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Fully Funded PHD Programs in USA For International Students

The USA is home to several of the greatest research universities in the world, so it should come as no surprise that PhD students go there in large numbers.

Despite having a bad image for being an expensive study destination, the United States offers some incredible chances for PhD financing (including many fully-funded PhD programmes for international students).

This website will provide you an overview of average doctoral program costs in the USA and a guide to some of the more generous PhD funding options offered by American colleges.

What you first need to know about American PhD financing

As we’ve already established, the USA has a bad reputation for being costly, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you.

There is a reason why so many American colleges are among the best in the world; these institutions frequently have enormous budgets and endowments, which enable them to provide substantial fully-funded PhD scholarships to graduate students (regardless of nationality).

When beginning your search for PhD financing in the USA, keep the following important considerations in mind:

  • You won’t necessarily pay more than an out-of-state domestic student if you attend a public university in the United States since they discriminate between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
  • International and domestic students are not separated at private universities.
  • Universities frequently provide exceptional graduate students with “full-ride” PhD fellowships.
  • For international students wishing to continue their research in the United States, the Fulbright Commission runs a number of financing programs.
  • Citizens of the United States can get federal student loans.

Cost of a PhD in the United States

It comes as no surprise that American PhD fees vary widely given the wide range of universities that offer PhD programs there. On the basis of extremely high numbers for famous Ivy League colleges, they also frequently tend to be overstated or otherwise reported incorrectly. These are not normal.

True costs differ across public and private universities and may rely on a student’s residency status:

  • Public institutions charge in-state students pursuing graduate degrees an average of $12,394 each year. Be aware that out-of-state tuition costs, particularly those for international students, are higher.
  • Private institutions charge each graduate student in the program an average of $26,621 a year.

The National Center for Education Statistics in the US provided the data on which these numbers were based. Public universities will often be less expensive than private universities, but they will charge out-of-state tuition that is more expensive to overseas students. This might imply that the real charge difference is less than it seems above. On the other side, private institutions could have access to greater funds.

Search for a few programs in your field and compare their costs to get an idea of the tuition costs you may expect to spend for a US PhD. Just be sure you’re comparing like items; some colleges mention costs per year, while others could show fees by semester or per credit.

Living costs

It is very hard to provide exact data for student living expenses across all 50 states due to the vastness of the USA. Thus, we haven’t. But you should unquestionably take this into account while you’re planning and researching. In the USA, certain regions are far more inexpensive than others. The international office at your institution may be able to give you an idea of what it usually costs graduate students for things like housing, food, and transportation.

Other expenses

When processing graduate school applications, American colleges typically demand extra costs. You’ll also need to set aside money for your visa, language tests, and admissions exams.

Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships

An organization devoted to developing collaborations in research between the United States and the United Kingdom is the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

Each year, they provide gifted British students with postgraduate scholarships to assist them attend American universities (and vice versa).

The advantages of a Fulbright Postgraduate Award include:

  • A contribution towards your tuition fees (this could cover the first year of fees or fully-fund the entire degree, depending on the award and institution)
  • Health insurance cover
  • Visa sponsorship

Additionally, Fulbright Scholars will benefit from the assistance of the Institute of International Education and important networking possibilities provided by a worldwide alumni organization (IIE).

There are many Fulbright Postgraduate Awards available, some of which give a fully funded PhD while others merely waive tuition for one year. On their website, you may learn more about the Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships.

Eligibility for Fulbright Postgraduate Awards

The primary qualification for a US-UK Fulbright Award is, obviously, that you must be a citizen of the United Kingdom. However, you can also be eligible to apply if you’re a foreign citizen who has made residence in the UK.

You must also have at least a 2.1 on your undergraduate transcript (although a 2.2 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis).

The ideal applicant won’t have spent more than six months in the US before because the US-UK Fulbright Commission’s main objective is to promote fresh ties between the two countries.

Applying for a Fulbright Postgraduate Award

The Fulbright Award application process typically begins in August and closes in early November.

You must submit an online application with the required information and supporting documentation.

  • Academic transcripts
  • CV
  • Passport photo
  • Personal statement
  • References
  • Research objectives

Additionally, you will need to submit a separate application to the university where you intend to pursue your PhD.

Candidates who have been shortlisted will be invited to an interview in February of the following year.

University PhD scholarships

In reality, US colleges frequently offer fully-funded PhD programs to overseas students, but it is quite uncommon for successful graduate school applicants to be completely self-supporting. Although the “sticker price” for a US PhD may appear costly, that is generally not what you will actually have to spend.

There will be several types of funding. ‘Full-ride’ PhD scholarships will pay tuition, living expenses, and other expenditures. Partial cost reductions or complete charge waivers are two other popular alternatives.

Public institutions will often receive less financing than private universities (though they will also have higher fees). Using a legitimate service offered by Education USA, you may look for some of the PhD funding that is available. However, be aware that this list is not complete; be careful to check with the institution you are thinking about.

You may check out the list of foreign PhD scholarships offered at some of the best American colleges below since we’ve done some of the legwork for you.

Harvard UniversityPhD scholarships
California Institute of TechnologyPhD scholarships
Stanford UniversityPhD scholarships
Massachussetts Institute of TechnologyPhD scholarships
Princeton UniversityPhD scholarships
University of California, BerkeleyPhD scholarships
Yale UniversityPhD scholarships
University of ChicagoPhD scholarships
Columbia UniversityPhD scholarships
Johns Hopkins UniversityPhD scholarships
University of PennsylvaniaPhD scholarships
University of California, Los AngelesPhD scholarships
Cornell UniversityPhD scholarships
Duke UniversityPhD scholarships
University of Michigan-Ann ArborPhD scholarships
Northwestern UniversityPhD scholarships
New York UniversityPhD scholarships
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPhD scholarships
University of WashingtonPhD scholarships
University of California, San DiegoPhD scholarships


Universities in the US frequently give their graduate students assistantship roles in addition to direct support. These are essentially jobs with the university where you do a variety of duties in exchange for a stipend or a remission of fees.

A few examples of common assistantships are:

  • Graduate teaching assistantships – These entail guiding and instructing undergrads in courses relating to your field. Leading discussion groups, grading essays, and assisting with course administration are just a few examples of duties. These kind of graduate students are commonly referred to as “adjunct professors” or “TAs” (teaching assistants). Get additional information on graduate teaching assistantships.
  • Research assistantships – These entail supporting academic researchers. Regular tasks may involve gathering and documenting data, watching over experiments, or setting up equipment.
  • Administrative assistantships – These entail doing administrative, secretarial, and clerical tasks for the college or graduate program. Data input and administration, aiding with meetings and other events, and assisting with daily office chores are just a few examples of responsibilities.
  • Fellowships – These don’t need extra effort, but they can be subject to requirements that you meet about your academic performance or the research you are doing.

The most popular types of assistantships are graduate teaching and research positions, but it’s worth looking into what other universities have to offer.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

For excellent STEM graduate students in the USA, the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) offers the chance of a fully financed PhD. More than 40 Nobel Prize winners have been past fellows.

Over a three-year period, the GRFP delivers the following financial advantages:

  • $37,000 annual stipend
  • Tuition fee allowance of $12,000 (paid directly to the university)

Candidates for the NSF GRFP must be:

  • American nationals, permanent residents, or citizens
  • Graduate students beginning a research-based Masters or PhD degree in a STEM field First-time Masters or PhD students

As you might anticipate, there is fierce competition for these esteemed fellowships, with 12,000 applications being submitted for 2,000 openings.

An NSF GRFP application consists of the following four components:

  • Personal assertion
  • Statement of a graduate research plan
  • Academic transcripts
  • Two or three reference letters

The due date for these submissions is typically around the middle to late of October, and the results are disclosed at the start of April.

The NSF GRFP website has further information.

Find out more about Fully funded MBA in Canada



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