PhD Financial Support

PhD Students

PhD students admitted to the department are offered five years of full funding (subject to satisfactory degree progress.) This includes tuition plus fellowship or salary, and five summers of support. (Outside support sources such as Mellon, Fulbright or NSF fellowships are included in this funding, and do not increase the years of funding.) Five quarters of the funding are fulfilling teaching assistantships, typically during the second and third years, and one in the fourth or fifth years. In addition, each student is covered for their full individual premium for Cardinal Care health insurance during funded quarters, and summer if they were enrolled during the prior quarter.

The Philosophy department provides additional funds for each student which can be used for books, computer equipment, conferences, travel expenses or other incidental expenses and fees. This fund is currently  $1,000 per student annually, for the first five years. Our students also successfully apply to outside fellowships such as the Newcombe Doctoral Dissertaton Fellowshipdissertation fellowships through the Stanford Humanities Center or the VPGE, Humanities and Science graduate fellowships and awards, ACLS Mellon fellowships, and Bechtel's database of  international scholarships

The university also offers support programs for graduate students, such as grants and loans, to help with unexpected expenses:


Stanford is on the quarter system. The normal combination of fellowship and assistantship is as follows.

First Year

First years are on fellowship for three quarters (Autumn, Winter, Spring.) There is no teaching requirement in the first year, allowing students to focus on class work.

Second Year and Third Year

Second years and third years typically receive one quarter of fellowship, and two quarters of teaching assistantship in each of these years.  A Teaching Assistant usually leads two discussion sections of one course per quarter. 

Fourth Year and Fifth Year

In the fourth year, students are usually on a research assistantship all year. In the fifth year, students usually receive a fellowship all year. There is often a quarter of teaching assistantship left to fulfill during those two years. This frees up time during the fourth and fifth year for working on the dissertation.

Sixth Year

We do offer some funding for the sixth year in most years, but cannot guarantee funding at this point.


There are four guaranteed summers of fellowship support.


Masters Students

There is no funding available for Masters students from the department.

Students considering the Masters may want to check Stanford's financial aid website for information about loans and grants that are available to them through other sources.

Knight Hennessy

Stanford's Knight Hennessy Fellows program funds students to study in a Stanford graduate program. The Knight Hennessy application deadline is usually in late summer, and applicants would need to apply both to the Knight Hennessy program and a graduate program at Stanford.

From the Knight Hennessy program, here is their 2023-24 application info:

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023. Learn more about KHS admission.