Funding Doctoral Studies


Graduate Assistantships Opportunities

Our School offers graduate assistantships to approximately 8 to 12 new students each year. Our assistantships provide a full tuition waiver and a stipend of approximately $16,100 per academic year. 

Our assistantships are flexible in the duties and work required. Our philosophy is that the graduate assistantships should prepare graduate students to assume the role of a junior, tenure-track faculty member. As such, we offer a variety of opportunities for you to grow as a teacher, scholar, and young professional in the discipline. Each assistant is responsible for two units of work each semester—a “unit” could be teaching a class and/or one of the other opportunities described below.

  • Teaching Experiences: The majority of our graduate assistants teach two courses per term. To help you grow as a teacher we provide a variety of teaching experiences. Stand-alone courses include Public Speaking,Cultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, and Persuasion. Examples of team teaching opportunities (with a faculty member) include courses like Communication Between Cultures and Research Methods. All graduate students are eligible for summer teaching, when available, which can serve as additional financial support.
  • Administration Experiences: Interested graduate students are reassigned from one unit of teaching to perform administrative tasks like assisting the basic course coordinator, assisting one of our journal editors, or assisting the Associate Director for Graduate Studies with recruitment and managing the graduate program. These experiences are valuable for those who are considering entering into administration. Taking on an administrative role means students will teach one class and participate in an administrative capacity to complete their graduate requirements.
  • Research Experiences: Students who wish to engage in formal or informal team research experiences on various topics through their assistantships are reassigned from one unit of teaching to work in the capacity of a research assistant with a faculty member. Such experiences often result in collaborative projects that culminate in publications.

Assistantships are available on a merit basis and are awarded competitively by the Graduate Committee. Only students who are admitted unconditionally are eligible for a graduate assistantship. Students in our program are normally granted aid for 8 semesters or four years assuming adequate progress toward the degree. Depending on unique situations, limited amounts of adjunct funding may be available for students who seek additional funding beyond 8 semesters. For additional information please see the section on “applying to the program.”

Special Funding Opportunities

The School of Communication Studies provides a variety of funding options available for students ranging from travel support to internal grants and scholarships to support research and creative activity. All PhD students are encouraged to apply for Special Funding Opportunities for travel and/or research. These opportunities should especially be considered by international and minority students. Although resources and availability are dependent on yearly budget cycles, and subject to yearly fluctuation, the faculty are committed to providing meaningful and robust support for students.

Travel Support

The School and the Scripps College of Communication offer significant opportunities for travel funding to conferences where students present “competitive” papers. The School and College work to maintain a budget sufficient for graduate students who present competitive papers at conferences. Of course, the exact award amount is dependent on annual funding approvals. The Associate Director for Graduate Studies will announce specific deadlines for applying for travel funding, but students can apply for travel support at any time.

The Ohio University Graduate Student Senate also offers travel support funding on a competitive basis to students. Our students have historically been very successful in obtaining such funding. There are other funding sources available on campus that offer similar competitive opportunities.

Research Support

For the past several years the School has offered research support to graduate students. All students are eligible to apply for research support funds—the process is modeled after a formal Call for Proposals. Awards are typically $2000 or less and are used to support research-related travel, some equipment costs, and other expenses related to projects that are likely to result in significant publications. The Ohio University Graduate Student Senate, as well as other organizations across campus, offer competitive funds for new and in-progress projects as well.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Advanced students are eligible to apply for The Claude Kantner Graduate Fellowship. The University awards five fellowships each year. Students from COMS have been awarded a Kantner Fellowship for all but two years since 1995, and 25 times since 1973. The Kantner Fellowship provides a complete tuition waiver and stipend and a complete release from all teaching and service responsibilities.

The School offers six different scholarships that have been made possible through the generous support of former faculty and students. Those awards range in size and are given as cash scholarships to support research and conference travel.

  • Paul H. Boase Family Rhetorical Scholarship Award: This award is given in honor of Dr. Paul Boase, first director of the school, 1968-1990. Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student specializing in the study of rhetoric.
  • Everett M. Rogers Scholar Award: This award is used to support a second year graduate student in COMS who demonstrates interest and promise in the area of communication and social justice and a passion for issues of equality and social justice.
  • Judy C. Pearson Graduate Award: Established by former faculty member Judy Pearson to support a graduate student or students who does outstanding research in gender or family communication.
  • Dorothy and Larry Schey Endowed Scholarship: Given to graduate students demonstrating leadership and service to the community.
  • Karen and Roger Deardorff Graduate Travel Fund Award: Established by current graduate student Karen Deardorff and her husband Roger. It is awarded to support an MA or Phd student who is presenting a paper or panel at a conference.
  • Terry Conry and Lynn John Student Conference Award: Awarded to offset partial expenses incurred for attending a conference where the awardee’s paper has been accepted for presentation. Level of conference activity and GPA are used as criteria.

Students from China (including the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Tibet Autonomous Region, and Taiwan) who have lived in the US are also considered for the Enlight Fellowhip. The Enlight Fellowship includes a $12,000 stipend plus a full tuition waiver for fall and spring semesters; summer tuition waivers may also be available. Enlight Fellows may also apply for up to $3,000 additional support for research and instructional expenses after enrolling. Enlight Fellows have no work responsibilities within the School associated with the Enlight Fellowship, but may also receive up to $2,100 in additional support for assuming minor duties in the School.

Students from underrepresented groups in the United States who show evidence of being or becoming outstanding instructors may be considered for the Scripps College Teaching Enhancement Fellowship. The Teaching Enhancement Fellowship includes a $2,500 stipend increase and the opportunity to work with teaching mentors. Teaching Enhancement Fellows may also receive up to $2,000 in additional support for professional development activities upon application and acceptance by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the Scripps College of Communication.