Financial Aid

We commit to supporting our graduate students through their sixth year, as long as they are considered to be making progress towards their degree.

The Biology department, in conjunction with The Graduate School and external funding entities, will support you at or above the standard departmental stipend level and cover your tuition and fees for six years

Stipend

For the first academic year of grad school,  we offer fellowships to our incoming students, requiring no service. These pay a stipend of $24,300 for the first year (9 months/year). An additional Summer fellowship, requiring no service, is provided for the first two years. Full tuition, student health fees, the transcript fee, and payment of the annual premium for the Duke Health Insurance Plan are also covered by the department, together with the Grad School.

Support for the second and subsequent years will most likely be in the form of a Teaching Assistantship (TA) for each academic year, or in some cases, a Research Assistantship offered by a faculty member. The TA funding will require the student to serve as an assistant in one course per semester. When serving as a TA, the student will receive a 9-month salary ($24,300 for the 20-21 year). Tuition and fees will also be covered. Summer funding for the 3rd and subsequent years will depend on Research Assistantships provided by your advisor or from external fellowships.

Tuition and fees

If you receive a departmental Teaching or Research Assistantship, your full tuition, student health fees, the transcript fee, and payment of the annual premium for the Duke Health Insurance Plan are covered by the department, together with the Graduate School.

Teaching requirement

Note that, as part of their academic requirements, all Ph.D. students in the Biology department are expected to teach for two semesters. This teaching requirement must be met during your graduate studies.

Departmental Support

In general, a student’s support package from the department may comprise several types of funding, including the following:

  • Full or partial scholarships: Cover tuition and fee expenses.
  • Fellowship stipends: Require no service. Selection for these fellowships is usually made by a faculty committee.
  • Training program appointments: For US citizens and permanent residents participating in federally funded training programs.
  • Research assistantships: Available for graduate students whose special training and qualifications enable them to serve as assistants to individual faculty staff members in certain departments.
  • Graduate assistantships: Available for full-time Ph.D. and master’s students who perform a combination of teaching and incidental research activities, generally under the direct supervision of their assigned adviser.
  • Teaching assistantships: Part-time instruction opportunities offered to qualified graduate students for work as instructors, preceptors and section leaders, tutors, and graders.

Other sources of funding

Graduate students can also be supported through funding from governmental agencies and private sources. Students play an integral part in the financial commitment. All students are expected to make a good-faith effort to obtain external fellowships at some point during their funding period. It is important to understand that the overall graduate awards budget is dependent on a significant number of students obtaining such external support. 

External fellowships normally replace awards from the Graduate School and/or the department.  If an incoming Biology graduate student wins an external fellowship that can be used for the first year of graduate study, the department and the Graduate School will expect the student to accept the external award.