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A student pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree (PhD), the highest degree in any field of study, usually is required to complete certain units of coursework, take comprehensive examinations and defend a dissertation, also known as a doctoral thesis. A dissertation involves exhaustive research work that might even require travel in and out of the country and might entail expenses that some students can't completely afford. There are many types of PhD funding that a student can get in order to help pay these costs. The types of PhD funding include grants, scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships and loans.
A grant is a sum of money given to a PhD student by the donor based primarily on need. The donor might be a government or non-government organization or a private company engaged in business for a profit. A grant is given to a student for him or her to answer a question or work on a specific problem, thus, a student is required to submit an application that highlights the significance of his or her study and presents its outline. Donors vary in purpose and criteria in awarding a grant. Some donors, for instance, issue a grant based on religious affiliation or the sector in society to which the student belongs.
A scholarship is another form of PhD funding that need not be repaid by a student. The endowment of a scholarship is based mainly on the merits of the applicant such as academic excellence and aptitude. Like a grant, a scholarship can be sourced from the school or external entities such as government organizations, non-government groups or private institutions.
A fellowship is another form of PhD funding that a student can receive from government and private organizations or institutions. Some fellowships are granted through schools. The application process for a fellowship varies among schools. Some schools allow a student to apply directly with them for a fellowship. Other schools require a faculty member’s recommendation.
A teaching assistantship offers a student the ability to learn how to teach while being compensated by means of a stipend and a reduction in tuition. This job might be tasking for a student, because aside from teaching, there are additional tasks that he or she must do, such as administering laboratory sessions and grading the examinations and papers of undergraduate students. The experience, however, can be rewarding in terms of experience in and out of the classroom. As a training assistant, a student will be able to work together with the faculty and gain more insight that can improve his or her chances of gaining a PhD degree.
A loan is the most unattractive option of PhD funding, because it requires repayment. It might be acquired through government, private individuals or lending institutions. There also are schools that provide loan assistance. The requirements for obtaining a loan vary among creditors in terms of the application process, the interest charged and the payment plan.
Information on the availability and details of PhD funding can be obtained from brochures and announcements posted in school bulletin boards and, in some cases, in newspapers and on school websites. There also are websites catering to the academic community that discuss PhD funding. Students are cautioned to look at the details of advertisements in newspapers, in brochures and on the web. They must be discerning in order to avoid becoming victims of a scam.