Financial Support


A student is eligible for funding for up to 2 years in the M.A. program, and up to 4 years in the Ph.D. program, pending appropriate progress (see below). Combined B.A./M.A. students are ineligible for funding until they have completed their B.A. requirements.  The total period of funding for B.A./M.A. students shall not exceed 1 ½ years.  Students admitted conditionally are ineligible for funding consideration until they have met the conditional requirements.

An annual review will be held no later than the end of February by the graduate Faculty to assess the progress of all graduate students toward completion of their degree.  Students who have received departmental funding, but whose progress or performance is judged to be unsatisfactory, may have their funding and/or enrollment terminated at the end of the academic year.  Marginal performance may result in students being subsequently funded on a semester basis instead of an annual basis.  Students will be notified of this decision before May 1. 

A M.A. student on assistantship who has not been defended his/her proposal before the end of his/her first year in residence will only initially receive a commitment of one semester of funding for the second year.  The second semester of funding will be restored if he/she defends his/her proposal by Week 10 of the first semester of his/her second year.  A Ph.D. student on assistantship who has not been admitted to candidacy before the end of his/her second year will only initially receive a commitment of one semester of funding for the third year.  The second semester of funding will be restored if he/she is admitted to candidacy by Week 10 of the first semester of his/her third year.

Students that are admitted to the university but not initially provided funding may apply for funding in subsequent years; this will be indicated on the Annual Report.  Those students will then be evaluated alongside new applicants, and if they are awarded funding, will be eligible up through their 2nd year in the M.A. program or 3rd year in the Ph.D. program.

On providing funding support for the 4th year of PhD study

The Department of Geography strongly believes that most full-time doctoral students should be able to finish their dissertations within 3 years of starting their program.  However, considering the competitive nature of the job market today, we believe that providing support for a 4th year in residence is necessary to prepare students for academic or research careers.  This 4th year of support will allow time to complete the dissertation, disseminate the results through publication and presentation, and participate in professional development opportunities. 

To be eligible for a 4th year of funding, a student must have achieved the following in their first 3 years in the PhD program:

  • Reached ABD status by the start of their 3rd year in residence
  • Have made clear progress towards the completion of their dissertation, and have a work plan in place to complete the dissertation by the end of the 4th year.  Progress may include the completion of all primary data collection, completion of the majority of the analysis, and submission of a manuscript if the dissertation is article-based.
  • Have submitted at least one proposal for dissertation or research support to one external (i.e. non-KSU) entity  by the end of their 3rd year in residence (note: for the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant , this means by February of the 3rd  year in residence)
  • Have presented their research at three or more conferences.  At least two presentations should be at national or international meetings.
  • Have at least two peer-reviewed manuscripts published/accepted, including one as lead or sole author
  • Other evidence of substantial scholarly activity (e.g. receiving external funding) can be presented if any of the above criteria are not met. 

The university offers several fellowships each year, for which PhD students may be qualified, including the University Fellowship (aka ‘Dissertation Fellowship’) and the David B Smith Fellowship.  Calls to qualified nominees will be made each spring.

Summer support

The Department offers limited summer support for graduate students to serve as instructors for any courses that are available.  Calls for interested students will be made each spring.  Research support may also be available from faculty with external funding.  Students are also encouraged to explore other options at the University during the summer.

Departmental travel support

The Department encourages students to attend academic conferences and workshops in support of their professional development.  Students are eligible for up to $400 in Departmental travel support per academic year. This total may used for one conference or split across multiple conferences. See the Graduate Handbook for eligibility.  Additional funds for graduate students are often available from the University as well (see below).

Departmental research support

Some research projects incur costs that are otherwise prohibitive for students. To that end, the Geography Department sponsors four separate awards:

A.       Beck Fund supports general research costs for any project topic

B.       Gandhi Fund supports research costs for projects regarding South Asia

C.       Schmidlin Fund supports general research costs for any project topic

D.       Norah Henry Fund supports research costs for female students with demonstrated financial need.

Eligibility: All applicants must be enrolled in a MA or PhD program in the Department of Geography and in good standing.  Each Fund has additional eligibility requirements:

Review: Decisions will be made by the Graduate Committee. Awards will be determined based on the (1) scholarly merit of the project; (2) the quality of the written proposal; (3) the qualifications of the student to complete the work; and (4) award specific criteria (see award descriptions)

A call for proposals will be announced at regular intervals, once or twice a year.  There will be instructions and an official application cover sheet

Graduate Student Senate travel and research support

Graduate Student Senate offers several awards for graduate students in support of research or other professional travel:

  • Domestic Travel Award:  Travel, research, or professional development in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.  This reimbursement award is non-competitive and most popular with fall, spring, and summer application deadlines.
  •  International Travel Award:  Overseas conference or professional development travel.  This reimbursement award is competitive and most popular with fall, spring, and summer application deadlines. 
  • Research Award:  Used for thesis or dissertation research, graduate writing projects, and archival needs.  This reimbursement award is competitive with a fall and spring application deadline.


Student loans and work study

All graduate students are encouraged to apply for needed financial assistance through the Student Financial Aid Office, 103 Michael Schwartz Center. Student loans and Federal Work-Study are available for all eligible graduate students.  Students must complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, and have the results of this form sent to the University.