter-time (10 hours per week) or half-time (20 hours per week) basis. Quarter-time appointments pay for five units of tuition per quarter plus a living assistantship salary (approximately $4,000 per academic quarter), while half-time appointments pay for 8-10 units of tuition per quarter plus a living assistantship salary (approximately $8,000 per academic quarter). The salary portion is taxable.

In their first year, doctoral students generally work quarter-time on an RA or TAship while taking classes; in years 2-4 and after they usually hold a half-time assistantship (usually two quarter-time positions) while taking classes. 


About 20% of our doctoral students are awarded the Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) in their first year, which is designed to attract top students and reduce dependence on federal funding for Ph.D. training. SGF nominations are made by Stanford GSE to the university's SGF committee. The fellowship provides 11 academic quarters of funding. Student on SGF are involved in faculty research and in assisting with courses through their apprenticeship requirement at Stanford GSE.

Additional fellowships that are available to Stanford GSE students include:

  • Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships (SGIF)
  • CONACYT-Stanford Fellowships, for Mexican Nationals
  • Center for Comparative Study in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) Graduate Fellowships
  • Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellowship Program
  • Lieberman Dissertation Fellowships
  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Fellowship Program
  • Lemann Fellowship

Fellowship opportunities for which students can apply are announced by Academic Services staff regularly throughout the year.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars become part of a supportive family of fellow scholars. Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars will broaden knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen character; this platform provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University.

Apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by October 14, 2020 (1:00pm PDT) AND to your GSE degree program of interest by November 16, 2020 (11:59pm PST). 

The Amir Lopatin Fellowship

In 2008 the Graduate School of Education established an endowed fellowship fund supported by the generosity of the family and friends of Amir Lopatin (1976-2004), former doctoral student in the Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD) Program. Amir’s family and friends worked intensively to create a memorial fund in his name to support research in learning sciences and technology design, which Amir strongly felt held much promise for education. The fellowship provides support to a research project of exceptional merit, selected each year from among proposals submitted by GSE doctoral students in the LSTD Program. Special consideration is given to summer projects involving community-level fieldwork which use technology and project-based learning to make education more engaging for primary and secondary school-age students and otherwise enhance children’s educational experience.

An RFP for the Lopatin Fellowship is announced every year in early April, with proposals due by mid-May. The Lopatin Award Committee, comprised of a group of LSTD program faculty, reviews proposals and makes decisions about the award for announcement by early June. A brief final report from the Lopatin Fellow’s research activities is due in March of the following year. The committee’s decision is based on scientific merit, not financial need, consistent with the terms of the fellowship. Research reports by prior winners of the Lopatin Fellowship can be found on this page.

Please note: the Lopatin Fellowship cannot be used for tuition payments to Stanford, to purchase capital equipment, or for self-payment for transcription of other research activities.

For more background about Amir Lopatin, please see the family’s memorial site:

Travel Fellowships

Stanford GSE provides travel fellowships to doctoral students who are presenting a paper at a conference. Students may receive up to 2 fellowships during their time at Stanford GSE-- one pre-candidacy and one post-candidacy. Students must provide proof of their presenting a paper at a conference, and must be registered in the quarter in which funds are awarded.

Dissertation Support Grants at Stanford GSE

Stanford GSE makes available grants of up to a total of $6500 per student for advanced doctoral students at Stanford GSE who need support for dissertation research activities. These grants are available to students who do not have access to other funds to cover their dissertation costs.

Hourly Work

Doctoral students may work as "casual labor" at Stanford for up to eight hours per week, provided it does not adversely impact their academic program and is not in positions that would be normally paid through an assistantship. For more details, please refer to the Doctoral Degree Policies and Guidelines.

Loan Programs

A variety of loans are available to students seeking advanced degrees at Stanford who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Visit the University Financial Aid Office website and click on "Graduate Students" for information and application forms.

International students may apply for private loans from local banks, including the Stanford Federal Credit Union. Many lenders, however, typically require that a US citizen or Permanent Resident be a co-signer on the loan. There is a list of private loan lenders available on the Financial Aid Office website.

Non-Stanford Fellowships and Grants

Stanford GSE students have a successful track record of receiving nationally-competitive fellowships and grants, such as from the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, AERA and ASHE. The information on Fellowships and Grants offers an array of internal and external funding opportunities designed for a wide range of interests.

Yellow Ribbon Program

Stanford is committed to providing benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Provision of the Post 9/11 GI Bill® to students in degree-seeking programs. GSE students who qualify for Chapter 33 benefits at the 100% level, may be eligible for additional funding through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under this program, Stanford provides an annual contribution to supplement the Chapter 33 base tuition benefit. The VA matches Stanford's Yellow Ribbon contribution. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Stanford's maximum annual Yellow Ribbon contribution for GSE PhD students will be $12,000, and for MA students $6,000, with the VA providing a matching amount of up to $12,000 and $6,000 respectively. Please note that for GSE students receiving GSE Fellowship funding, the Yellow Ribbon match may reduce and in some cases replace institutional grants and scholarships. Instructions for activating VA educational benefits for enrollment at Stanford are on the OMAC web page for Activating VA Educational Benefits.

Special Note to International Students

In order to meet immigration regulations, international students must show proof of adequate support for the length of time of their graduate program. Students from foreign countries compete equally with U.S. citizens for assistantship and fellowship support from Stanford GSE. However, international students are not eligible to receive loans through the Stanford Financial Aid Office. Several international students at Stanford GSE successfully seek sources of funding from their countries of origin (from corporations, universities, or governments).

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