Dissertation Completion Fellowships

GSAS guarantees a dissertation completion fellowship (DCF) for one academic year to eligible PhD students in the humanities and social sciences who are ready to write and complete their dissertations. This includes students in most interfaculty social sciences programs. The DCF represents the last year of GSAS tuition grants and fellowships.


For eligible PhD students who entered in fall 2005 or later. Students must:

  • have completed all departmental requirements;
  • have an approved dissertation prospectus;
  • have 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.
  • 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.

To receive a DCF, students must review and follow all instructions in the Dissertation Completion Fellowship section 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.

  • 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 should plan to invoke their DCF funding during their fifth or sixth year, and no later than their seventh year. DCFs are not guaranteed beyond the G7 year; however, requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the recommendation of a faculty advisor.
  • DCFs are held for one academic year and cannot be split over two academic years.
  • While on a DCF, students may not hold a teaching appointment or other form of employment.
  • The DCF may not be combined with grants from other sources, although exceptions are made for smaller grants. Students should contact their financial aid officer for guidance.
  • Students who receive an award from a Harvard research center, a department, or from an external funding source must accept that award. In the event that the award is less than the standard GSAS stipend, tuition, and health fees, GSAS will provide a supplement to make up the difference. In certain instances, bonuses may be offered for receiving an alternative award.
  • Students may not receive research fellowships and DCFs concurrently. Any student choosing to apply for a research fellowship must withdraw their DCF application; otherwise, the research fellowship may be counted as support for the completion year, and the student will be ineligible for a DCF in future years.
  • Students are expected to complete their dissertations during the completion year.
  • Students who do not finish their dissertations may register for one more academic year during which time they do not receive GSAS tuition and fellowship support. They may, however, teach or apply for educational loans.


Stipend amount varies by award and are noted in the Notice of Financial Support. After a student is awarded a DCF, the stipend amount will appear in the GSAS Student Aid Portal.


Stipends are disbursed on or around the first day of the month.