External Awards

Student financial support is a partnership between GSAS, the academic program, and the student. Students are encouraged to apply for appropriate Harvard and outside fellowships throughout their enrollment, as the experiences of applying for and receiving prestigious external awards can be invaluable professional development opportunities.

Each year, many GSAS students secure funding from external agencies. Students who are offered external awards are expected to accept them in place of Harvard funding. By freeing up GSAS funds for assignment to other students, these students help ensure that the GSAS financial aid program is able to do the most good for the largest possible number of students.

To ensure equitable treatment of all students, the coordination of external award benefits with a student’s existing funding package is determined by the financial aid officer in consultation with the academic program.

Students in Selected Humanities and Social Science Programs


For eligible PhD students in selected humanities and social sciences programs who receive external awards that substitute for GSAS funding. Eligible students have two options:

Option 1

Eligible PhD Students may qualify for a GSAS award bonus by combining their GSAS funding and the external award.

  • For external awards greater than $24,000, the first $4,000 of outside funding received will be treated as supplemental to the standard GSAS funding package; any outside funding in excess of $4,000 will be used to replace GSAS funding, dollar-for-dollar.
  • For external awards under $24,000, the first $3,000 will be supplemental and the remainder will replace GSAS funding.
Option 2

Eligible PhD Students may choose to be supported only by their external award and defer their GSAS stipend support to a future academic year.

  • No more than one year of GSAS stipend support can be deferred.
  • All deferred GSAS stipend support must be used by the conclusion of the G5 year.
  • Students may not teach during any semester they are taking a deferred stipend.


  • External awards with a 12-month tenure ordinarily substitute for the entire GSAS 10-month academic year stipend and summer research award. 
  • Please note that multiple fully funded fellowships (intended to cover living expenses, housing costs, tuition, and/or health fees) may not be held concurrently.
  • The external award policy does not apply to external stipends used to replace guaranteed teaching.
  • Under certain circumstances, small one-time honorary stipends, grants for specific research costs, and grants for conference/research travel may not require adjustments to Harvard funding. Students receiving such awards should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine how Harvard funding will be affected.
  • Because the Harvard dissertation completion fellowship (DCF) is available only to students with no other completion funding, all external completion fellowships substitute for Harvard DCF funding. Students with external completion funding may be eligible for the bonus described in option 1 above; students cannot defer the Harvard DCF.