Open To

Students who were enrolled in a Duke Ph.D. program during the 2019-2020 academic year and have experienced significant delays in their progress toward degree due to COVID-19. See Eligibility section for details.

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.

Funding Source

Funding for COVID-19 extensions comes from the school in which a Ph.D. program is based. Each school determines how to provide this funding for its students. (For students in the Pratt School of Engineering, the funding and decision process for extensions comes from their departmental Ph.D. programs.)

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 (and the summer if your program's standard tuition/fee support is for 12 months). Mandatory fees are the health fee, students services fee, and activity fee. The recreation fee is not covered by this extension, because it is an optional fee, and this extension does not provide Duke health/dental insurance premium support.

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 have been enrolled in a Duke Ph.D. program during the 2019-20 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.
  • Ph.D. students enrolled in doctoral programs in the Trinity School of Arts & Sciences are not eligible to apply for summer extensions, only for fall/spring support.

How to Apply

Eligible Ph.D. students can apply for the funding extensions on a semester basis. To apply, Ph.D. students should follow the instructions below. (For students in the Pratt School of Engineering, a separate process is used for funding extensions and you should discuss any needs with your director of graduate studies.)

  1. Complete the application form. There are two versions of the form, one for students in Ph.D. programs based in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and the other for all other Ph.D. students. The required information and steps differ slightly, so follow the instructions on the form that applies to you. As part of the form, you must provide a clear and compelling explanation of how COVID delayed progress toward your degree. That delay should also be documented in your 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 you have completed the steps laid out in your form, apply through The Graduate School’s continuing fellowship portal. Select the award titled “COVID Funding Extension for 6th and 7th Year Students" for the appropriate semester. You will be asked to upload the completed form.
  2. Input your faculty advisor's email into the faculty statement of support field in AwardSpring, so the advisor will receive an email with a link to upload their supporting documentation (this is in addition to the advisor signing the application form in step 1). The advisor document must be submitted by the application deadline, otherwise the application is not complete and cannot be submitted in AwardSpring.
  3. 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 (in the case of Trinity students, instead of DGS approval, the application will be forwarded to a review committee in Trinity for approval, as described on the application form).

Application Periods 

  • Funding extension for spring: October 1- mid-November
  • Funding extension for summer and fall: March 1-March 31
  • Please refer to the fellowship application page for additional details on deadlines and application instructions.