Funding and Research Support

The Department of History meets the challenges of funding graduate education by supporting its students with Graduate Employee appointments; a variety of internal awards; and university-wide fellowships, grants, and prizes. Many students also earn competitive external scholarships and awards.

Graduate Employee positions enable graduate students to obtain valuable teaching experience while earning stipends for living expenses, along with tuition waivers, health insurance, and other benefits. Other sources of funding are also available. PhD students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible to teach summer classes of their own design. Most of our doctoral students have been the instructor of record for at least two courses before they graduate.

For more detailed information, please consult the History Department’s Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate Employee Awards

The major form of funding for newly admitted graduate students is the Graduate Employee (GE) award. GEs are awarded on a competitive basis to both MA and PhD students, based on academic merit, without regard to financial need. No separate application is required. Simply answer the GE questions on the online admissions application.

Each GE award includes a tuition waiver, a stipend, and health insurance benefits.

  • The tuition waiver covers up to sixteen credits per quarter, which easily covers the normal graduate course load. For those students who meet the eligibility requirements, tuition waivers for summer courses are also available.
  • The stipend is paid to students on a monthly basis. Stipend amounts are competitive, at rates determined in part by the contract negotiated by the union, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF).
  • Graduate Employees also receive excellent health insurance benefits for themselves and, at a subsidized rate, for family members, based in part on the terms negotiated in the GTFF contract.

Teaching Duties

In the History Department, the duties of a GE usually take one of the following forms:

  • Leading two discussion sections (of up to 25 students each), evaluating the written work (papers and exams) in a large lower-division lecture course (e.g., surveys in United States History, World History, or Western Civilization), and generally assisting the supervising instructor.
  • Evaluating the written work (papers and exams) (for up to 85 students) in a large lower- or upper-division lecture course without discussion sections (e.g., specialized or advanced surveys, including Latin American History, U.S. Women’s History, African American History, Food in World History, and War and the Modern World) and generally assisting the supervising instructor.

Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF)

The University of Oregon is proud to have been one of the first universities in the country in which Graduate Employees were unionized. Since 1977, our GEs (originally called Graduate Teaching Fellows) have been represented by the GTFF. In addition to the benefits listed above, union representation means that the teaching duties of GEs are regulated by agreements negotiated between the GTFF and the University.

Length of the Award

Once a student has been awarded a GE appointment, the History Department’s policy is normally to offer two years of support at the MA level and four to five years at the PhD level (depending on whether the recipient enters with a BA or an MA), assuming that several conditions are met. These include satisfactory progress toward the degree and satisfactory performance as a teaching assistant.

GE positions in other departments

Students who are not awarded GEs in History or who are placed on the waiting list for History GEs are encouraged to apply for GE positions in other UO departments and programs. Deadlines and requirements vary; the department sends additional information to students in this category after all History GEs have been awarded each year. Additionally, many history graduate students accept appointments as GEs in other departments once their history funding has expired.

Summer Teaching Positions

PhD students who have advanced to candidacy (that is, taken all coursework, passed their comprehensive exams, and completed their language requirement) are eligible to teach courses of their own design as the instructor of record. Generally, these courses are taught in the summer term, including face-to-face and online courses. These teaching positions are awarded on a competitive basis, with an effort to allow each PhD student to teach at least two courses before graduating. These positions help to provide summer funding, as well as teaching experience, which is valuable in a competitive job market.

History Department Travel and Research Funds

History graduate students are eligible to apply for departmental funds to support travel and research. Funds (a maximum of $500 per student annually) are dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis for travel to present research at professional conferences, or for research or other professional advancement. The department also offers up to $3,000 for summer research travel for dissertations and theses. Summer research grants are competitive, and doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy receive priority. Students must submit a research proposal, budget, and letter of recommendation from their major advisor to be eligible for consideration.

History Department Fellowships and Awards

The History Department offers fellowships and awards (of various amounts) each year to outstanding graduate students. The Leah Kirker Memorial Award recognizes excellence in teaching by a GE and offers a modest stipend. The Thomas T. Turner Memorial Prize offers a stipend in recognition of outstanding achievement by a History graduate student. In addition, History Department benefactors generously support the graduate program with occasional gifts, allowing us to offer additional awards and stipends on a special basis.

UO Travel and Research Funds

In addition to the funds available in the History Department, several UO centers support graduate student travel and research, including the Graduate School (grants for international travel for “Special Opps” research presentations, innovative summer research opportunities), the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) (grants to support travel for conference presentations on Asian and Pacific Studies topics), the Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS) (grants for research on women and gender topics), the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) (grants for conference travel and early-stage research pertaining to Latinx and Latin American topics), the Global Oregon Initiative (GSI) (grants to support international research), the Oregon Humanities Center (graduate research fellowship), and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics (grants for research related to public policy). Please see their websites for details:

FLAS Funding

Applicants for graduate study in East Asian history may apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships administered by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS). For more information about these fellowships and eligibility please refer to the CAPS website.

UO Dissertation Fellowships

Several fellowships are available to graduate students each year through college or university-wide competitions. Historically, history graduate students have been successful in winning these awards, which provide the opportunity to work full-time toward completing the dissertation for a term or even a full year, with no teaching duties. These awards carry stipends, tuition waivers, and student health care benefits. Dissertation fellowships are available from the Graduate School, the Center for Environmental Futures, the Center for the Study of Women and Society, and the Oregon Humanities Center.

External Fellowships and Awards

External sources of funding are also available; some of these are highlighted on the Graduate School website. Also see the History Department’s Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate students are encouraged to apply for these and other fellowships and awards, available on a nationally competitive basis. Information about these awards is frequently circulated, and advisors and the graduate director regularly assist and support the applications of History graduate students.