Student Support

Graduate Student Support and Awards

Financial assistance for graduate students is available in the form of fellowships and assistantships. An assistantship is an appointment to specified teaching or research duties. Assistantships carry a bi-weekly stipend and cover tuition costs. A fellowship is a non-service award made to superior students to assist in the pursuit of an advanced degree. This award carries a monthly stipend and usually covers tuition costs. Fellowships are awarded by The Graduate School on a university-wide competitive basis. The Director of Graduate Studies is responsible for nominating students for these awards to the graduate school. However, a few fellowships are open by self-nomination. Consult this list and the Graduate School's web page on Fellowships, Assistantships, and Support Funding for more information.

Students applying to the Ph.D. program will be considered for all available assistantships and fellowships, unless they notify the Director of Graduate Studies otherwise. After the student's first year, decisions about funding are based on performance in the program (including GPA, timely progress towards degree, and professional development). For more information please consult the departmental guidlines on graduate funding. Ph.D. student progress reports and funding applications are due early in the Spring semester. While M.A. students are not eligible for funding, they are required to submit a progress report as well.

The Graduate school has competitive grants for travel to present at professional conferences and for travel related to thesis or dissertation research. Some of these awards are self-nominating, and some require nomination by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Students should also investigate funding possibilities outside of the University of Kentucky, especially for the first year. International students, in particular, should investigate Fulbright funding from their home country. The National Science Foundation also may have funding available for graduate training, depending on research interests and program themes. Finally, PhD students in their second year should consider applying for the SSRC DPDF Student Fellowship Competition for summer research funding and assistance in proposal writing. The Wenner-Gren Foundation also provides information about funding competitions from other sources, including those that support pre-dissertation research and dissertation write-up.

Statement of Guidelines for Graduate Funding

The department of Anthropology attempts to fund as many graduate students as possible and the majority of our students are funded throughout their time at U.K.  The percentage of students funded for coursework is lower for first-year graduate students because they often do not have the teaching and/or coursework experience to qualify.  However, first year students do have access to certain university fellowships and some departmental funding lines that are reserved for recruiting incoming students.  The Department views graduate assistantships as an integral part of graduate students’ education, but maintains a position that student employment should in no way slow the student’s progress toward timely completion of the Ph.D. degree.  Overall the Department of Anthropology at University of Kentucky rates very favorably in terms of graduate student support, when compared to anthropology departments in other large research universities in the US.  

The following time frames for funding includes all funds that come from or are administered through the University of Kentucky (UK) including departmental teaching assistantships, assistantships with different parts of the program (e.g., the Program for Archaeological Research), assistantships in other university departments, and other university-based funding.  While the department attempts to provide graduate students up to the maximum years allowable, there are no guarantees that students will be funded for all of their eligible years. Nor does funding in one year guarantee funding in the next year.  Funding decisions are made on a year by year basis. The department does not currently offer funding for M.A. students.

  • Ph.D. students have a maximum eligibility of 3 years of funding PRIOR to beginning their Ph.D. fieldwork (i.e.: completion of Dissertation Proposal and Ph.D. qualifying exams)
  • Ph.D. students have a maximum eligibility of 1 year of funding upon return from completed PhD research, with the possibility of additional funding for students showing good progress to degree.

Student Employment

Student fellowships (whether RA ships or TAships) require students to work up to twenty hours per week. If students who currently have a RA or TA position on campus also hope to work as a paid employee for another unit on campus they will need to fill out an overload request form. This form should be submitted to the DGS via email by the student's advisor. The advisor should send an accompanying statement that (a) explains how the overload (up to 29 hours) will further the student's career advancement and (b) assesses their current progress toward to degree within the context of the department's sample timeline. The overload request is then forwarded to the Associate Deans in the College and The Graduate School for approval.

Departmental Support and Awards

Support funding is also available to degree-seeking graduate students for assistance with expenses relating to pre-dissertation research. In addition, the department presents two annual awards that recognize excellence in teaching and excellence in research.

Susan Abbott-Jamieson Pre-Dissertation Research Fund Award
In 2001, a generous gift from UK alumna Ashley Judd was used to create and endow the Susan Abbot-Jamieson Award. Named for anthropology Professor Emerita Abbott-Jamieson, who taught Judd in cultural anthropology courses, the fund provides dissertation research grants to doctoral students. The gift is eligible for matching funds from the state's Research Challenge Trust Fund.

The Susan Abbott-Jamieson Award provides support to graduate students in one or more of the following activities:

  1. To investigate the potential of particular field sites for dissertation research.
  2. To explore the potential of archival and other databases and/or archaeological collections for dissertation research.
  3. To visit research institutes, government organizations, and researchers who might, later on, assist in obtaining necessary research clearances and/or facilitate dissertation research.
  4. To engage in necessary summer language training required for dissertation research.

The number of awards and funding amount varies based on the number of applications. In general, the maximum award is $1000 for domestic travel and $2000 for international travel. Applications are due February 15th. Please see the eligibility, application, and reporting guidelines for more information.

Margaret Lantis Award for Excellence in Original Research by a Graduate Student
This award recognizes accomplishment for original research. Students are nominated for this award by a member of the faculty based on a published article or report, a paper presented at a professional meeting, or a paper of publishable quality submitted for a class by the student. Criteria for conferring the award include originality of the research design, effectiveness with which the research has been executed, originality and logic of interpretation, and/or substantive contribution of the research to the study, application, or practice of anthropology.

William Y. Adams Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student
This award recognizes exceptional teaching. A faculty member or any person familiar with the student's teaching effectiveness may nominate students for this award. Qualification for the award should be supported by student course evaluations, faculty assessment of the nominee's teaching, or other evidence of superior teaching. Criteria for conferring the award include evidence of particularly effective teaching and/or originality of teaching methods.

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