Financial Support Opportunities

Fellowship (tuition, income stipend, and teaching stipend)

All admitted students to the graduate program in the Duke Department of Music receive a Fellowship, which includes full tuition and an income stipend for the five years of the program. The details of this Fellowship are outlined in the initial offer letter the student receives notifying him/her of acceptance to the program. The letter states the department’s expectation that funding will be continued for students in good standing for the five years of the program

In most cases, teaching assistantships will be substituted for all or part of the fellowship aid after the first year. As part of the academic requirements of the doctoral program, all graduate students are required to serve as Teaching Assistants or Instructors of Record for a total of eight semesters, for which they will be compensated by teaching stipend.  

Students should bear in mind that available funds are limited, and that financial assistance may be terminated upon the recommendation of the Graduate Faculty for any students whose academic performance and/or progress towards the degree is unsatisfactory. Full financial aid will be awarded only to students who are in residence; those who after the completion of coursework choose to live outside the Durham area will not receive an income stipend, but only tuition and fees. An exception will be made for students who need to be elsewhere for their research.

Continuing students will be notified of their financial assistance for the following year in a letter from the DGS; notification regarding appointments as teaching assistants in the Department are sent out by the Chair or DGS. (Award letters are not sent out until late in the spring.) Students receiving fellowships or assistantships are expected to perform at a high level, both as teaching assistants and in their own studies. For appointments to assistantships, evaluations of previous services as an assistant will be taken into account.

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.

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 to as many students as possible, a number of students are appointed as Teaching Assistants in their second or later years. These assistants are responsible for sections in large lecture courses, or labs in theory courses, and 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.

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.

Payroll Issues

Important: Students who are hired by faculty members to assist in projects supported by university-administered funds must, before doing any work, report to the DGS Assistant, who will prepare the forms necessary for payment.

If you accept more than one job at Duke be sure to inform each employer about all your jobs. Second jobs require complex payroll accounting which can only be accomplished if all employers know about all your jobs.