Skip to content

Update on Summer 2020 Funding Opportunities for Ph.D. Students

The following is a message from Paula D. McClain, Dean of The Graduate School; Ed Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies; and Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost

May 4, 2020

Dear Ph.D. students,

Several weeks ago, Provost Kornbluth wrote to you about Duke’s commitment to provide employment and funding opportunities for Ph.D. students who need them this summer in light of the COVID-19 disruptions. We are writing to follow up on our efforts on that front.

Opportunities Available Right Now

We have assembled a robust slate of summer funding opportunities for Duke Ph.D students. These fall into two categories—experiential fellowships with external organizations and RAships of various kinds with internal Duke units. In all, there are more than 100 opportunities. Most of them provide 3 months of summer funding, while some provide partial funding. Both sets of opportunities are now posted with details and application instructions

Please note:

  • The initial application period ends May 13. At that point, sponsors/hosts will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Students may apply after May 13 until a position is filled, but cannot be guaranteed priority consideration.
  • Applications for experiential fellowships must go through a Duke portal, and Ph.D. students are limited to two applications for these fellowships.
  • Applications for internal Duke opportunities go directly to the contact person listed.

Opportunities That We Are Working On

In addition to the fellowships and RAships above, we are continuing to develop teaching opportunities for Ph.D. students this summer. As enrollments firm up for the two summer sessions, we will be able to confirm courses to be taught by Ph.D. students as instructors of record, as well as our needs for teaching assistant positions. Early indications suggest strong student interest in our summer course offerings.

Other Opportunities That We Have Provided

We have also undertaken various other measures to provide additional sources of financial support for Ph.D. students for this summer. For instance, The Graduate School has redirected resources from other parts of its budget to create some additional summer research fellowships, which have been awarded based on the applications that were submitted during the fall application cycle.

Summer Graduate Academy

In addition to funding support, we have also been working on professional development opportunities for you. The Summer Graduate Academy relaunched on May 1, and response to the offerings has been so strong that we are now exploring options to expand slots in existing short courses and to create a second session, which will likely have some repeats and some different short courses.


We want to thank the external organizations and internal Duke units that have put together so many opportunities for high-level research, pedagogical development, and analysis/writing in such a short time. Particular thanks go to Amy Feistel, Maria Wisdom, and Sarah Dwyer in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies for serving as liaisons to our partners and getting the webpage up in a flash.

We know these have been trying times for many of our students. Please take care of yourself and know that we are continuing to work with our partners at Duke and beyond to support you.



Paula D. McClain, Dean of The Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Ed Balleisen, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies
Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost