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Emory to increase stipends for PhD students in Laney Graduate School

Emory University is making a significant new investment in graduate education by increasing the base stipend for doctoral students. The increase represents an investment of more than $40 million over five years. Emory Photo/Video

Emory University is making a significant new investment in graduate education by increasing the base stipend for PhD students in the Laney Graduate School, representing a commitment of more than $40 million over five years.

“This enhanced support for PhD students affirms our commitment to fostering a culture of research and innovation that attracts and supports future thought leaders of the highest order,” Emory University President Claire E. Sterk and Provost Dwight A. McBride wrote in a letter to the Emory community announcing the investment.

Last month, Sterk and McBride launched Emory’s strategic framework, “One Emory: Engaged for Impact,” created to help chart the university’s course toward greater academic eminence. The increased support of graduate education represents “an early and specific step” toward achieving the framework’s ambitious goals, they said.

Graduate education is a cornerstone of academic excellence and directly relates to Emory’s ability to recruit and retain eminent faculty, McBride explained. By investing in graduate education and increasing support for our PhD students, Emory will continue to draw top graduate students and raise the national and international profiles of our distinctive, world-class doctoral programs, Sterk and McBride wrote in the message, distributed Oct. 2.

“Emory’s ability to compete among our peer and aspirant peer universities for the most talented PhD students will improve our ability to recruit and retain distinguished faculty. Talented doctoral students and distinguished faculty are both integral to fueling our academic ambitions,” they wrote.

Enhancing graduate program distinction 

In an Oct. 2 letter to the Laney Graduate School community, Dean Lisa Tedesco announced that for the 2019-2020 academic year, the base stipend for students pursuing PhDs will increase to $31,000, effective Sept. 1, 2019.

While some stipends for Emory PhD students were already competitive with peer-level institutions, others were not, according to Tedesco, who noted that the increased funding “is an important step in closing that gap.”

“Emory’s investment in graduate education is a tangible sign of our dedication to enhancing faculty excellence and graduate program distinction,” Tedesco said. “It also demonstrates Emory’s commitment to attracting the best student minds and to making sure that those who choose Emory as their academic community can pursue their studies with a greater sense of financial security.”

This investment also complements the advancements Laney Graduate School continues to make in other important mission-focused priorities, Tedesco noted, listing efforts such as Laney EDGE (Emory Diversifying Graduate Education), professional development and career planning, and training in ethics and public scholarship

Rachel Kolb, a doctoral student in English, said the announcement is “wonderful news.”

“This increase to the base stipend will make a difference in giving graduate students more freedom to focus on their intellectual contributions and professional development during their time in Atlanta,” Kolb noted. “I hope it leads to an even more creative and vibrant Emory graduate community, as well as more space and time for graduate students to learn and take leadership in their fields.”

Luke Hagemann, a doctoral student in history and officer on the Laney Graduate Student Council, agreed.

This incredible investment in graduate education puts the Laney Graduate School on par with its peer institutions,” he said. “I believe that it goes a long way toward keeping Emory as a first choice school for both its current and its future PhD students.”

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