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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

Conditions of Admission and Assignment Responsibility

About PhD Student Funding

Northeastern University provides research doctoral degree-seeking students with the opportunity to receive funding in the form of fellowships, assistantships, and tuition scholarships. Made possible by general appropriations, endowments, and other outside sources, funding typically provides students with a  stipend and a scholarship to pay for tuition costs. All awards made by Northeastern are based upon merit.  At times during a PhD student’s education funding may be available through an external source where the funds are provided directly to the PhD student rather than through Northeastern University.  Examples include Fellowships funded by external agencies and Experiential PhD opportunities where a partner (such as a company or research lab) through its internal mechanisms (e.g. research internships or Fellowship guidelines) provide the funding to the student directly.  

PhD student funding is a shared responsibility. While financial commitments are made to students for a set duration, it is important to understand that the overall graduate awards budget is dependent on a significant number of students obtaining external fellowships. Should a student be the recipient of an external grant or sponsorship, Northeastern University requires these external resources be used in lieu of university funding. Depending on the program, an additional financial incentive may be provided to a student when they are awarded an external fellowship. We expect all students to make a good faith effort to obtain external support at some point during their funding period, and students should be encouraged to pursue these opportunities, which will build their dossiers and networks as well.

PhD students are provided with offers of support at the point of admission via a letter that details the level and duration of support.  Support packages are contingent upon the stipulations below.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding and stipends continue to be in effect for PhD students during the Summer 2020 term in accordance with admissions letters and/or funding arrangements made post enrollment.  PhD students should engage with their faculty advisors to re-prioritize research so that they can continue their progress away from campus.  In cases where funders do not permit flexibility in activity due to the pandemic, other education activities will be identified.

Your admission to Northeastern University and subsequent support is contingent upon all of the following requirements:
Matriculation requires receipt of official transcripts and any certifications requested by your program.
The funding support package from the Department is secondary to any extramural award or funding, such as a graduate fellowship; if you are the recipient of an extramural award, the external funds will be applied towards your stipend and tuition/fees, and the Department will provide a supplement as needed to ensure the standard support outlined in your letter of admission.
Continuation of your Assistantship is contingent upon fulfilling all academic and graduate assistantship requirements and may be facilitated through your pursuit of external funding sources, such as fellowships or grants.  Please note that your support package will not be extended if you choose not to accept your Assistantship for one or more terms.  
While Northeastern University covers the cost of the individual graduate student health insurance plan (NUSHP) for its fellowship students and graduate assistantships, you will be required to pay all other university-issued fees (including student fees, roughly $130 per semester, the University Health and Counseling Service fee, estimated at $225 per year, and an additional one-time fee of approximately $350 for international students).   
You are required to enroll full-time in the program and must be available on campus if necessary to support the terms of your position.  If your research requires you to be off campus, you must seek advance written approval from your college.  You must also maintain satisfactory academic (including research) progress and competently perform the duties and responsibilities of your position.  Failure to fulfill these requirements will result in the termination of your award.  Please visit your program’s website and Northeastern’s Policies page for more information.  To assist you with your progress and responsibilities, Northeastern offers a wealth of resources and services to support the research, education, career planning and development, and well-being of all PhD students.   Please visit thePhD Network for more information.   
Your acceptance of this offer indicates your compliance with Northeastern University’s Code of Conduct and your adherence to the Northeastern policiesfor the period of your appointment.  Your acceptance also indicates your acknowledgment of your commitment to your department/program as well as your responsibility to arrange outside activities that will not conflict with or hinder this commitment and responsibility. 

Northeastern University requires official documentation that international students have adequate funds to finance one year of study before we can process an I-20 request. Your offer letter will suffice for acceptable financial documentation. Submission of financial documentation is electronic, and will be possible once you have set up your MyNortheastern account. Instructions for submission will be emailed to you after we have received your tuition deposit.

Students receiving external fellowships should notify their departments of awards as soon as the information is available. Please note that some external fellowships only send notification to the student; the student is expected to inform their department of such awards. Current and accurate information allows departments to supplement any external awards appropriately so that students are at the appropriate stipend level and processing of the award is timely.

Graduate students holding teaching assistant appointments must register as full time resident students and are charged full tuition during the period of appointment. The TA appointment comprises a monthly stipend as well as a tuition scholarship which is credited directly to the student’s account. Teaching Assistants are compensated on the basis of the time devoted to teaching activities. A 100% graduate TA appointment typically includes payment of full tuition for the period of the appointment.  Partial appointments (for effort less than 100%) are also possible, and are frequently used to supplement outside fellowships, scholarships, or research assistantships. Students who receive financial support from multiple resources must do so in accordance with department and university guidelines. A 100% teaching assistantship requires no more than 20 hours of effort per week. Northeastern recognizes that graduate students may spend additional time conducting research in support of their academic studies, such as coursework and activities connected to the dissertation.

The research assistant is a member of a research group in a laboratory or on a project, whose principal duty is to contribute, under supervision, to a program of departmental or interdepartmental research. Through project development, the assistant gains increased facility in organizing components, applying new experimental techniques to real problems, and oral presentation. Most students welcome the opportunity a research assistantship gives them to participate as junior colleagues of the faculty in an ongoing research project; this experience frequently influences their choice of thesis topic.

Graduate students holding research assistant appointments must register as full time resident students and are charged full tuition during the period of appointment. The RA appointment comprises a monthly stipend as well as a tuition scholarship which is credited directly to the student’s account.

Research Assistants are compensated on the basis of the time devoted to research activities. A 100% graduate RA appointment typically includes payment of full tuition for the period of the appointment. All students should check with their program office to confirm the terms of their appointment. A 100% research assistantship requires no more than 20 hours of effort per week. Northeastern recognizes that graduate students may spend additional time conducting research in support of their academic studies, such as coursework and activities connected to the dissertation. Partial appointments (for effort less than 100%) are also possible, and are frequently used to supplement outside fellowships, scholarships, or teaching assistantships. Students who receive financial support from multiple sources must do so in accordance with department and university guidelines.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, PhD students supported by Research Assistantships will continue during the Summer 2020 term.  PhD students should engage with their faculty advisors to re-prioritize research so that they can continue their progress away from campus.  In cases where funders do not permit flexibility in activity due to the pandemic, other education activities will be identified.

The trainee fellowship is an award intended to give PhD students the opportunity to study and develop evidence-based models of mentorship and pedagogy.  As an institution that is experiential throughout, we embrace both research and teaching as core and integral to the Northeastern PhD education model and encourage PhD students to pursue teaching as an academic pursuit in the same way they pursue research, creating more agile and inclusive learning environments. Trainee Fellows will register for research and / or teaching courses depending on their trainee activities.

Trainee fellowships require full-time registration and academic good standing.

Northeastern students may take advantage of diverse opportunities through Northeastern’s partnerships and global network.  These experiences broaden students’ perspectives and shape their insights.  Students must work with program, college, and university administrators to ensure that they are compliant with policies and regulations regarding curriculum and commitment.