Ph.D. Student Funding Packages
Penn offers full funding packages for most Ph.D. students, which include scholarships covering tuition and fees, stipends for four years or more, medical insurance, and fitness center memberships.
Since 2005, Penn has increased the minimum stipend for Ph.D. students by an average of 3.7 percent each year, with higher increases over the past four years (4 percent or more). Beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, the University will raise the minimum stipend to $38,000 (up from $30,547). This is the largest one-time increase in the University’s history, determined after extensive collaboration across our nine schools and with GAPSA.
Medical and Dental Care
Penn offers a benefits-rich health insurance package to fully funded Ph.D. students. It provides comprehensive coverage, including an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit, prescription coverage, treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, comprehensive infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) coverage, and no maximum amount limit on gender confirmation surgery. Students also receive discounted gym memberships through Husk (previously called GlobalFit).
Insurance Grants for Ph.D. Students
Penn has committed over $1 million in annual funding for need-based grants to Ph.D. students in good standing to help defray the costs of extended health insurance, as well as optional dental insurance. For more information, including on the application process and deadlines, visit the Insurance Grants website.
Advising & Mentoring Ph.D. Students
Responding to student requests for more clarification about advising expectations, the University developed a uniform guide for students and faculty on Advising & Mentoring Ph.D. Students. A link to the guide is available here.
Penn provides a number of fellowships to further support student research and travel.
Presidential Ph.D. Fellowships
The President’s Ph.D. Initiative supports Presidential Ph.D. Fellows receive a competitive funding package, which includes $10,000 in research funds for three years. For more details, see the President’s Ph.D. Initiative website.
Fontaine Fellowships advance the University’s goals related to enrolling a diverse student body and fostering a vibrant intellectual environment. Fontaine Fellows are nominated upon admission to Penn and include students who are historically underrepresented in higher education, first generation students, students from low-income families, and/or students whose research interests are underrepresented in a specific discipline or field. For more details, see the Fontaine Society website.
Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellowship
Graduate Academic Engagement Fellows are outstanding students whose scholarship significantly involves Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) and related activities, including locally based community problem-solving, engaged scholarship, service learning, and learning by teaching in public schools. For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, see the Netter Center website.
Expanded GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation
The Office of the Provost and GAPSA have together increased financial commitment to enable significant expansion of the GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation, providing funding for more students and for application during any or all semesters. For more information about this fellowship, visit the GAPSA website.
The President Gutmann Leadership Award
The Office of the President generously provides additional funding to augment GAPSA’s programs for graduate student travel. The award is given to students presenting their research at a conference (either within the United States or internationally) that would normally be out of their budget, even with an individual travel grant through GAPSA. For more information, visit the GAPSA website.
Ph.D. Leave of Absence Policy
The Ph.D. Student Leave of Absence policy allows Ph.D. students to take a leave of absence for military duty, medical reasons, or family leave. Military, medical, and family leave “stops the clock” on time to completion. Personal leave for other reasons may be granted with the approval of the Graduate Group Chair in consultation with the Graduate Dean of the student’s school, but does not, absent exceptional circumstances, “stop the clock” on time to completion.
Ph.D. students whose funding includes health insurance coverage will receive one full semester of Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP) coverage while on medical or family leave. Students can petition for a second semester of coverage. Additional information about the Ph.D. Student Leave of Absence Policy can be found here.