Funding Extension for ISAW PhD Students in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a profound impact on ISAW and its students and will continue to have one for some time. The crisis has affected each student differently, but without exception all of our students have been adversely affected by the outbreak in unprecedented ways during spring 2020. Access to library resources and other resources for research has been restricted. Research travel has been impossible and will continue to be for some time. Archaeological fieldwork projects have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. In-person classes have temporarily been replaced by remote instruction. Beyond this, our lives have been disrupted, and many of us have experienced personal tragedies and deep loss.

During this difficult time, ISAW as a community has needed to adapt in order to facilitate student progress. Our goal has been to be flexible, understanding, and creative in working with students on their individual academic plans, while trying as much as possible not to delay student progress unnecessarily. However, in acknowledgement of the fact that COVID-19's impact on research and student progress will be felt for several years to come, ISAW has formulated a response plan that will provide extra funding for students at the research stages of their programs who may need more time to finish their degree.

ISAW's current funding policy for PhD students consists of:

  • Full funding in Years 1-5, including tuition, maintenance of matriculation, registration fees, health insurance premiums, and a 12-month stipend (currently, $41,850 in AY 2019-20)
  • Limited funding in Years 6-7, including (at a minimum) maintenance of matriculation, registration fees, and health insurance premiums
  • Ability for students in good academic standing to request a sixth year of stipend support to be taken in Year 6 or 7 at the normal ISAW level (i.e., a 12-month stipend, currently $41,850 in AY 2019-20)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, ISAW is providing an extension of funding for students currently in Years 3-7 during AY 2019-20. Although all students have been affected by the crisis, students who are currently beyond the coursework phase of the program (i.e., those who are preparing for comprehensive exams or working on their dissertations) have experienced the most setbacks to their work and have the least amount of time within the context of the program to recover from these setbacks.

The funding extension plan will allow PhD students who are currently in Years 3-7 during AY 2019-20 and who are in good academic standing to request an additional (i.e., seventh) year of stipend support to be taken in Year 7 or Year 8. This extra year of support will consist of a nine-month stipend of $28,850.

The procedure for requesting this additional year of financial support will be similar to the request process for sixth-year funding. Students wishing to extend their funding to a seventh year should submit a letter of request to their committee (with copy to the Associate Director for Academic Affairs) by March 31st of Year 6 outlining the current state of their dissertation and a work plan for the coming year(s), including anticipated deadlines for chapter reviews. The committee will evaluate the request and then make a recommendation to the faculty, who will render the final decision. All students applying for a seventh year of ISAW funding must demonstrate that they have also applied to applicable sources of outside funding. Students are required to report outside fellowships to ISAW, and at ISAW's discretion seventh-year funding may be reduced when students receive outside funding.

Eligible students requesting extended funding under this plan for AY 2020-21 should submit their petition letters to their committee (with copy to the Associate Director for Academic Affairs) by May 15, 2020.

Questions or concerns should be directed to Marc LeBlanc, Associate Director for Academic Affairs, and Roderick Campbell, Director of Graduate Studies.