American Studies
American Studies

Funding Graduate Study


The department of American Studies now offers guaranteed funding packages of 4-5 years. These packages come from a combination of departmental teaching assistant/assistant instructor positions and fellowship years. Funding offers are made with admission to the program and, while not guaranteed, the department does expect to have funding available for sixth and seventh years as needed.


The Department of American Studies awards departmental fellowships to graduate students each year. The faculty make decisions after a thorough review of student proposals. Variable amounts are dispersed for recruitment, archival research and completion of the dissertation. Archival research awards typically range between $1,000 and $3,000 while more substantial recruitment or dissertation fellowships are valued between $25,000 and $30,000.

Professional Development Awards provide partial support for students to attend professional meetings at which they present original papers based on their research. In addition, the Stott Family Scholarship is derived from Professor Emeritus William Stott’s generous gift to the Department. Funds of up to $500 are typically used to provide support for students to attend professional meetings at which they present original papers on their research.  

The Louann Atkins Temple Endowed Presidential Scholarship in American Studies is derived from a generous alumni gift to the Program. Nominations are made and voted on by the American Studies faculty on the basis of academic merit.  Registration for nine hours is required. The award ranges between $2500 and $3500 for one year. 


Diversity Fellowships help recruit a diverse graduate student body at The University of Texas at Austin. The intent of these merit fellowships is to provide access to higher education for students who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to successfully pursue graduate study. Consistent with the criteria set out in the Graduate School's admission policy, selection for this fellowship will be based on a holistic review of the student's file. Nominations to the Graduate School are made by the American Studies Admissions Committee and must demonstrate the outstanding academic credentials of the student and how the student might contribute to, or benefit from, the diverse educational environment of that program.

Continuing University Fellowships managed through the Graduate School are merit-based fellowships typically awarded to students in doctoral candidacy for completion of the dissertation. Nominations are voted on by the American Studies faculty and made to the Graduate School. The departmental application deadline is usually in the middle of the fall semester. Awards are based on major accomplishments since entering Graduate School, a well-defined program of research, strong personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Financial need will be considered.

Each year, the department nominates eligible students for thematic recruitment fellowships offered in the College of Liberal Arts (COLA). These multi-year fellowship packages typically offer four years of substantial funding: two years of fellowship and two years of academic employment as a teaching assistant in the department. COLA also provides opportunities for departments to nominate one recruitment candidate and one doctoral candidate for substantial multi-year fellowships. 


COLA actively encourages the procurement of external federal and non-federal grants and fellowships. Their team of experienced grant administrators provides personalized support services to faculty and graduate students interested in seeking external resources for research and instruction. They provide both pre-award services (grant preparation and submission) and post-award services (administration of awarded grants and contracts).

The Regional Foundation Library (RFL) is a branch of The Foundation Center, a library in New York City created thirty years ago especially for grant seekers.  


We encourage students to apply to other UT departments and programs for employment. In the past, American Studies graduate students have obtained teaching assistantships, graderships, and research assistantships in places such as the Texas State Historical Association, the Athletic Department, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University Writing Center, the Nursing School, and various Engineering programs. Remember, there is an employment limit of 14 long semesters for graduate students appointed in student titles.

If you are interested in seeking employment, contact with American Studies Graduate Coordinator, who will have an up-to-date contact list.If you are interested in seeking employment, contact with American Studies Graduate Coordinator, who will have an up-to-date contact list.

The Office of Student Financial Aid is located in the Student Services Building room 3.200, and their phone number is 475-6282. Applications for long-term financial aid based on financial need are available for grants, scholarships, the College Work-Study Program, and loans. The office also provides short-term loans.


One of the primary sources of financial aid for many graduate students is a position in an academic department as a Graduate Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, or Assistant Instructor.  We are generally able to hire ten TAs and six AIs each semester.  Owing to this limited number, our students often try to secure TA positions in other departments.
Apply for positions in American Studies or outside of the department anytime after entering the Program.  It is extremely rare for us to be able to offer these types of positions to first and second-year students.
Teaching Assistant (TA)
A TA assists a professor with tasks related to a large lecture class. Duties may include holding discussions sections, grading exams and papers, holding regular office hours, and handling questions and problems. Students are limited to, but not guaranteed, four semesters as a TA.  

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
A GRA assists a professor with research projects.  
Assistant Instructor (AI)
An AI is responsible for organizing and teaching a course of his/her own devising, usually on a topic related to the student’s dissertation research.  An AI must have a master’s degree, experience as a teaching assistant (or equivalent experience), and must have taken a 398T (Supervised Teaching in American Studies) course. Except in very exceptional circumstances, a student must have passed the PhD qualifying oral exam before becoming an assistant instructor.
During the fall semester, the Department sends out a call for course proposals, which should be formulated in some detail with the advice of relevant faculty advisers.  Early in the spring semester, the faculty meets to examine proposals and select AIs for the following academic year.  Decisions are based on such considerations as seniority, a student’s performance, the design of the course, and the relevance of the proposed course to the needs of the undergraduate program.  Appointments are generally for half time (20 hours) to teach three sections of thirty students each spread over the two semesters of an academic year (two sections one semester, and one section in the other). Again, each assistant instructor is limited to, but not guaranteed, four semesters of funding.
A course may be proposed after completing the master’s degree and passing or scheduling the oral qualifying exam.
Applications, Pay, and Enrollment
Contact the Graduate Coordinator to request an application.
All positions are awarded by the American Studies faculty on the basis of availability of positions, merit, and seniority.  Should a student decide not to accept a position during a particular semester, this will not necessarily disqualify him or her for subsequent semesters.  However, be advised that there are other qualified students coming up behind you and that an offer one year does not automatically entitled you to the following year.
The pay scale for TA, AI, and GRA positions is determined by the Liberal Arts Dean’s Office. Exact figures are available upon request.
All TAs and AIs must be enrolled for at least nine hours each semester they are employed (except during summer, when three hours are required for each session of employment). A student must enroll in 398T (“Supervised Teaching”) the semester before he or she begins teaching as an AI. For TAs, 398T is recommended, but not required.


"Under Texas state law, an applicant or enrolled student is classified either as a resident of Texas, a nonresident, or a foreign student. Residency for admission and tuition purposes at a public college or university in Texas is different from residency for voting or taxing purposes. 

To qualify as a Texas resident, an individual must reside in Texas for one year and establish a domicile in Texas prior to enrollment. An applicant or student who is claimed as a dependent on a parent's most recent federal tax return will be classified based on the parent's qualifications for residency."

Non-resident Tuition Waivers

Students who are not residents of Texas when they begin graduate study are subject to non-resident tuition fees.  There are, however, a few circumstances in which the student may qualify for resident tuition rates.  Although the student remains classified as a non-resident, the difference between the non-resident and the resident tuition rate is waived for the semester/s in which the waiver applies.
Non-resident students may also be eligible for a waiver of the non-resident portion of tuition if they have been awarded competitive academic scholarships of $1000 or more for the academic year.  They must have competed with other students, including Texas residents, for the scholarship, and the scholarship must have been awarded by an officially recognized scholarship committee. There are a very limited number of these waivers available each year.


TAs, AIs, or GRAs appointed for 50% time are eligible to receive a non-resident tuition waiver as well as tuition assistance.  The assistance amount is paid on a semester basis. Payment is made in a lump-sum, is paid separately from the regular appointment, and is subject to applicable tax withholding.