Humanities and Social Sciences
As an incentive to seek outside awards, PhD students who receive a competitively awarded external fellowship during an academic year (September through May) in which they would have otherwise received a GSAS-funded fellowship may choose to either:
- receive a supplement to the external fellowship (top-off)
- extend a year of GSAS funding.
1. The Top-Off of an External Fellowship
Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who choose the top-off option to supplement their outside award with their GSAS funding will receive GSAS funds up to a maximum of $6,000 above the standard academic year stipend. Students whose academic year awards exceed this amount may prefer to use option 2, extending a year of GSAS funding, and “bank” their GSAS fellowship for future use.
Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who wish to top off an external fellowship should complete the Statement of Understanding form, sign it, have it signed by your departmental administrator, and send it to the GSAS Office of Financial Aid, 107 Low Library, MC 4304, by August 1 (for the fall semester or for the academic year), or by December 16 (for spring-semester-only awards).
Students who receive either an outside award during the academic year for which the stipend is at least two-thirds of the GSAS standard academic year stipend or who receive an academic year Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) award will not be required to teach during the period of the outside award unless the student will not have another opportunity to complete the GSAS one-year instructional requirement.
Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who receive an external fellowship that is awarded explicitly for the months of June, July, and August will also receive their GSAS summer stipend.
2. Extension of GSAS Funding
Instead of topping off, students in the Humanities and Social Sciences may choose to defer a year (or, a semester, for semester-long awards) of their GSAS multiyear fellowship, subject to the GSAS instructional requirement for PhD students. Students who select this option will not be topped off.
Students in the Humanities and Social Sciences will receive neither option until GSAS receives the Statement of Understanding form. Students whose forms are not received by August 1 (for the fall semester or for the academic year) or by December 16 (for spring-semester-only awards) will automatically receive the "Top-Off of External Fellowship" option and will not defer their GSAS funding.
Students who do not use their deferred GSAS fellowship by the end of their seventh year will not receive retroactive top-off funding.
GSAS will provide coverage for M&F tuition and health fees, as well as the international service fee if applicable, for 6th and 7th year students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who have external awards when the following conditions apply:
- the external granting agency requires that Columbia covers the tuition and fees, OR
- the value of the external award is greater than or equal to what we define as a "significant award" under our external award policy (i.e. two-thirds of the standard academic year stipend)
For awards that are less than two-thirds of the standard academic year stipend, GSAS is willing to negotiate a cost-sharing arrangement with the department to cover the M&F tuition and related fees.
This policy does not apply to dissertation fellowships supported by departmentally controlled noncentral endowments, faculty research grants, awards that are granted through internal selection committees, or teaching assistantships, such as the Cordier, PEPM, IRAAS, IRWAGS, and CSER, for example.
GSAS allows students in Natural Sciences departments to top off their external awards with their multiyear package up to a maximum funding cap. Students in departments that support students in the summer on faculty research grants* who hold external awards whose stipend value is greater than $15,000 may combine their GSAS and external awards up to a maximum of $42,000. Awards that are below the $15,000 threshold will be topped off up to the annual stipend rate. Students in the remaining Natural Sciences departments whose awards include stipends greater than $15,000 and a tuition grant (“cost-of-education allowance”) of at least $10,000 will be topped off to a maximum of $42,000. If those levels of stipend and tuition are not met, students may combine their GSAS and external awards up to a maximum of $6,000 above the academic year (September through May) stipend. Students in Natural Sciences departments are not eligible to extend a year of GSAS funding. Accordingly, students in the Natural Sciences do not need to submit the Statement of Understanding form.
*Those departments include Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physics, and Psychology.