Funding Your Program of Study
Graduate students finance their education through a combination of internal and external fellowships. The standard graduate school multiyear fellowship for incoming PhD candidates in EALAC extends five years of support (four years for those entering with Advanced Standing), covering the cost of tuition and enrollment in a health insurance plane, as well as providing a stipend for living expenses. For EALAC graduate students, this multiyear support is comprised of a combination of resident fellowships and teaching assistantships. For additional overview information, please refer to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Graduate Student Guide, “Fellowship Information for Doctoral Students.”
As part of a renewal application for a multiyear GSAS fellowship, the graduate school requires PhD students to apply for at least one academic-year external award during years one through four of their fellowship. Students will be required to submit evidence of at least one good-faith effort to obtain funding from a funding source external to the university to their director of graduate studies.
GSAS also provides annual summer research stipends as part of the multiyear funding package for doctoral students. Students must be in good standing and must be making satisfactory academic progress in order to receive this funding.
Fellowship opportunities for MA students in GSAS programs are more limited, but summary information is available here.
Students considering loans should consult with Student Financial Services. In order to receive a US federal loan, a student must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen admitted as at least a half-time student in a degree program and making satisfactory academic progress. Applying for a federal loan is a multi-step process, requiring the submission of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and application through the Office of Financial Aid. More information on this process is available via the GSAS Student Guide.
GSAS awards the above multiyear fellowships to successful PhD program applicants upon their acceptance into the department. However, opportunities and obligations to apply for funding continue throughout a matriculated student’s study and research as part of the department.
The majority of PhD students will apply for funding to support language study, dissertation research, and dissertation write-up. There are also many internal and external opportunities for smaller awards, as well as on-campus programs providing some remuneration. Some—though by no means all—of these opportunities are introduced briefly below.
MA students may qualify for some of these opportunities as well; those interested should contact the relevant administrators. MA students conducting work related to Korea should consult the information provided on the AKS-CKR Fellowship for Korean Studies toward the bottom of this page.
The department houses one of the leading East Asian language programs in the country, and offers classes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Vietnamese.
Many students also choose to pursue intensive, immersive language programs in the States or abroad for a summer, a semester, or an entire academic year. The Graduate School, in conjunction with the EALAC department, administers the application process for both the summer and academic-year Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships.
Dissertation Research Funding
Dissertation research—in the case of EALAC students, almost always abroad—is a foundational element of the PhD program, and all students should anticipate applying for funding to support their research activities. These applications double as practice for future granting writing as professionals, and anticipate aspects of the job application process.
At Columbia, GSAS offers its International Travel Fellowship. Department graduate students also have an excellent record of securing external funding for their research through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program, as well as through major region or country-specific fellowship programs.
Dissertation Write-up Funding
Research fellowships outnumber writing fellowships, but there are internal and external opportunities available. Keep in mind that a “dissertation writing” fellowship usually doubles as a “dissertation completion” fellowship. Many institutions state that you must finish your dissertation during the award period, and thus you must be able to credibly claim that you will do so at the time of your application. Many graduate students require two years of writing, and the most common path is to apply for funding to cover the second year of writing during the first.
The Zuckerman Fellowship is an internal write-up fellowship for Columbia University students researching the history, philosophy, and/or sociology of science. A notable, highly competitive, external opportunity is the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship program.
It is also not uncommon for late-stage graduate students to complete their dissertation while participating in one of the university’s competitive, compensated teaching opportunities, devising their own course through the Teaching Scholars program or teaching introductory Asian Humanities courses in the department.
Supplementary Opportunities (University & Department)
Year-long research and writing fellowships are the most important and well-known sources of funding, but they are not the only form of support. Smaller grants support specific disciplines, research topics, archival work, and scholars of different communities. These smaller awards—ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars—can support short-term research trips, subsidize living costs in the city, and augment students’ multiyear fellowship.
External examples are too abundant too list here; interested students can refer to the multiple databases maintained or listed by the Graduate School. Internally-administered opportunities include the Lead Teaching Fellows (LTF) program, the Heyman Center Fellowships, and Fellowships in Academic Administration.
Finally, EALAC overseas a small number of fellowships directly or in conjunction with GSAS. Conference funding is one such example. A fellowship in Korean Studies offered to MA students is another. Further information on both of these opportunities follows below.
the GSAS Conference Matching Travel Fund supports GSAS students presenting at national and international conferences. Awards from the Conference Matching Travel Fund may be used to defray the cost of registration, travel, and lodging.
The EALAC department must first approve a student’s application and provide funds to defray expenses before the student can receive an award from the Conference Matching Travel Fund. GSAS will then match the funds provided by the department, up to a maximum of $250. If you are funded by either the Department of History or the Department of Religion, you should apply directly to your respective department for this grant instead of to the EALAC department.
There is a limit of one travel award per academic year, and a maximum of two awards during a student’s career at Columbia. The award is not guaranteed, and requests are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive funds, students must submit documentation both before traveling to the conference and after returning. Please refer to the applications instructions in the GSAS Student Guide.
Additional Conference Funding from the Donald Keene Center:
The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture provides matching funds for travel to conferences or workshops by graduate students in Japanese studies. Students who receive funds from EALAC that are matched by GSAS are eligible to have those funds matched again by the Donald Keene Center (DKC). Once students have been approved for EALAC funds and the GSAS match, they should contact the DKC program coordinator with copies of the application materials submitted to EALAC and GSAS and confirmation of their approval of funding. The DKC will transmit funds to EALAC to be included in the payment issued by the department to the student. Any such application to the DKC must be made at least a week before the conference or workshop, but only after approval by EALAC and GSAS, so please plan accordingly.
Note additionally that students who have reached their career maximum of two matching grants from GSAS are still eligible to have EALAC travel funds matched by the DKC; their covering email to the DKC should explain that this is why they are not submitting evidence of GSAS approval.
AKS-CKR Fellowship for Korean Studies
The Academy of Korean Studies-Center for Korean Research Fellowship provides partial funding to MA students in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (and other programs) with a Korea-related focus. This award was made possible through a five-year AKS Core University Grant in 2016 and is dedicated to developing Korean Studies at Columbia University.
- Provides partial to full academic year support
- Eligibility: Applicants to MA programs in Regional Studies: East Asia (MARSEA), East Asian Languages and Cultures, and International and World History with a research interest in Korea
- Average of three awards per academic year
- Selection criteria include: Academic excellence; Demonstrated commitment to Korea-related research
- Applicants are considered for the AKS-CKR Fellowship at the time of GSAS MA Admissions Review. Recipients of the fellowship must report to the Center for Korean Research any additional funds, such as another grant, they receive toward academic year support. Should a student receive multiple sources of funding, the Center for Korean Research may adjust or withdraw the amount granted to the student so as to remain below the cap dictated by GSAS.
Applicants are considered for the AKS-CKR Fellowship at the time of GSAS MA Admissions Review.