Supplemental Summer Funding for Ph.D. Students

Duke provides a robust set of opportunities for summer funding of Ph.D. students, each related to important aspects of Ph.D. training. The most common are research fellowships and assistantships, whether from The Graduate School, faculty supervisors or individual Ph.D. programs; or experience with teaching and mentoring, especially through opportunities to serve as instructor of record in summer session courses, or as project managers in summer programs for undergraduates, such as DukeEngage, Data+ and Story+.

In addition, the Provost’s Office supports an array of fellowships, funded internships and professional development assistantships. Each opportunity requires no more than 19.9 hours a week on the given activity, and several have flexible time commitments to accommodate students who have secured partial funding.

Ph.D. Students Can Apply Directly

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG)

This competitive grant allows students to arrange internships that align with their core research and training with an NGO, community organization, cultural institution, or government agency. It requires Ph.D. students to furnish a letter of support from a prospective host organization, specifying the nature of research-inflected engagement and the means by which the intern would learn about organizational culture and decision-making.

Application deadline February 20, 2023
Length of opportunity 6, 8 or 12 weeks
Funding amount Commensurate with length
More information GSTEG overview and RFP
Ph.D. Computational Fellowships

Through the Center for Computational Thinking initiative, Ph.D. students who wish to develop data science capacity can apply for a fellowship to participate in intensive study of computational methods and application of those methods to potential dissertation research. Participation in a data science workshop is required at the beginning of the summer.

Application deadline February 20 – March 1, 2023, for priority consideration; rolling through April 20, 2023
Length of opportunity 12 weeks
Funding amount Full
More information Ph.D. Computational Fellowships overview
Provost Internships

External: Each year, the Provost’s Office works with external organizations to develop curated internship opportunities targeted at humanities and interpretive social science Ph.D. students. For Summer 2023, the Office of Durham and Community Affairs will partner with the Provost’s Office to curate some of these offerings with local nonprofits.

Internal: Several units across Duke offer research-inflected internships on campus. Hosts range from Duke Forest and the Duke Marine Lab to the Social Science Research Institute, Duke University Press and the Office of Public Affairs & Government Relations.

These opportunities will be listed by January 2023. Selection and placement decisions will be made by host units.

Application deadline February 20 – March 1, 2023, for priority consideration; rolling through April 20, 2023
Length of opportunity 6, 8 or 12 weeks
Funding amount Commensurate with length
More information Provost Internships overview; RFP forthcoming

Schools, Departments and Other Units Can Apply

Reimagining Doctoral Education (RiDE) Graduate Assistantships

Schools and departments can propose graduate assistantships to undertake significant research and/or analysis that will facilitate department engagement with recommendations from the RiDE report.

Application deadline March 27, 2023
Length of opportunity 6, 8 or 12 weeks
Funding amount Commensurate with length
More information RiDE implementation; RFP forthcoming
Summer Course Development Grants (SCDG)

Schools, departments and other units that offer undergraduate curricula can apply for grants that support the creation or redesign of undergraduate courses offered in a summer session. Courses must fulfill curricular priorities, be taught by Ph.D. students and develop an archive of supporting resources to facilitate hand-offs to new instructors from year to year.

Application deadline November 30, 2022
Length of opportunity 12 weeks
Funding amount Full
More information SCDG overview and RFP

Learn More

Which Type of Summer Funding Is Right for You?

How to choose among many potential experiences? The answers will vary greatly across Ph.D. students, whether because of discipline, stage of training or the nature of intellectual interests and career aspirations. Internships provide exposure to project management, deepen skills in collaboration and communication, and clarify research and career interests (sometimes reinforcing preferences for academia, sometimes expanding awareness of suitable paths in industry, government or the non-profit world).

Students who have summer placements with Duke units gain insight into planning and decision-making within a research university and often gain experience with applied research. Recipients of a GSTEG typically expand their research capacities and expand their intellectual networks. Internship opportunities at Durham Technical Community College offer experience with instruction at access-oriented tertiary institutions of higher education. A Ph.D. Computational Fellowship allows students to develop new research approaches and tools. Summer programs such as Data+ and Story+ confer the chance to hone skills in mentorship.

We encourage students who do not already have full summer funding to reflect on which avenues best align with their intellectual trajectory and process of career discernment. It’s always a good idea to discuss options with faculty advisers and other mentors, peers and their program’s DGS, and it’s better to start thinking about options early, during the fall semester. Keep in mind that in addition to Duke funding vehicles, there are a wide array of external fellowship competitions. In some fields, such as engineering, Ph.D. students may be able to explore paid summer internships.

How Do These Opportunities Fit Into Doctoral Education?

The Provost’s Office has created this range of research and professional development opportunities to complement the key features of disciplinary training. The options reflect input from Duke Ph.D. alumni and faculty about the full set of skills and experiences that prepare Ph.D. graduates for success, whether within or outside academia. They also align with the recommendations of national reports on Ph.D. education, such as those from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (Reshaping Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century) and the Mellon Foundation (Reforming Doctoral Education), as well as the report of the Duke Provost’s Committee on Reimagining Doctoral Education.