Research Funding

Support from the Department is principally in the form of graduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and part-time instructorships. Such support is determined on the basis of academic excellence, student need, and departmental need. It is, of course, also limited by the funds that the department receives from the Graduate School and from Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Students can normally expect five years of support. In most cases they will begin teaching one course per semester in the second year as part of their financial package, while they will take, in the Fall of the same year, the required RS700S course on Teaching Methods. Continuation of such support is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and (in the case of instructors) teaching effectiveness. The Graduate School has begun a program of summer support for the first and second summers of study for all PhD students. The department offers competitive summer fellowships for inter-institutional summer study beyond those years.

Research Assistantships may be available for students to assist faculty members with research projects. Work/study (a federally funded program) is sometimes available for research-clerical assistance but is limited to students who qualify for need by filing a GAPSFAS form.

Fellowships are reportable as income to the IRS with the exclusion of money spent on tuition, fees, books, and equipment, although the University neither reports nor withholds income taxes except for international students. The student can arrange to have tax withheld by filing a W-4 form. Research assistantships and teaching assistantships, on the other hand, are both taxable and are reported by the university to the IRS.

Before students have completed their Portfolio Examination (Preliminary), they can apply for departmental funds to attend a conference related to their studies. These funds can only sponsor ONE such trip prior to prelims for each student.  After completing the Portfolio Exam, students are eligible for one conference travel fellowship per year from the Graduate School for the purpose of giving a paper at a professional meeting. After completing the Dissertation Prospectus Workshop Exam, students are also eligible for research abroad support and Graduate School Dissertation Travel Awards.

Opportunities exist for teaching in the summer sessions; application is made to the appropriate Language Program Director. Assignments are made on the basis of seniority, ability, and previous experience, and are decided by the DGS and the Language Program Director.

Student loans can be arranged directly with the Financial Aid office of the Graduate School.

The Department of Romance Studies offers five to six scholarships annually for students in any track of the Romance Studies graduate program for special research opportunities to study away from Duke. These scholarships of up to $3,000 each may be used to participate in seminars, workshops, symposia, summer schools, and other such programs.

The scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis, and priority will be given to students proposing to work in the institutions with which Romance Studies collaborates regularly. For a list of these institutions, see the International Connections page

To be eligible, students must in good standing, in their fourth or fifth year of study, and provide the following material for the application: (note: while students at all stages may apply, priority will be given to 4th and 5th year students.)

  1. Current curriculum vitae.
  2. Letter of nomination from the dissertation advisor.
  3. Research statement of no more than 4 pages detailing why this particular program is important to dissertation research.
  4. Budget 
  5. Other sources of funding applied for and/or received
  6. A description of the course or seminar that you wish to attend (include webpage, brochure, etc).

 Students receiving this scholarship will be asked to do the following upon return:

  1. Submit a two-page report to his/her dissertation advisor and the DGS.
  2. Visit two undergraduate classes on related topics to present the nature and results of the research.

The applications should be submitted to Denise Wilborn by April 1st.

In order to compete for research grants, students will ordinarily be required to submit letters of recommendations. A proper letter of recommendation requires time to compose thoughtfully. In order to leave the appropriate time to the faculty member to write a strong letter, the student should request one at least three weeks before the letter’s due date. Whenever possible, it is ideal to request such letters well before the beginning weeks of an academic year or a semester, so they can get the attention they need and deserve.

The following materials must be included and submitted in hard copy once the request to write a letter of recommendation has been granted:

  • Copy of official transcript.
  • Copy of CV or résumé.
  • All forms filled out with any information required of the applicant completed by the applicant.
  • A brief paragraph stating the course the student’s took with the professor and the student’s particular contribution to that class (including number and title of course and grade received). Any possible details on the nature of the student’s exchanges with the professor in the course of studies. Titles of papers written, their subject and any helpful detail information.
  • A brief paragraph stating why the particular professor from whom the student is requesting a letter of recommendation is the appropriate person to write one.
  • Any other contact (RA, TA, frequent consultation) the student has had with   the professor.
  • Address to which to send the recommendation.
  • All recommendations the student may need should be requested and submitted at the same time, if possible.
  • Any necessary form. Any part of the form that are to be filled out by the student must already be completed before passing them on to the professor.

Conference Travel Awards

The Graduate School will provide up to $525.00 for domestic and $700.00 for international travel for advanced students who have passed all parts of the preliminary examination and are presenting a paper or poster at a national conference. See application for further details.

Dissertation Travel & Teaching Awards

The Graduate School offers several fellowships to support continuing students who are working on their dissertation research. View all the programs, deadlines and nomination limits at the Graduate School website