PhD scholarships
American colleges and universities are home to the best and brightest from all over the world. Source: James Gilbert / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP

If you’re an international student looking for PhD scholarships, consider the US. With over 4,000 universities and six different time zones across 50 states, the US is one of the most popular study destinations in the world. Three main reasons why the US continues to attract PhD students despite their geographical location (usually taking up to two days to arrive from elsewhere) and high living costs as befits a developed nation, are outlined below.

Firstly, the US is home to many world-class universities with robust global  rankings – some of them are even in the top 100 world universities. Even though ranking is not an all-important reason to choose a university to do a PhD, it makes sense to study in one of the world’s best-ranked universities, and where else but to choose the US.

Secondly, the US PhD takes a longer time than PhDs in other countries. This is not necessarily a bad thing because when the US PhD takes up to five years or longer to complete, you will have more time to adjust, settle in and eventually thrive in your studies.

Finally, students doing their PhDs in the US are almost guaranteed to have a tuition fee waiver. They will get a stipend from the university for the entire duration of their studies as well, which makes for an attractive incentive.

PhD scholarships

If you have ever wanted to go to the US to do your PhD but need a scholarship, now you can, with these US PhD scholarships at top-ranked universities. Source: Justin Heiman/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

However, if you want to get this funded PhD in the US, especially in the top-ranked universities, it is always a good idea to apply as early as possible before their deadlines. If you miss the scholarship deadline, you can still apply and be accepted for the PhD.

Here is a list of US PhD scholarships and stipends that will help you achieve your dream of studying in the US.

PhD Scholarship 1: University of Idaho

As one of the top 100 for the best value in the US, the University of Idaho is a great choice to do your PhD, thanks to the low cost of living and tuition fees. The College of Graduate Studies has several knowledgeable staff who can advise you on the wide array of financial aid resources as well.

You need to have a relevant master’s degree to be able to apply for this scholarship by Apr. 1, 2022. Besides the scholarship application, you have to submit a 500 to 1,000-word essay or a two to five-minute video that describes your aspirations to conduct projects, research or other opportunities to increase intercultural understanding.

PhD Scholarship 2: University of Colorado Boulder

As one of 36 US public research institutions in the Association of American Universities – an elite group of recognised research universities – the University of Colorado Boulder has many enviable rankings such as being the first university to have a STARS Gold for sustainability. Their warm student-centred campus community ensures you will not feel out of place.

The Incoming Graduate Student Fellowship – with a Feb. 11, 2022 deadline under the Centre for Humanities and the Arts – will cover up to 18 credits of tuition per semester, student fees, health insurance as well as a first-year stipend equivalent to a 50% Graduate Part-Time Instructor appointment. You must be enroled as a doctoral student and working in the humanities or arts.

PhD Scholarship 3: Vanderbilt University 

Thanks to an innovative mix of immersive learning, integrated research and collaborative culture, Vanderbilt University is ranked the country’s #14 National University, and #1 for its education, nursing and audiology graduate programmes (US World and News Report 2021). Their location in Nashville, Tennessee allows students to enjoy a world-class city experience in a small college-feel town.

Qualified PhD applicants can apply for the University Graduate Fellowship by Jan. 15, 2022 in order to be nominated by their department. They will receive a stipend of up to US$5,000 for up to three years of their PhD studies.

PhD Scholarship 4 and 5: Washington University in St. Louis

Founded in 1853 in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis attracts over 15,500 students from 100 countries and all 50 US states. They are well-known for being among the world’s leaders in teaching, research, patient care and service to society.

Below are two scholarships – both with a deadline of Jan. 25, 2022 – offered to students wanting to apply to the Graduate School, Washington University in St. Louis:

Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship

Graduate students with strong academic records, and a keen interest in diversity and service can apply for this Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship where they will receive academic, professional and personal support. You need to have a US undergraduate degree and have a desire to become a college or university professor.

Fellowship winners enjoy an annual stipend of US$36,720 (2021-22 rate), full tuition coverage, an educational allowance of US$1,500 and priority housing. 

Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellowship for Women in Graduate Study

This Fellowship – co-sponsored by the University and the Monticello College Foundation – is especially created to encourage more women to take up graduate study, and serve society afterwards.

The successful recipients will receive an annual stipend worth US$36,720 and a US$600 travel award besides full tuition remission throughout their programme.

PhD Scholarship 6: University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is well recognised as one of the most famous public research universities in the US. Over 50,000 students study at this university, which spans five campuses including the main Twin Cities campus.

The Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship Programme is available for exceptional research graduate students with diverse life and educational backgrounds who are underrepresented within graduate programmes.

They need to be nominated first by the Director of Graduate Studies in their respective graduate programme; they will get a stipend worth US$25,000, academic tuition for up to 14 graduate-rate credits per semester, health insurance subsidy and dental care.

PhD Scholarship 7: University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin – ranked as the top public university in Texas (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019) – has other high rankings including being #14 Public University (US News and World Report 2019). Their global world ranking is #67 (QS World University Rankings 2022) as well.

Through this Donald D. Harrington Graduate Fellows Programme Fellowship, recruited talented students are envisioned to share their knowledge and success with future generations. A stipend of US$40,000 for 12 months, tuition and required fees, an allowance for student medical insurance, and US$2,000 for miscellaneous expenses make up this generous funding package; the deadline is Jan. 24, 2022.

The following universities and institutions have not indicated any deadlines for their graduate fellowships, but you can contact them for further information.

PhD Scholarship 8: University of Oregon

As a Tier-One National Public Research University and being the top public university in Oregon (for first-year retention and graduation rates), the University of Oregon attracts over 22,000 students. It has nine schools and colleges. 

The International Cultural Service Programme is an annual tuition waiver scholarship ranging from US$9,000 to US$35,000 for up to 15 credits per term. Winners are required to do cultural service in the form of presentations about their home country to children, community organisations and the university’s students and faculty.

PhD Scholarships 9 and 10: East-West Centre

The East-West Centre, established by the US Congress in 1960, is a nonprofit organisation acting as a US-based institution for public diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. Located adjacent to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), the centre’s Honolulu campus spans 21 acres.

Below are two Fellowships – established since 1999 through the Y. S. Lee Family Endowed Fellowship Fund and worth US$5,000 each – available for graduate students.

Wing-tsit Chan Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Philosophy

For students interested in Chinese philosophy, they can apply for this fellowship. They need to be nominated by the UHM Philosophy Department and selected by a committee that includes representatives from the East-West Centre’s Education Programme, the department’s Graduate Committee, and a member of the UH Center for Chinese Studies Executive Committee.

Ah Kin (Buck) Yee Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Studies

The recipient should ideally have been accepted for full-time graduate study in any field of Chinese studies. You need to apply via the University of Hawaii’s Student Scholarships website.