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Programs Question about PhD funding in USA

  1. Jul 25, 2012 #1
    I am told that most doctoral programs in the USA for the sciences are fully funded, and some even come with a stipend, because they need research and teaching assistants.

    Fair enough, but would "computer science", "economics", and "psychology" also be considered sciences for this purpose? Are their PhD programs generally fully funded? Or maybe slightly less funded than that for math and physics?

    What about for engineering?

    What about for less scientific fields like history and philosophy?

    And what about foreign languages?

    Is there a rule of thumb as to which subjects generally receive the fully funded PhD?

    Note: I am asking only about the USA, not about other places!!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2012 #2
    Computer science yes. Don't know about the other two.

    I know education isn't. The two groups of people I know that go for education Ph.D.'s are foreign students whose parents have assets, and evening school people that are looking for a Ph.D. for career advancement, and are funding the Ph.D. from their day job. People do get teaching assistantships, but those are usually "scholarship prizes" and rather highly prestigious ones.

    Yes. The rule of thumb is how much the Federal government fund the positions. The Federal government spends a huge amount of money in the sciences, and that money goes to pay teaching assistants. It spends a lot less money on history and philosophy.
  4. Jul 25, 2012 #3
    Like everything, it depends.

    In most engineering schools in the US, you will get a stipend and full tuition if you are a Ph.D. student. It is a lot more variable for the MS. Sometimes this gets dicey in hard economic times and you may end up paying some or being a teaching assistant more than you would like.

    As far as Education goes, I imagine twofish-quant is mostly right, but my sister is an Education professor and she didn't have to pay for school (she had grants, teaching assitanyships, and research assistantships)
  5. Jul 25, 2012 #4


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    I can't say about psychology, but I have a friend who had finished his PhD in economics at Princeton, and his program was fully funded; my understanding from him is that this is typical of economics PhD programs in the US.

    Since the US federal government spends an enormous sums on the sciences and technology through various means, I would imagine that engineering PhD programs are also fully funded.
  6. Jul 25, 2012 #5
    I was looking at economics PhD's a while back and it seems that generally they are funded as well and provide a stipend. Considering the best programs have an acceptance rate of around 1-3%, I'm sure they don't have any trouble paying for it. It seems that virtually everyone who is accepted takes on a role as a TA early in the program and receives funding throughout. The main programs I was interested in were Vanderbilt in Nashville and Emory in Atlanta.
  7. Jul 25, 2012 #6
    One other thing about economics and business programs that makes things very different from physics is that economics and business Ph.D.'s are pretty much guaranteed a high paying tenure track position once then graduate.

    One difference is that the admission rates for these programs are tiny, and there are lots of alternative jobs, and being in academia is in some ways much less prestigious than going into industry. Calling someone an "academic" on Wall Street is pretty close to an insult.

    Also physics programs aren't heavily "tiered" but economics and business programs are.
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