The Department of Philosophy offers several different sorts of financial aid to graduate students.
We offer “Puryear” fellowships to most, if not all, incoming students to our graduate program. For the 2019–2020 academic year, we offered such a fellowship to all six of our incoming students. The 2019–2020 Puryear fellowship grants a stipend of $21,000 for the academic year, and all six of our first-year Puryear fellows were also offered funding for Summer 2020 in the amount of $4000, making their total first-year funding package $25,000. Tuition and most fees are waived in the case of any student receiving a Puryear Fellowship. Additionally, Puryear Fellowship recipients receive a guarantee of continued financial aid for four additional years, conditional upon satisfactory performance in the program and the availability of funds. Such continued financial aid typically comes in the form of a Teaching Assistantship.
We hope to continue a similar funding model for first-year students in the years to come. In the past, other funding packages have been offered, including partial fellowships, or even teaching assistanceships for incoming students with teaching experience, and it is possible similar offers may be made in the future.
Most students are awarded Teaching Assistantships (TA) starting in their second year in the Program. Currently, a full-year TA carries a stipend of about $23,050 plus remission of tuition and most fees. Each TA is assigned to an undergraduate course, where they teach discussion sections, grades exams, hold office hours, and perform other duties as assigned by the instructor of the course. Advanced graduate students are often awarded Teaching Associateships (TO). Each TO has full responsibility for the construction, teaching, and grading of his or her own course. Stipends associated with TOs are the same as those associated with TAs. Some graduate students receive financial aid in the form of Graderships. They grade exams for some course. The stipends associated with Graderships are variable.
In recent years all of students active in the PhD program have had sufficient financial aid to enable them to get tuition and fee waivers. During AY19–20, for example, every student in residence who sought it received some form of financial aid either from the Department or from the University or from some outside funding source. Most of them have either a teaching appointment as TA or TO, or a non-working fellowship. Since they have adequate financial aid, these students are not required to pay tuition or most fees to UMass.
The students who are not in residence are ABDs who have moved elsewhere. Many of these students have taken a job teaching philosophy at some other college or university while they complete their dissertation. These students no longer have financial aid from the Department.
The Program is designed so that students who complete all requirements on time and who complete their dissertations promptly will receive the PhD at the end of five or six years. In quite a few cases it actually takes longer. Ideally, a student who completes the Program in six years will receive substantial financial aid each year.