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COVID-19 Ph.D. Funding Extensions

In recognition of the significant disruption that the coronavirus pandemic has caused in the academic and research progress of many Ph.D. students, Duke is providing a mechanism for those students to apply for the following extensions to their standard funding package.

Tuition-and-Fees Scholarship for 7th Year

The standard Duke Ph.D. funding package guarantees coverage of tuition and mandatory fees in years 1-5. Students are also eligible for a tuition scholarship for year 6 as long as they have made an effort to apply for external or departmental tuition coverage.

In light of COVID-19, students whose progress has been seriously affected by the pandemic can apply for a scholarship that would cover tuition and mandatory fees for year 7, for either a semester or a full year, depending on the severity of the delay.

Stipend Extension for 6th Year

The standard Duke Ph.D. funding package guarantees a stipend for years 1-5. In light of COVID-19, students whose progress has been seriously affected by the pandemic can apply for an extension in stipend for year 6, for either a semester or a full academic year (and the summer if your program’s standard stipend is for 12 months), depending on the severity of the delay. Students approved for a stipend extension will receive the standard stipend rate set by The Graduate School. The department can choose to provide the stipend extension as either compensatory (in the form of a TA-ship or RA-ship) or noncompensatory.


  • To be eligible to apply for either funding extension, students must be in year 2 of their Ph.D. study or beyond during the 2020-2021 academic year and have experienced significant delays in their progress toward degree due to COVID-19.
    • Students should document any pandemic-related effects on their progress in their 2019-2020 annual reports and ensure that their advisers and thesis committee have an accurate and ongoing picture of the effects of the COVID shutdown on their progress.
  • Students become eligible to apply for the stipend extension and the tuition-and-fee scholarship as they approach their sixth and seventh year of study, respectively. The year of study is determined by the matriculation term, and is based on consecutive calendar years.

How to Apply

Eligible Ph.D. students can apply for the funding extensions on a semester basis. To apply:

  1. Complete the departmental request form (PDF) to get approval from your faculty adviser and director of graduate studies. As part of the form, you must provide a clear and compelling explanation of how COVID delayed progress toward your degree, and your faculty adviser and DGS must verify that the delay is documented in your 2019-2020 annual report to your thesis committee. (Instructions for signing a PDF with a digital signature)

Note: Departments should retain a copy of the final form.

  1. Once your form has been signed by both your faculty adviser and your DGS, apply through The Graduate School’s continuing fellowship portal. Select for the award titled “COVID Funding Extension for 6th and 7th Year Students for Fall 2020.” You will be asked to upload the completed and signed form.
  2. After you submit your application and the application period closes, your DGS will be prompted to go into the portal to confirm that the department has approved the application.

Application Periods

  • Funding extension for fall 2020: August 3–August 24
  • Funding extension for spring 2021: Late fall, exact dates TBD
  • Funding extension for summer 2021: Spring, exact dates TBD

Funding Source

  • Duke Graduate School opportunities

Student Status

  • Continuing Student

Academic Division

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities

Type of Degrees

  • Ph.D.


  • Academic Year
  • Summer