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SPECIAL NOTE CONCERNING COVID-19: For students facing extenuating circumstances attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be possible to begin the dissertation completion fellowship year in the spring term, with an exemption from the usual restriction to a single academic year. Students should contact their financial aid officers for more information about eligibility and the application process.
GSAS provides a dissertation completion fellowship (DCF) for one academic year to eligible PhD students in the humanities and social sciences who anticipate completing their dissertations within the year. Eligibility for the DCF extends to students in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences humanities and social sciences programs and most interfaculty humanities and social science programs. The DCF represents the final year of eligibility for GSAS tuition grants and fellowships.
Students in Business Administration, Business Economics, and Organizational Behavior typically complete their programs using guaranteed funding that excludes the DCF. Prior to applying, they must consult with their program’s director of graduate studies to determine if the DCF is appropriate for their individual circumstances.
Dissertation completion fellowships are available to students who have:
- completed all departmental requirements;
- completed an approved dissertation prospectus;
- completed two draft dissertation chapters (or one draft article for students in fields where the dissertation consists of three articles), confirmed by two faculty advisors, one of whom is the principal dissertation advisor.
To receive a DCF, students must review the Dissertation Completion Fellowship and Instructions for Dissertation Completion Fellowships sections of the GSAS website and apply for all internal and external completion fellowships for which they are eligible, either from a Harvard source, such as a research center or department, or from an external funding source.
- GSAS Presidential Scholars, Graduate Prize Fellows, and Ashford Fellows are not required to apply for alternative fellowships but must complete the dissertation completion fellowship application.
- Students who receive funding from a source external to GSAS must accept that award in lieu of DCF funding. In the event that the amount of the alternate award is less than that provided by the DCF, GSAS will provide a supplement to make up the difference. In some cases, an external award bonus may be offered.
- Students should plan to utilize their DCF funding during their G5 or G6 year, and no later than their G7 year. While DCF requests from students beyond the G7 year will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the recommendation of a faculty advisor, awards are not guaranteed.
- DCFs must be used during a single academic year; they cannot be split across multiple academic years.
- While on a DCF, students may not hold a teaching appointment or other form of employment.
- Students ordinarily may not take classes while on a DCF.
- The DCF may not be combined with grants from other sources, with the exception of smaller grants. Students should contact their financial aid officer for guidance.
- Students may not hold research fellowships and DCFs concurrently. Research fellowships awarded to DCF recipients will be considered alternate completion funding, triggering a reduction to the DCF award and rendering the student ineligible for DCF funding in future years. Students interested in pursuing research fellowships are advised to withdraw their DCF applications.
- Students are expected to complete their dissertations during the completion year.
- Students who do not complete their dissertations during the DCF year may register for no more than one additional academic year of post-DCF study. During this time they are ineligible for GSAS tuition and fellowship support. They may, however, hold teaching and research appointments or apply for educational loans.
Students awarded a DCF receive grant support to cover the GSAS facilities fee (i.e. tuition for advanced doctoral students) and Harvard University Student Health Program fees.
Stipend amounts vary and are noted in the Notice of Financial Support. Once a student has been awarded a DCF, the stipend amount can be viewed in the GSAS Student Aid Portal.
Stipends are disbursed on or around the first day of the month, August through May.