Skip to main content
Anthropology Graduate Program / Student Support and Awards

Student Support and Awards

Graduate student support and awards come in the form of semester-length assistantships and fellowships, financial support for conference travel, financial support for research, and awards for research and teaching. Scroll down to see each of these categories.

Semester-Length Student Support

Financial assistance for graduate students is available in the form of fellowships and assistantships. An assistantship is an appointment for specified teaching or research duties. Assistantships carry a biweekly 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 and by the College of Arts and Sciences. The director of graduate studies (DGS) is responsible for nominating students for these awards. However, a few fellowships are open to self-nomination. Consult the Graduate School's website and the Dean's office for more information. 

Students applying to the Ph.D. program will be considered for all available assistantships and fellowships unless they notify the DGS otherwise. After the student's first year, decisions about funding are based on performance in the program (including GPA, timely progress towards a degree, and professional development). For more information, please consult the departmental guidelines on graduate funding. The Ph.D. student progress report and funding application is due by February 2, 2024. While MA students are not eligible for funding, they are required to submit a progress report as well.

Statement of Guidelines for Semester-Length Graduate Funding

The Department of Anthropology offers entering PhD students a total package of four years of funding, dependent upon satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree and satisfactory performance of assigned assistantship duties. Depending on staffing needs for assistantships within the department, additional semesters of funding may be available. 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. The following time frames for funding include all funds that come from or are administered through the Department of Anthropology and associated units including departmental teaching assistantships and research assistantships. While the department attempts to provide graduate students up to the maximum number of 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 MA 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 Ph.D. research, with the possibility of additional funding for students showing good progress toward their degree.

  • On rare occasions, such as when a departmental staffing need arises, a Ph.D. student may be offered and choose to accept the fourth year of funding prior to completion of their Ph.D. research. In cases such as this, the student’s eligibility for future semesters of funding may be impacted. 

Student Employment

Student fellowships (whether RAships 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 paid employees 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 28 hours) will further the student's career advancement and (b) assesses their current progress toward a 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.

Research Support Beyond the Department

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 (annual deadline in September) from their home country. The National Science Foundation (August 15 and January 15 deadlines for cultural anthropology, rolling deadline for archaeology), the SSRC (deadline normally at the beginning of November), The Wenner-Gren Foundation (deadlines May 1 and November 1) each offer Ph.D. student funding opportunities, and we encourage students to explore these early in their graduate training. Please consult The Graduate School's website for additional sources of funding and this list.

Departmental Awards, Travel Support, and Research Support

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

Grants for Travel to Conferences

The Department of Anthropology 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 DGS. The Graduate Student Congress also has travel and research awards for graduate students

Summer 2024 Ph.D. Student Dissertation Research Awards

The department will offer awards to Ph.D. students of up to $1,200 for costs associated with dissertation research. Ph,D, students who are submitting an application for the Abbott-Jamieson, Cliggett, Odear, and Adelski awards are also eligible to apply for this award. Please note: these awards are not guaranteed, and funds are limited and the amount awarded depends on the number of eligible applications received. Click here for application information. Applications are due by February 16, 2024.

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:

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

This is a highly competitive award. To prepare the strongest application possible, students should work closely with their advisors on all materials well before the deadline. The number of awards and funding amounts vary based on the number of applications. In general, the maximum award is $1,000 for domestic travel and $2,000 for international travel. Applications for summer 2024 funding are due by February 16, 2024. Please see the eligibility, application, and reporting guidelines for more information.

The Adelski Endowed Fellowship Fund in Anthropology

The Adelski Endowed Fellowship Fund in Anthropology supports Ph.D. students who have submitted external dissertation funding proposals and passed their qualifying exams. The award provides $3,000 in "bridge" funding to enable students to begin their dissertation fieldwork immediately. The funds can only be used for approved dissertation fieldwork expenses (e.g., travel expenses, food, and housing), and the money must be spent in full by the end of the current fiscal year (June 30). Applications are due by February 16, 2024. Please click here for more information.

The Odear Award for Graduate Student Research in Latin America
The Odear Award supports graduate students conducting preliminary dissertation research, dissertation research, or MA research in Latin America. Applications are due by February 16, 2024. Please click here for more information. 

The Donald P. Cliggett International Travel Research Fund
The Donald P. Cliggett International Travel Research Fund supports the international research of graduate and undergraduate students in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Applications are due by February 16, 2024. Please click here for more information. 

Margaret Lantis Award for Excellence in Original Research by a Graduate Student
This award recognizes accomplishments in original research. Members of the faculty can nominate students for this award based on a published article or report, a paper presented at a professional meeting, or a paper of publishable quality submitted for a class. 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 assessments 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.