Financial Aid

Students funded by Duke may count on support for five years at the level stipulated in the letter of fellowship award. Additionally, the Graduate School funds individual health insurance for all full-time Ph.D. students through their sixth year. (Students with families may elect to pay an additional premium for family coverage.) Sixth-year funding is not available, because it is expected that by then students will be able to support themselves through teaching, precepting, or through dissertation fellowships from sources other than the Graduate Program in Religion.

Applicants should explore on their own every possible avenue of financial help. Some of the main sources of support are indicated below.

The Financial Aid Office of the Graduate School offers additional information on expenses, awards, childcare support, loans and work study.



Some fellowships administered from outside the University such as the Dempster and John Wesley Fellowships of the United Methodist Church and the Mellon Fellowship are available for graduate study. Duke students also sometimes receive dissertation-year fellowships offered by the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation (a division of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation), the Louisville Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Exchange Fellowship with the University of Pottsdam, the Fulbright Foundation, or the Social Sciences Research Council and American Council of Learned Societies. Under the auspices of the Fund for Theological Education, excellent financial support is available for African-American doctoral candidates in religion. Some seminaries provide traveling fellowship awards to a selected few of their own graduates going on for doctoral studies. Some denominational boards of higher education have made grants to doctoral students in religion.

  • The Graduate Program in Religion usually offers an annual Gurney Harris Kearns Fellowship, which covers tuition, fees, and a yearly stipend. Students in religion are also eligible for nominations for James B. Duke Fellowships and for regular University fellowships and scholarships in lesser amounts. A very few Dissertation Fellowships and Named Instructorships are funded by the University; nominations for these are made through the Executive Committee of the Graduate Program in Religion. Approximately 98% of each entering class receives some aid, which usually consists of support toward tuition plus a stipend. All awards are taxable.

  • Students interested in Judaic Studies may inquire about the Nathan J. Perilman Fellowship by writing directly to the Center for Judaic Studies, Department of Religion, Duke University, Box 90964.

  • Other programs and departments at Duke (such as the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program; the Latin American Studies Program; Foreign Language and Area Studies) offer fellowship assistance to students with appropriate areas of concentration. Usually these fellowships are supplementary to other funds the student may receive.

  • Students who are post-prelim are also eligible to apply for two years for a limited number of fellowships of summer support that will include a $5000 stipend plus payment of required summer fees.

  • Funding is available through the Graduate School for post-prelim students to deliver papers at professional meetings.

  • Fellowships are available through the Graduate School to aid students who have special research needs, e.g., travel grants for archival research or field work.


Most graduate students are admitted on the assumption of full-time study.  Besides preceptorships in the Divinity School and teaching assistantships in the Department of Religion, students may hold part-time jobs in the University or the adjacent community, working up to 9-12 hours per week.

There are also some preceptorships and research and teaching assistantships open to doctoral students in both the Divinity School and the Department of Religion. Many graduate students and their spouses find employment in the area.

There are no graduate courses in religion in the summer term. Although students often remain in residence doing research or mastering languages, many find it possible to supplement their incomes through summer employment.