Last updated: August 27, 2019


There are several means by which graduate students have the ability to supplement their standard stipend award: Graduate School fellowships for both incoming and continuing students, Summer Research Fellowships, prizes and merit awards, supplementation of external fellowships, supplemental teaching or research assistantships and other opportunities not related to their program of study. The following sections address the guidelines and stipulations around each of these methods of stipend supplementation.


Graduate School Fellowships

A complete list of Graduate School fellowships for incoming and continuing students can be found on the Graduate School website at With the exception of the Summer Research Fellowships and the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship summer stipends, Graduate School fellowships explicitly prohibit recipients from receiving any other award or Duke financial support without permission from the dean of The Graduate School. The purpose of The Graduate School’s policy is two-fold. The first is to conserve Graduate School resources that could reasonably be used to support as many graduate students as possible for the period of committed support. The Graduate School is committed to ensuring that all students are supported for at least five years through a combination of Graduate School, departmental, and external support. The second is to ensure that students are able to devote as much time as possible to activities that directly contribute to Ph.D. completion.

Students who receive these fellowships are provided a stipend so that they may engage as much time as possible in full-time study and research related to their degree with limited or no service requirements.

Summer Research Fellowships and Dean’s Graduate Fellowship (Former Duke Endowment) Summer Stipend

These endowment-supported fellowships provide a summer stipend to students who would otherwise not be supported over the summer months. Summer Research and Dean’s Graduate Fellows are allowed to participate in other activities over the summer, provided that these activities do not negatively impede progress toward their degree.

Prizes and Merit Awards

The Graduate School offers a number of prizes and merit awards, such as conference travel fellowships and predissertation & dissertation international travel awards. Students may also win prizes and merit awards from outside The Graduate School or from organizations external to Duke University. These types of awards, which typically range from $500 to $5,000, may be accepted in addition to any Graduate School, departmental or external fellowship or stipend support package.

Supplementation of External Fellowships

The Graduate School will permit supplements paid from discretionary or endowment funds, for students who have won external fellowships (NSF, Howard Hughes, Fulbright, etc.) as long as the external fellowship permits such supplementation. Note that some fellowships do not permit supplementation, while others require funding agency approval if the amount is “significant.” Graduate award funds may also be used to pay these supplements, but they must be approved in advance by the dean of The Graduate School. Some departments and programs may want to formulate a more restrictive and equitable policy, but whatever policy is developed should be uniform so that a student who enters with an external award is not offered a different stipend if he/she chooses one laboratory or department/program over another.

Supplemental Teaching (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA)

Programs, offices, and faculty that train graduate students as TAs or RAs using funds that are outside the graduate awards budget system should seek approval from the DGS for each student. During the academic year, additional funds for graduate student support that are outside the graduate awards allocation system should be directed to unfunded students or students who are past the support years whenever possible. In the event that the student is receiving departmental funding (fellowship, TA or RA), the DGS has the discretion to approve the additional support based on current level of standard TA and RA funding. In the event that a department wants its own student for a teaching or research assistantship while the student is receiving primary support from an extra-departmental source (e.g., another program or interdisciplinary center), the DGS should coordinate the training and financial support with the program/center providing the funding. Also, be advised that Duke University policy states that students enrolled full-time in a degree program may not perform service-based opportunities more than 19.9 hours per week or their student status may be jeopardized. DGSs are responsible for ensuring that students with multiple assignments within Duke do not receive financial support for greater than 19.9 hours of work per week. DGSs are also responsible for ensuring that students are actively and productively working toward completion of their degree. DGSs are within their right to question supplemental training or opportunities not related to studies if it impedes a student’s progress toward the degree.

Other Opportunities

Other opportunities not related to studies can include projects related to the academic mission of The Graduate School (e.g., Responsible Conduct of Research, SROP, etc.), small ad hoc projects within the student’s home department, and work for other units on campus (e.g., library, recreation department) or work outside of Duke University.

Additional financial support from the student’s home department should be managed at the departmental level and the additional projects should not impede academic progress. The Graduate School sets no specific limit on the level of financial support from other work outside the graduate support system, but do bear in mind Duke University’s policy, as noted in the prior section, that students enrolled full-time in a degree program may not perform service-based opportunities more than 19.9 hours per week. Also note that many outside granting agencies specifically restrict the number of hours students participating on their grants are allowed to perform service-based opportunities outside the grant. Students must abide by the terms of their sponsoring grant as it relates to other opportunities. Students and DGSs should also ensure that any potential conflict of interest issues are appropriately addressed. However, as long as there are no outside granting agency restrictions, students may seek additional employment to supplement their standard funding package. DGSs are responsible for ensuring that students are actively and productively working toward completion of their degree and, as such, are within their right to question supplemental opportunities that provide financial support, either within or external to Duke, if it impedes a student’s progress toward their degree.