Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

Funding opportunities on this page are available for both M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students.

Graduate assistantship funding

Graduate assistant appointments constitute the Department’s principal form of financial assistance to graduate students. Assistantships help the faculty carry out the Department’s teaching, research, and service missions. They also provide experience — essentially an apprenticeship — for graduate students as they prepare for careers in teaching and research within and outside of higher education.

Most appointments are continuing commitments offered at the time of admission and reviewed annually. The department maintains approximately 35-40 assistantships, which are merit-based awards available exclusively to students in the M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. programs. The vast majority of these are teaching assistantships (TAships), wherein graduate students assist in the teaching of undergraduate courses and receive a salary for their teaching. A few of these assistantships are for research (RAships). These students receive a salary for providing assistance to faculty research projects.

These positions normally require 20 hours of work per week, and current salaries can be viewed on the Graduate School website here. The Department of Communication uses the Regular (Non-Variable Rate) TA/RA/SA Salary Schedule. Students holding these appointments receive a partial waiver of Graduate Tier I tuition and fees. Assistantships also include health insurance coverage.

Graduate student research and travel funding

Students currently enrolled in the Communication M.A./Ph.D. or Ph.D. program can apply for grants from the Department of Communication and the University of Washington for their research expenses and travel to academic conferences to present research. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis three times each academic year. Details about eligibility, application deadlines, instructions for applying for research and travel support, and the link to the Funding Request Form are provided in the Docs for M.A./Ph.D. Students shared drive.

Categories of research funds

Communication Graduate Student Research Fund

This is a general funding pool to support any type of graduate student research on any topic, from projects that will lead to a conference paper or publishable article to those that contribute to a thesis or dissertation.

Barbara Warnick Dissertation Proposal Award

The Barbara Warnick Research Endowment provides financial support for insightful, creative scholarly research by M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Communication. This Endowment honors the research, teaching, mentoring, and service of former UW Professor Warnick, whose leadership in Communication Studies broadly, and in rhetorical scholarship especially, produced knowledge about public argument that has inspired many colleagues and students. As part of this endowment, the Department offers an annual Dissertation Proposal Award, open to all research themes, theory, and methods. The winner of this award will be put forward as the department’s nominee for the Graduate School’s Presidential Dissertation Fellowship.

Ames Endowment Graduate Research Fund

The Janice and William Ames Endowment provides department support for graduate student research. It was established by alumni to honor a longtime School of Communications professor (William Ames) and the Department of Communication’s Visiting Committee chair (Janice Ames). According to terms of the endowment, priority will be given to research focusing on difference/diversity.

Peter Clarke and Susan Hope Evans Graduate Student Research Fund

The Peter Clarke and Susan Evans Graduate Research Fund is intended to support graduate student research that promises to yield societal benefits. Among competing applications for research likely to yield societal benefits, priority will be given to proposals for research intended to advance equity for and/or improve conditions of life experienced by people burdened by a disadvantage, such as low income or a condition that is stereotyped negatively. Research proposals for this award should articulate anticipated outcomes that will, plausibly, improve the lives of disadvantaged people or the robustness of organizations that serve them, and/or yield other societal benefits.

Other resources

The Graduate School offers a limited number of fellowships to doctoral candidates, and the Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) offers a limited number of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to graduate and professional students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who meet designated requirements. In addition, the University of Washington’s Office of Student Financial Aid has a variety of need-based funding available to prospective and current students.

Another useful funding resource for current students seeking research support is the Graduate Funding Information Service at the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library. You can use their online resources, visit their office at the library, or attend one of their workshops or events.

Travel funding

The Department of Communication provides some funds to support M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. student travel to scholarly conferences for presenting research papers. Students interested in requesting financial assistance for conference travel may submit a request to the Department for these funds, following the instructions provided in the Docs for M.A./Ph.D. Students shared drive. Requests are considered three times a year.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be students in the Department of Communication’s M.A./Ph.D. or Ph.D. graduate program both at the time of application and at the date when they will be presenting their work. Presentation/application during summer quarter does not require summer registration.
  • Applicants should have a full paper accepted. Serving as a panelist usually is not enough to qualify. If you are presenting a major, invited paper as part of a panel, please supply written information about the rigor of the selection process.

Application information is provided on the Docs for M.A./Ph.D. Students shared drive.

Emergency funding

Dolores Eyler Fund

A generous gift to the University from Ms. Dolores Eyler in 2010 established the Dolores Eyler Fund to support Communication students who encounter significant expenses due to unexpected and difficult circumstances. Realizing that such moments can cause great hardship for students and interfere with their studies and progress at the UW, this Fund provides unconditional grants — funds that do not need to be repaid — for students to help them through challenging situations.

Application information is provided on the Dolores Eyler Fund page for current Communication M.A./Ph.D. students.