The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Fall 2014 Cohort

Funding Opportunities

All admitted students are considered for funding—usually from the department but sometimes from the university or some external source. The department makes every effort to support all who enter and remain in good standing for at least five years (ten semesters).

Departmental Funding

Departmental funding comes in the form of Teaching Assistantships, which include a tuition credit, health benefits, and a stipend for grading or teaching work; these are available to U.S. citizens and foreign students. We make every effort to support all of our students for five years, contingent on their progress in the program. Some positions may also be available for those who are “above eligibility” (past five years), depending on our needs in any given semester.

In addition to the basic funding, the department offers various sources of economic support for student research and professional activities.

Research Assistantships

Faculty with research grants may hire Research or Project Assistants for varying numbers of hours, during the school year or the summer. These positions will be advertised on our listserv and hiring will be conducted by the faculty member involved. The numbers of Assistantships of this kind fluctuates from one semester to the next.

Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) Classes

The Sociology Department offers online classes through CPE on a regular basis, and graduate students may apply for some of the positions. These courses are open to students with experience teaching their own courses. We try to ensure that every student has an opportunity to teach one of these classes at least once in their graduate school career.

Graduate School & College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Funding

The Graduate School offers competitive Research Enhancement and Leadership (REAL) Fellowships, which provide summer funding and professional development activities that foster the development of a supportive community for underrepresented graduate students at the university. REAL fellows are nominated by the GPD when they apply for admission. REAL funding comes from both the Graduate School and the Sociology Department.

In addition, the Graduate School and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offer the competitive CSBS-Graduate School summer research fellowships, which provide summer funding. CSBS-Graduate School fellows are nominated by the GPD when they apply for admission. Funding comes from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Graduate School, and the Sociology Department.

Summer Funding

  • First Year Summer Program - A summer program, available to all incoming students, that allows them to collaborate with a faculty member on research over the summer. All students may participate in the First-Year Summer Program. Students who do not have summer funding from the Graduate School or CSBS may access a small fellowship to support this work.
  • Comps funding - A summer fellowship available to all students who do not have summer funding from the Graduate School or CSBS, in either their second or third year, to work on their Comprehensive Exam papers.
  • Grantwriting and Article Preparation (GAP) funding - A summer fellowship for students who do not have summer funding from the Graduate School or CSBS, and have already defended their second Comprehensive Exam. This fellowship provides support for a student to work on preparing an article for submission to a journal or writing an external grant proposal over the summer. Fellowship recipients are chosen through a competitive application process.
  • Dissertation funding - A summer fellowship open to students who have defended a prospectus, and have not previously had summer dissertation funding from the department. Fellowship recipients are chosen through a competitive application process.

Professional Development Funds

All graduate students may apply for approximately $250 each year to cover expenses, such as conference attendance, professional memberships, travel to conduct research, workshops, software not otherwise available etc. Funds may not be used to cover the costs of purchasing equipment.

Other Campus and Local Employment Opportunities

More advanced students sometimes find employment as Teaching or Research Assistants in other UMass departments, or as TAs or instructors at one of the local liberal arts or community colleges.

The Graduate School also has a listing of other on-campus job opportunities.

University Funding Resources

External Funding Graduate School

The Graduate School at UMass offers many useful resources for students in search of funding. Through this website, students can search for internal and external funding opportunities, receive search tips, and set up consultations with staff for help with grant seeking.

Office of Professional Development

Helps students develop the professional knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers. OPD events include workshops on topics such as grant writing and information sessions on specific fellowship opportunities.

UMass Graduate School Pre-Dissertation Grants

Available twice a year through a competitive application process, these grants are aimed at evaluating the feasibility of planned dissertation research, generating pilot data, or establishing the necessary networks to carry out planned dissertation research.

UMass Graduate School Dissertation Fellowships

Available twice a year through a competitive application process, these fellowships are aimed at providing funds to assist recipients in completion of their dissertation.

UMass Graduate Student Dissertation Fieldwork Grants

Available twice a year through a competitive application process, these grants are aimed at supporting data collection that must take place outside of the immediate geographical area.

UMass Summer Dissertation Research Fellowship

Available once a year through a competitive application process, these fellowships are aimed at promoting greater diversity and inclusion on campus, in the professoriate, and among other holders of doctoral and MFA degrees by supporting students’ efforts to complete their degrees in a timely fashion.

External Sources

Many agencies not connected to the university are potential sources of financial aid for graduate students. Some of this support is for students in their early years of graduate work; much is for students working on dissertations. The External Funding link on the Graduate School website maintains an extensive collection containing information on funding sources, private and public. Some particularly important sources for sociologists include:

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRF)

  • Three-year government-funded fellowships available only to those in their first or second year of graduate school who have not completed previous graduate degrees (except joint BS/MS degrees).
  • Open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (though some other NSF fellowships are open to international students).

American Association of University Women

  • American Fellowship: for women pursuing full-time study to complete dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research full time, or spending eight consecutive weeks preparing research for publication.
  • International Fellowship: for women pursuing full-time graduate or postdoctoral study in the United States who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program

  • Applicants must have completed a year of graduate study and be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen U.S. national, or green card holder.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

  • Seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity.
  • Open to citizen, national, and permanent residents (holder of a Permanent Resident Card) of the United States, or individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

  • For first or second year graduate students of foreign birth with valid green cards.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC)