Doctoral Scholarships & Grants

For anyone considering the road of a doctoral program, one thing should always remain on the radar: scholarships will be needed to help fund the cost.

Doctoral programs sit at the end of a long academic career as the next step for those who want to finalize their graduate academics into a bona fide research status.

They are also the key ingredient necessary for those who want to move into higher education teaching and potentially a professor position in academia.

That said, doctoral programs are not cheap. Many require thousands of dollars to participate in, while at the same time they also require significant energy, time and effort.

This leaves little time for someone to also work and earn a paycheck. As a result, scholarships and related grants for doctoral students, as well as their research, provide critical lifelines to continue living while studying.

Woman graduating with honors

The FAFSA and Program Availability

There is no shortage of doctoral programs in the U.S. Every major college or university has a doctoral program within some or all of its main study programs, offering candidates a PhD upon successful completion. In this regard, for those candidates who are accepted into a school’s doctoral program, the college or university is the first place to start for scholarships and grants.

High-level education institutions actively draw philanthropic as well as government funding for study and research. These funds then get farmed out in the form of specific school scholarships to the students attending a particular school. Thus, anybody looking for additional financial support has to at least consider applying for his own school’s financial program before trying anything else.

The starting process, of course, is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form, before starting a particular school term. This federal form provides a standardized input of a student’s information into both the federal government and school’s databases to determine eligibility. As a result, it is a basic entry and practical financial requirement for any doctoral student.

Universities and schools also provide their own private grants and scholarships as well. For example, the Stevens Institute of Technology provides the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Doctoral Fellowship, intended to support high-performing students pursuing research that show promise in innovation and science-based disruptive technology advancement.

The George Mason University School of Public Policy funnels the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship for post-doctorate candidates seeking positions in overseas governmental roles, as well as various dissertation and research grants for ongoing doctorate work. As expected, candidates need to already be doctorate students working towards degrees in George Mason University.

Specialty Funding

Group of scientists doing research

Within each doctoral program, specialties exist. As a result, many have the potential to generate a large amount of financial support as various private and public interests want to see advancement of research in a given specialty. Many universities also couple with government programs to farm out federal and state funds for research goals as well. The grants and programs also see much of their administration within a particular school’s program.

The program chair and professors end up being the decision-makers as to which doctoral candidates will receive specific program financial aid in the form of program scholarships. Again, the FAFSA application is necessary before any review can occur. Additionally, the doctoral student needs to be both accepted, enrolled, and actively working in a given school program for eligibility.

Agency-Specific Grants

Governmental programs provide direct support to doctoral candidates in specific areas of study. These can range from social studies to health. For example, the federal government has a variety of agency-specific grants available both for study support and research ventures.

The Housing and Urban Development Agency supports doctoral studies in housing and urban design improvement. Students seeking support for related research work can find financial support from the federal agency as long as the benefits of the research are shared with the government in the form of reporting. HUD support can cover research, school costs, and living support if the student meets all the necessary requirements.

Fulbright Grants

The Fulbright Program in general is a grant-providing organization that promotes international education sharing and is paid for by the U.S. government. While the organization does not provide general doctoral candidate support per se, it does finance a number of programs that could be used to help a doctoral student’s academic career. Further, once the student achieves his degree, the program can also expand post-doctoral activities with similar grant support.

The Fulbright Program has a number of categories that address specific student groups as well. For example, there is the grant program for Israeli doctoral students that provides 16 different grants to eligible candidates. These funds are distributed on an annual basis to students working at a US-accredited university or research institute. The funding pays up to $37,500 to provide partial living help for students in their first year of research within the US at an eligible institution.

There is no specific field for grant eligibility; in fact, recipients can apply from health, engineering and even agricultural fields. That said, those in health programs with direct patient contact won’t be able to apply. Recipients also get to enjoy health insurance coverage paid for by the grant through the duration of covered study in the US.

Demographic Focus

A group of happy minority people

Many grants are set up and designed to promote the work of underrepresented groups in society. As such, these programs can be taken advantage of by doctoral students that fall into specific groups. While most students want to be recognized on the basis of their skill and performance, those who are eligible are being given an opportunity to move ahead with added preference.

While it is fundamentally favoritism based on a demographic, such students can use the funds to help balance out the spectrum of doctoral degrees held by their demographic if successful. Some of the best well-known doctoral grant programs include the following:

Additionally, private foundations will also target specific demographic candidates as well, as discussed below.

Private Foundation Assistance

Many private foundations are also a good source of grant and scholarship support via direct applications. These entities represent private companies or wealth individuals interested in seeing further advancement in particular research.

The Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship is funded by the NASW Foundation and provides partial financial support to approved applicants working in welfare issues and policy development. A successful applicant receives $2,000 per annual award. The student’s dissertation has to cover a topic directly associated with welfare policy.

The KPMG Foundation pushes the PhD Project which targets doctoral candidates who are also African-American, Hispanic, or Native American and seeking business degrees. Ideally, such candidates will be working towards a career in business academia and related professor positions.

The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program provides 60 grants for pre-doctoral work. Candidates must either be working in a field of philosophy or a field of science and related doctor degree. Those who are successful candidates will be awarded a $20,000 grant for financial living support during the research period. Additionally, candidates receive a $2,000 reduction of tuition for a year as well.


Woman doctor poses as a superhero

For those studying in the medical field or related sciences, a number of grants and scholarships are available. Students via online research can find many of them by simply inputting their field of study and the word “scholarship” in a search engine. A couple of examples are provided below, some with some significant amounts of support available for successful candidates who apply.

The Oncology Nursing Society Foundation seeks to broaden the work of nursing doctorates and provides two grants for eligible applicants. Eligible applicants are those seeking a doctoral degree in nursing oncology either as a clinical doctoral degree or a research degree. Successful candidates can receive a grant of $3,000 or $3,500 per year.

The American Cancer Society provides a doctoral degree scholarship in cancer nursing with successful candidates receiving two years of support financing $15,000 per year in nursing science. The awarded candidate will be working in cancer research and seeking support for a dissertation in cancer nursing academic work.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy seeks to advance the science of physical therapy with new research and techniques as a result of research. To this end, the Foundation supports doctoral candidates with the Florence P. Kendall Doctoral Scholarship which awards annual grants of $5,000. The funds can be used for any direct cost associated with a related doctorate program, including tuition and school fees.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics funds the CDR Doctoral Scholarship, seeking candidates who are registered dieticians also working towards a doctor’s degree in a related study field. Those who are successfully awarded will receive a scholarship of $10,000. Those who are eligible can be seeking doctorates in research, education, public health, or clinical nutrition.


Doctoral students and applicants have plenty of opportunities to find financial support both from private and public sources, and these sources are all in addition to the normal academic financial help from government-funded student loans and generic federal grants. However, with so many students seeking support, competition can be fierce in some cases. Many of these programs are competitive, and many schools or foundations administering the grants are looking for star students showing great promise and unique research ideas that promise significant advancement in an area. So doctoral candidates need to plan both for their financial need as well as continuously market their proposals to secure the best possibilities from scholarship supporters.

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26 Comments on “Doctoral Scholarships & Grants”

  1. sima wrote:

    I am a phd student in EFL in Iran.I am so keen on doing you think there is any grant suitable for me? generally, can any one from other countries use your grants?
    sima ziaei

  2. Kishmir wrote:

    I am very interested in getting my phd, but am in loan default. Am I eligible for a grant? 718-954-5950

  3. Nancy Heny wrote:

    @Sima, why are you so interested in obtaining money from the U.S. when you live in Iran? Look into your own country’s scholarship programs. There are individuals who live here who need the funding and furthemore, your country doesn’t give us….Americans scholarships or finanical aid!

  4. Gonwo Dahnweih wrote:

    I am a first semester doctoral student (EdD) at an Illinois university. I am unemployed and urgently need some scholarship or grants. Tuition and cost of living are high on my list of priorities. I look forward to teaching in an ESL, Literacy or GED program. I can teach some teacher ed. courses, social work, English/Language Arts or social studies in high school or at a college upon graduation.

  5. Vildon wrote:

    Hello. I have just obtained my Master of Arts in Education with specialization in English Language Teaching degree this semester. I am planning to pursue my doctorate degree but I am seeking for scholarship grants outside the Philippines. Can you recommend any of these which have relevance to English? Thanks

  6. Matt Ramsey wrote:

    I am a brain avm survivor who substantially restrengthened my stroke-/craniotomy-affected cognition, as a graduate student.

    Please contact me with information on how I can secure grant money to finance doctoral studies.


    Matt Ramsey, M.Ed.

  7. muyiira joseph wrote:

    Am Ugandan in need of sponsorship to do a PHD in environmental management what do i do?

  8. Workinesh Daba wrote:


    my name is Workinesh Daba Seboka from Ethiopia. I graduated BSc in midwifery from Addis Ababa university with CGPA of 3.66 and masters of public health in reproductive health from Addis Ababa University with CGPA of 3.28 with very good research result. I want to upgrade my education level to PhD with related field of study. I need help because I do not have an opportunity to continue in my country due to lack of financial support.


    Workinesh Daba Seboka(MPH/RH, BSc)


    am a Tanzania,i completed Master degree in business and like will to request full scholarship for PhD at any country in the world particularly in the country in which will provide this scholarship. I’m jobless and economically poor.

  10. Muluken Belay wrote:

    I do have MBA Master degree from Ethiopia East Africa if you give me scholarship for my doctorate degree


  11. Harold wrote:

    Just a note of clarification, FASFA is only for Undergraduate degrees, Graduate and Post Graduate Degrees do not qualify for the FASFA funding.

  12. Abayneh Alta wrote:

    I am from Ethiopia. online student at Walden University (Minneapolis-Minnesota) in the United States of America in Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. I received a partial scholarship from Walden University to study and my tuition balance for 2018 Spring Semester 01/08-04/29 is $5,880 and the course will be start on the March 5/2018. Apparently, I am currently employed in Arbaminch University, Ethiopia with Monthly salary of $125. My education life has been through self-sponsorship till this level and didn’t have gotten any scholarships and sponsorships. Due to the currency value (1USD=27.4119ETB), current tuition charge is impossible on my capacity and I have no support my studies at Walden University and that is why am even on leave of absence due to financial suspension and lack but would be reinstated back to the study program having fulfilled this financial requirement.
    For Administrative inquires, kindly contact International Enrollment Advisor on: +1 866-492-5336 (Walden University General line) or myself on: +25166961726 and emails: or Thank you for any assistance.
    Abayneh Alta
    Arbaminch, Ethiopia
    ID: A00491515

  13. Nomagugu Bobo wrote:

    I have completed a Doctorate in Business Admnistration.I need 8000 us dollars to finish off my payment and receive my certificate

  14. saeed Ahmed wrote:

    I am M.Phil Mathematics from Pakistan .i need scholarship for phd mathematics

  15. Kristi s wrote:

    I am doctorate student with a concentration in Criminal Justice. I am seeking information on grants to complete my last year of study. Thanksnin advance

  16. Dee wrote:

    @Sima, strong women celebrate other women and I celebrate you for pursuing your education in Iran. I wish I had any helpful information, but I hope you find some scholarships online!

  17. Maxwell kwadwo Fosu wrote:

    Am Maxwell from Ghana and um interested to study in your university buh lacks financial support.Can you assist me with your scholarship to study in your university

  18. admasu buruso wrote:

    I have in Ethiopia I had gradated in business administration specialization in marketing management, now I want to learn PHD in your university. Thank you for your support.

  19. Vincent wrote:

    Dear Grant Administrator
    May I know if you can support me as and individual to contribute towards my tuition for a graduate program offered at CUA in Washington DC, USA.
    Your sincerely Vincent

  20. Marcia Bell wrote:

    C’hahli shoma Sima,
    Look online and social media sites to see if there are any Iranian American associations that may be able to help, have information or advice. Good luck.

  21. Collins wrote:


    I was recently accepted into the PhD Public Health program at Trident University. May I please know if you can help me obtain some grant or scholarship. Any form of financial assistance will enable me to focus on my academics? Please reply. Thanks.


  22. Marvin Gilmore wrote:

    I would like to find out more information on getting financing for a doctorate in IT. I am planning to pursue my doctorate degree but I am seeking for scholarship grants

  23. sharon wrote:

    I am a international student, I wanna apply for a doctor degree. May I ask that if I’m eligible for the scholarship. Thanks.

  24. Paige wrote:

    @sima and @nancy henry

    Don’t jump to conclusions. Sima may have searched for scholarships and this is the website that came up with the best info and a comments section for questions. This is the first one that popped up for me as well.

  25. Andualem wrote:

    I am a student in Africa International University. I am doing my Doctoral Ministry.My paper is exploring missional life of believers before and after the fall of the Ethiopian communist regime I want scholarship to pay for my tuition fee.

  26. Ruby wrote:

    Hi Sima,
    I am a US. Citizen that pays plenty of taxes to support people that want to further their education. Regardless of nationality, religion, etc. You may want to look online for Universities in the US that have some agreements with Universities in Iran. That can be a starting point. Also contact the universities directly or a professor that you may be interested to work for. Remember that when there is a will, there is a way! Best of luck!

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