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Funding and Tuition

All full-time PhD students who entered in 2011 or later and maintain good academic standing will receive full funding for three years for tuition, student fees, and individual health insurance (excluding dental insurance) in addition to a stipend for the academic year. This funding may be “internal” through teaching assistantships, or “external” through institutional fellowships and grants, individual fellowships, or other sources. The source of this funding may vary from year to year.

Full-time PhD students who enter with an approved Master’s degree will receive additional tuition-only support for the fourth year. Full-time MS/PhD students will receive additional tuition-only support for the fourth and fifth year. Students who receive School of Nursing tuition-only funding in the fourth and fifth years will be required to serve in a half-time teaching assistantship (8 hours per week). Students will not receive stipend or health insurance beyond the third year.

Students are billed “full” tuition and fees by the University for the first five years of the PhD program. After the fifth year, “reduced” tuition and fees are charged.

Dissertation Status Tuition Billing

While on dissertation status, students will continue to be charged tuition in Fall and Spring semesters until the student has officially been cleared for graduation. If a student defends the dissertation before the end of the drop period in any semester, tuition may be waived for that semester.  

Teaching Assistantship

Students may be funded by a Teaching Assistantship at the School of Nursing. The primary objective of this experience is to expand students’ knowledge of teaching while being supported by experienced course faculty. Teaching Assistantships are performance based and the School is not obligated to provide this kind of financial support to students who do not perform adequately.  

TA assignments will be based on the priority of the course, student expertise, and eligibility. Assignments will be made by the Department Chairs in conjunction with the Graduate Group in Nursing Chair, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, and Office of Student Services. 

  • The TA time requirement is approximately 16 hours per week during the academic year. If additional work hours are requested by a faculty supervisor, the student should discuss it with the faculty supervisor, and if unresolved, speak to the Graduate Group in Nursing Chair about his/her concerns.
  • Teaching Assistants (TA) should refer to the Nursing TA Handbook for additional guidance on the role and responsibilities of a TA.
  • The TA and faculty supervisor of the course(s) are required to complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the beginning of each semester and submit it to the Office of Student Services.
  • Current Pennsylvania licensure as a registered nurse is required for TAs in clinical courses.
  • To remain eligible, TAs must have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be in good academic standing.
  • In order to obtain a Teaching Assistantship for undergraduate courses, a student must be fluent in English. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted legislation in 1990 requiring that every member of an institution of higher learning who teaches undergraduates be tested and certified as fluent in English. At Penn, the English Language Programs (ELP) is responsible for testing and certifying all teaching assistants who use English as a second language (International Teaching Assistants or ITAs).  Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate fluency by receiving a minimum score on a proficiency test administered by the ELP.  Students who do not pass the proficiency test must take English language remediation courses until the test is passed.  The test must be taken at every offering until it is passed. 

Research Opportunities

Opportunities to participate on funded research programs may be available to full-time doctoral students. The primary objective of this experience is to expand students’ knowledge and skills in conducting research. For further information the student should consult the Office of Nursing Research.

Supplemental Employment

Students funded as Teaching Assistants and who are in good academic standing may work an additional 10 hours per week, at the most; additional hours are discouraged and require the advisor’s written approval. 

Students funded by the federal government (e.g. T32 grant, NRSA, or other NIH funding) and who are in good academic standing may work a maximum of 10 hours per week per funding rules. 

All students must abide by the policies of their particular funding sources.