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Financial Support via Guaranteed Teaching

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The standard PhD student financial support package includes a teaching component.

The teaching component of the financial support package consists of the equivalent of two standard sections of teaching per term for four terms, except for students in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, who are offered three terms. A standard section of teaching is defined as a section compensated using teaching rate B (formerly referred to as .2 FTE). These teaching appointments are guaranteed by the student’s academic program, provided the student has met all program-specific teaching criteria.

During those terms in which a student’s funding package includes teaching, the student is guaranteed total living expense support comparable to that being offered to current G1 and G2 students. In most cases, teaching compensation does not meet this threshold by itself, and Harvard Griffin GSAS provides a supplemental stipend (the “TF Top-Up”) to make up the difference.

It is the joint responsibility of the student and their program to identify available teaching opportunities that can be used to fulfill the teaching guarantee of two standard sections per term. Students may teach in areas outside of their programs. Teaching appointments in the Program in General Education or other academic programs will count toward the guarantee. Students needing assistance in securing teaching should consult their program administrators for guidance. 

Invoking Guaranteed Teaching

Students invoke guaranteed teaching by confirming their teaching plans through the Harvard Griffin GSAS Student Aid Portal during the annual financial aid acceptance process. Based on this information, programs then begin the process of working with students to identify opportunities for guaranteed teaching. For this reason, students must alert their financial aid officers of any changes to their teaching plans no later than July 1 for the fall term, or December 1 for the spring term.

Deferring Support

Harvard Griffin GSAS permits students to defer guaranteed teaching to a term later than noted in the Notice of Financial Support. Students electing to defer teaching indicate their intention through the Harvard Griffin GSAS Student Aid Portal during the annual financial aid acceptance process.

Students may not defer their guaranteed teaching beyond the departmental G6 year.

Students who are considering deferring guaranteed teaching are strongly encouraged to contact their financial aid officers to review how such actions may impact their funding in future years.

Teaching Supplement (TF "Top-Up")


The teaching supplement (TF “Top-Up”) is for PhD students in the humanities and social science programs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who (1) have invoked one of their three (applies to East Asian Languages and Civilizations students only) or four (applies to all other FAS-based humanities and social science programs) terms of guaranteed teaching and (2) are receiving total compensation that falls below the amount of the standard Harvard Griffin GSAS living stipend offered during the first two years of study. The purpose of the supplement is to ensure that students with guaranteed funding do not have to teach more than two standard sections per term to receive stipend-level financial support, while also not penalizing students if they elect to teach more than two standard sections per term. 

  • Eligibility for the teaching supplement is determined each term.
  • Students who are unable to teach because they have not met their program's prerequisites for teaching eligibility or who have voluntarily elected to teach less than the guaranteed two standard section equivalent are not typically eligible for the supplement.
  • Occasionally, a program may offer a student a guaranteed research assistantship or other paid opportunity instead of guaranteed teaching. In such cases, these non-teaching appointments can be substituted for the guaranteed two standard section equivalent. 
  • Earnings from an external fellowship may be eligible to be substituted for the guaranteed two standard section equivalent for students who (1) are receiving an external, non-Harvard stipend that provides them with earnings comparable to the guaranteed two standard section equivalent and (2) anticipate not being able to utilize their unused semesters of guaranteed teaching fellowship before taking their dissertation completion fellowship. Students should contact their financial aid officer for more information. 


For students appointed to two standard sections of teaching each term at the senior rate in 2023-2024, the resulting supplement is $5,080 per term. This amount corresponds to the difference between the standard G1 stipend of $17,850 and the total two-section teaching compensation of $12,770.

  • Students who choose to work more than the guaranteed two standard sections may earn up to $4,000 in additional income each term without any reduction to that term’s supplement. Any earnings above $4,000 in a single term will trigger a dollar-for-dollar reduction in that term’s supplement.
  • When calculating the amount of the supplement, all income and funding a student receives is taken into consideration including, but not limited to:
    • teaching
    • concentration advising
    • thesis advising
    • tutorials
    • research assistantships
    • outside awards
    • other stipends

Disbursement schedule

Students eligible for the teaching supplement will receive monthly disbursements on or around the first of each month over the course of the term (September through January for fall term, or February through June for spring). If a student’s teaching load changes over the course of the term, the supplement will be recalculated and adjusted accordingly.

Please note that the payroll schedule for teaching fellow compensation differs from the payment schedule for the teaching supplement. TF paychecks are issued on or around the 15th of the month (August through December for fall term, January through May for spring).

Each paycheck for Teaching Fellow compensation is intended to be combined with the teaching supplement issued on or around the first of the following month and used toward living expenses for that month. For example, the August 15 paycheck for Teaching Fellow Compensation is intended to be combined with the September 1 Teaching Supplement paycheck to be used toward September living expenses.

For questions about your paycheck for Teaching Fellow compensation, please contact your hiring department. For questions about your teaching supplement, please consult your financial aid officer

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