Financial Aid

There are multiple ways for students to receive or earn support for their graduate studies. At this time all entering students receive financial aid, which normally is maintained for five years (subject to certain conditions, such as satisfactory progress toward the degree). After the first year, graduate assistantships will be substituted for fellowship aid.

Following the completion of five years of aid, students should expect to arrange for their own support. In this period, students should seek fellowship aid from inside and outside the university to assist them during their dissertation research. Several of our graduate students have been successful in obtaining prestigious fellowships in national competitions. In addition, students often seek other opportunities for part-time employment. Occasionally additional teaching opportunities arise within the department.

Financial Support Opportunities

Scholarship (tuition only) and Fellowship (tuition & income stipend) Aid

First-year students usually hold fellowships, which do not require service, and which pay tuition, fees, health insurance, as well as an income stipend. During subsequent years, the income stipend is normally replaced by a teaching- or research-assistantship. No separate application is required to be considered for fellowships.

Fellowships awarded to entering students include Departmental Graduate Fellowships, Mary Duke Biddle Fellowships in Composition, Fellowships in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, James B. Duke Fellowships, University Scholars Fellowships, Latin American Studies Fellowships, and A.J. Fletcher Fellowships in Performance Practice. Additional graduate fellowships are described in the Bulletin of the Graduate School.

A few University fellowships and assistantships are awarded during the dissertation-writing stage on a competitive basis; in addition, students often receive fellowship awards or dissertation grants from outside sources, such as the American Council of Learned Socieites (ACLS), Fulbright, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), or American Musicology Society (AMS 50).

Research Assistantships

Students who receive research assistantships are expected to assist a faculty member with research, and occasionally also with teaching (e.g., grading papers, preparing lectures). A minimum of 10 weekly hours of service are required, as stipulated in the letter of appointment. All assistant duties must be completed by the beginning of the following semester. At the end of the semester the supervisor will be asked to provide an evaluation of the assistant, which will be placed in the student’s file.

Teaching Assistants and Graduate Instructors

In order to give teaching experience, students are appointed as Teaching Assistants in years two through five. Some assistants are responsible for labs in theory courses and others perform additional duties as assigned by the instructor. The work takes about 10-15 hours a week and is supervised by the instructor. The assistant is expected to attend all the lecture hours and final examination of the course and to be available to consult with students. Ordinarily, the assistant’s task will include the grading of papers and examinations. The instructor will meet regularly with the assistant to discuss the course and the assistant’s tasks. Normally, teaching assistants will be given an opportunity to conduct at least one lecture by themselves, with assistance from the instructor. Advanced students (generally only those in the dissertation stage) may also be appointed as Graduate Instructors. Graduate Instructors have full responsibility for a course, although some faculty supervision is provided. Ordinarily appointments as Graduate Instructor are made only for a single semester. Other teaching assignments may be for Music 190s courses (on topics proposed by the student). Students will be notified of their appointments near the end of the preceding semesters.

Work-Study Aid

Under the partially federally funded Work-Study program, selected students are appointed to assist faculty members with grading or research; these appointments can be made at any stage. According to federal regulations, only US citizens with established financial need are eligible. The appointments are made competitively along with the fellowship and scholarship awards, and require no separate application. However, the establishment of financial need requires the processing of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Since the processing of these forms takes a considerable amount of time, the Graduate School recommends that all U.S. students admitted to the program and requesting financial aid fill out and submit a FAFSA form. Copies of the form are available in the Graduate Office in late December; they need to be resubmitted each year, preferably at the beginning of the Spring Semester, preceding the notification of the award. Regulations regarding Graduate Assistantships (see B, above) also apply to students in the Work-Study program.

Other Opportunities for Employment

Individual faculty members and the Department of Music occasionally have funds to pay students to assist with faculty research. Faculty members select their own assistants. Departmental vacancies will be advertised when the need arises. Music students also frequently supplement their income by working a few hours a week in the Music Library.

Outside Employment and Other Activities

Students receiving fellowships from the University are expected to work full-time on their studies and not to engage in any significant amount of outside employment or  performance activities not relevant to the student’s academic work. Before accepting any job that will require more than a few hours per week or produce significant income, you must consult with the DGS. Failure to do so may jeopardize your support.

Private Teaching

Private teaching is not permitted in the building. This regulation applies to faculty (full-time and part-time), staff, students, and String School teachers. Anyone wishing to study using Duke facilities should pay Duke tuition or fees.