The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a comprehensive program of financial support, including grants and fellowships from internal and external sources, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, other academic employment opportunities, and several types of loans.

Funding for PhD Students

Standard Funding Package

Harvard guarantees full financial support to PhD students—including tuition, health fees, and basic living expenses—for a minimum of five years (typically the first four years of study and the completion year), using a tiered tuition structure which reduces tuition over time as students progress through their degree programs. This multi-year funding package includes a combination of tuition grants, stipends, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic appointments. In addition, GSAS students are particularly successful in securing grants, fellowships, and other sources of external funding as part of their professional development.

The standard funding package includes:

  • Grant toward tuition and fees—paid in full for years 1 through 4, plus the dissertation completion year
  • Living expense stipend during years 1 and 2
  • A combination of stipend, teaching fellowships, and/or research assistantships during years 3 and 4
  • If noted in your Notice of Financial Support, summer research funding following the first four academic years from GSAS or faculty grants
  • Stipend and/or research support during the completion year.

In some programs, the timing and structure of living expense support may vary from this pattern. For example, students in the sciences typically receive full funding until they complete their degrees.


Funding for Master's Students

Funding Your Education

Your graduate education at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is an important investment that you are making in yourself and your future. As you prepare to take this next step in advancing your education, the GSAS Office of Financial Aid is on hand to provide the information and resources you need to develop strategies for financing your graduate education.

A successful strategy for funding your education begins with committing to responsible financial management through early financial planning, reducing consumer debt, and exploring all available external funding opportunities. GSAS is dedicated to partnering with you to navigate your funding options and make informed decisions.

Cost of Attendance

Understanding what costs to expect during a year at GSAS is a key step in preparing financially for graduate school. To help you plan, we have developed an itemized budget that includes typical living expenses along with the cost of tuition and fees. Keep in mind the Cost of Attendance is a general budget and your personal expenses may be higher or lower, but it is a great place to start when developing your own budget.

Identifying Your Expenses and Resources

The first step in creating a strategy for funding your education is to create a personal budget that outlines your expenses and any resources available to you. When thinking about your budget, consider expenses specific to you that may not appear in the cost of attendance estimates provided by GSAS. For example, you may need to add in loan payments, credit card payments, or family expenses. If you have identified a gap between your expenses and resources, you will want to explore the options in the Sources of Funding section below for ideas on how to fill that gap.

Consumer Debt

Consumer debt frequently carries a high interest rate and is not an allowable expense when determining eligibility for most sources of student financial assistance. Incoming students are encouraged pay down their consumer debt as much as possible prior to starting graduate school.

Health Insurance

All GSAS students studying on campus are automatically enrolled in the Harvard Student Health Insurance Program, which has two components: the Student Health Fee and the Student Health Insurance Plan. These two fees are included in the standard cost of attendance budget.

US and Massachusetts law requires that all students have health insurance, and the student insurance program provided by Harvard meets this requirement. Students who have comparable health coverage from another source may elect to waive the Student Health Insurance Plan component. You can read more about the Student Health Insurance Program, including a checklist of things to consider if you are exploring alternate coverage.

Students enrolled in the Student Health Fee and Student Health Insurance Plan are eligible to obtain health coverage for their dependents at additional cost. Important information about the various plans and rates can be found on the dependent section of the Harvard University Student Health Program website.


Whether you are interested in living in one of the four GSAS residence halls, looking for an on- or off-campus apartment, or hoping to find a roommate, the Office of Residential Life can direct you to resources to help with your search.

Sources of Funding

GSAS has many resources available to assist you in funding your graduate education at Harvard. Below you will find links to databases and programs offering multiple types of aid.

All Master’s Students

  • Pivot is a searchable database of federal and private funding opportunities in all fields. You can refer to the Pivot Guide (PDF) for guidance on using this database.
  • CARAT is a database that allows students to search for fellowship opportunities by keyword, citizenship requirement, length of opportunity, stage in graduate school, and more. Through CARAT, you can find links to application materials and instructions on how to apply.
  • Both U.S. citizens and international students can apply for a loan through the Harvard University Employees Credit Union. The HUECU loan has a yearly maximum of $20,000 and a lifetime limit of $50,000. One advantage to this type of loan is that it does not require a US co-signer. 
  • If you are interested in exploring private loan options, Harvard has compiled information to help guide the search process. While Harvard does not endorse any of these loans, you may find it beneficial to compare the terms of several loan types in order to find the option that best fits your needs.
  • There are employment opportunities on campus that are not federal work-study specific.
  • Additional benefits may also be available to veterans of the US armed forces. 

US Citizens and Permanent Residents 

  • US citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for Federal Student Loans. The US Department of Education offers several loan programs for graduate students.
  • US citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for Federal Work-Study. The Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) is a federally funded financial aid program.
The US Department of Education offers several aid programs for graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents. Details about these programs are listed below and on the US Department of Education Federal Student Aid website. Students interested in federal student aid should do the...Read more
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