Students supported on institutionally funded fellowships or assistantships are discouraged from seeking outside employment. It is the policy of The Graduate School that full-time students may not work for more than 19.9 hours per week in non-dissertation-related research appointments, teaching assistantships or other instructional positions, or other employment (both on and off campus).

Payment of graduate student scholarship, fellowship, and assistantship support are subject to the following policies:

  • Registration policy: Students must be registered in The Graduate School in order to receive fellowship or assistantship support.
  • Satisfactory academic progress (see Chapter 9, section G of DGS manual)
  • Payment of bursar accounts for fall,  and spring, and summer
  • Refunds for withdrawal from school during fall and spring semesters


Tuition and fee scholarships and health-insurance payments are generally posted directly to a student’s bursar account by the Graduate School Office of Budgets and Finance. Fellowship stipends are paid on the last business day of each month. Teaching and research assistantship salaries are paid on the 25th of each month. Paychecks for both fellowships and assistantships are sent to students’ departments for distribution. Students may also elect to receive payment through direct deposit.

In their first year, Ph.D. students entering in the fall will receive their stipend in equal monthly installments starting at the end of August. In subsequent academic years, students get their first stipend payment at the end of September. This means the annual stipend is split over an extra month in the first year than in subsequent years. This is done to allow incoming students to start getting their stipend a month earlier so that they have funds on hand to help with expenses associated with relocating to Durham.


Each student’s tax situation is unique, and Duke Corporate Payroll Services provides assistance to enrolled students regarding taxation requirements.

Note: Duke University employees are not permitted or authorized to provide tax advice to individual students. Students should consult a certified tax professional for individual advisement.

Fellowship Stipends

  • Students must report fellowship stipend distributions as income.
  • No taxes will be withheld from fellowship stipend distributions unless the student requests tax withholding.
  • If a student requests tax withholding, fellowship stipends can be reported by the university to the IRS using a 1099-MISC form.
  • If no withholding of taxes is requested, the student will receive a courtesy letter showing the total amount of fellowship stipends distributed to the student for the calendar year.

Research or Teaching Stipends

Research or teaching stipends are subject to federal and state income taxation, even if the training is a requirement for the degree. Work-study funds for research or teaching training are taxable as well.

  • Students receiving this financial support are required to complete W-4 tax forms, and federal and state income taxes will be withheld.
  • Registered students are not required to pay FICA (i.e., Social Security and Medicare) taxes, nor does the University contribute the employer share.
  • In order to remain exempt from payment of FICA taxes, students must remain registered for all semesters in which they are receiving compensatory stipends.

For US Citizens

Fellowship stipends may be reduced, for tax purposes, by the amounts paid for tuition, fees, and required books, supplies, and equipment. For general information about the taxability of scholarships and fellowships, students should see IRS publication 970.

For International Citizens

Stipend payments are subject to withholding of federal and state income taxes, unless there is an existing tax treaty between the student's country and the USA. In addition there is an IRS requirement that tuition payments for foreign students must be reported to the federal government. More information on taxation of foreign nationals and current tax treaties is available on the Corporate Payroll website.

Other Tax-Related Resources