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Sixth-Year Funding Initiative

Yale funds virtually all Ph.D. students for five years. What happens if you need more time to complete your dissertation?  If you’re in the sciences or engineering, you’re usually covered by your adviser’s research grants, but what if you’re studying French or sociology? We’re proud to tell you that Yale is the first graduate school to provide funding for our sixth-year students in the humanities and social sciences.
If you are a Ph.D. student in the humanities and social sciences, you are eligible for a guaranteed teaching position or its equivalent if you have no other source of funding. In your sixth year, you will be supported at the same level as your department’s standard stipend for the nine-month academic year. 
Teaching positions may be within or outside of your department or program, or in newly identified areas of professional development, such as an assistantship in one of Yale’s collections, in digital humanities, or in the teaching of writing or other skills. If no appropriate position is available, but you have been approved under the initiative, you will nonetheless continue to receive the stipend.


Eligibility for this funding is usually determined in the spring, when programs identify which fifth-year students are on track to complete their dissertations in the following year. 
To be eligible for funding through the Sixth-Year Initiative, you must:
  • Be a Ph.D. student in the humanities and social sciences in an FAS program
  • Be currently in your fifth year of study
  • Be certified by your graduate program that you are on track to submit your dissertation by August of your sixth year of study
  • Submit your Dissertation Progress Report (DPR) by the deadline
If you have deferred University or external funding for one term in your sixth year, you may be considered for one term of guaranteed sixth-year funding through teaching.


  1. Submit your Dissertation Progress Report (DPR) each year.
  2. Based on your DPR, your department or program will notify the Graduate School if you are eligible to be considered for guaranteed sixth-year teaching.
    1. If you will begin your sixth year in the fall term, your program will review your DPR in May of your fifth year to determine if you are on track to submit your dissertation by August of the next year.
    2. If you will begin your sixth year in the spring term, your program will review your DPR in August of your fifth year to determine if you are on track to submit your dissertation by January of your sixth year. You may be asked to submit a mid-year DPR update. 

Stipend and Teaching Expectations

If you are in the humanities or social sciences in an FAS program, you are expected to teach for four terms as part of your financial aid package. If no appropriate teaching is available, you will still receive the standard departmental stipend. If you do additional teaching in your sixth year, you will receive the standard departmental stipend during the terms you teach.

Year Seven and Beyond

If you are in your seventh year, you are not guaranteed a teaching position. If one is available in year seven and beyond, you may teach up to three assignments per year.
Students registered full-time beyond year six receive $8,000 for assignments requiring up to 20 hours per week and $4,000 for assignments requiring up to 10 hours per week. Assignments that fall between the two hourly ranges will be considered on an individual basis. There is no stipend supplement associated with teaching in year seven and beyond; however, students will receive a tuition fellowship.
Funds from the Sixth-Year Initiative may not be deferred into the seventh year. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the sixth-year funding initiative offered only to students in the humanities and social sciences?

Doctoral students in the sciences and engineering continue to be funded according to their program’s financial aid package, normally for the number of years it takes to complete their degrees. However, funding for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences operates differently, and in the past, it has not been guaranteed beyond year five for those students. For this reason, the Graduate School’s Sixth-Year Funding Initiative is focused on providing greater resources to humanities and social sciences programs in FAS. 

Should I apply for external fellowships, even if I am eligible for sixth-year funding through teaching? 

We encourage students to seek external funding whenever possible for many reasons, including:
  1. External fellowships are prestigious and an important professional credential. 
  2. If you are on an external fellowships in year six, you will have more time for your research and writing than if you are teaching in order to be eligible for sixth-year funding from Yale. 
  3. External fellowships can help provide greater flexibility in your program. For example, if you want to do research in absentia in years three or four - when you would normally be expected to teach to receive University funding - you can use external funding to do so. 

If I win an external fellowship or have other outside funding, can I defer my sixth-year guaranteed teaching to year seven? 

No. You may not defer your sixth-year guaranteed teaching. None of the Yale financial aid package may be taken after your sixth year.
The purpose of the this initiative is to ensure that eligible sixth-year students have an additional nine months of funding, which may include funding from external sources, in order to complete their program by August of their sixth year. This funding is predicated on finishing before year seven. 
If I win an external fellowship, am I still eligible for the combined award when teaching in my sixth year?
Yes, if you win an external fellowship and are teaching with the standard departmental stipend, you will be eligible for the combined award. For more information, please read our External Fellowships & Combined Award Policy

Can I use the sixth-year guaranteed teaching in year five and the University Dissertation Fellowship (UDF) in year six?

No. The sixth-year guaranteed teaching may only be used in the sixth year. You should take the UDF in year five, which will allow you to take advantage of sixth-year funding if you need it. If you win an external award in year five, you may defer your UDF to year six; but, in that case, you will not be eligible for the Sixth-Year Funding Initiative. Your UDF will provide funding for that year.

Is the sixth-year funding paid over a nine-month or a twelve-month period?

Sixth-year funding is disbursed in the form of a stipend during the term in which the teaching occurs. As with all teaching stipends, payments for the spring term end on May 31 and payments for the fall term end on January 15. 
If you defer a summer of funding from a previous year, you will be able to take that deferred summer funding in the summer of your sixth year (e.g. if you used external funding exclusively in the summer of year four, then you can defer that summer of University funding to the summer of your sixth year.) 


If my adviser and DGS do not approve my Dissertation Progress Report (DPR) before the deadline, am I still eligible for guaranteed teaching?

If you submit your DPR on time to be eligible for this funding, we will work with your program to ensure your DPR is reviewed promptly. 

Can sixth-year students who do not qualify for the guaranteed nine months of funding still teach?

Yes, even if you don’t qualify for the Sixth-Year Initiative funding, you may teach in your sixth year if teaching positions are available. You will continue to receive the standard departmental stipend when you teach. However, you will not be guaranteed teaching and, in many cases, may not receive a teaching assignment until after the start of the term.


What if I received sixth-year funding, but failed to submit my dissertation by August of that year, as originally planned? Will I be permitted to register for a seventh year and submit then?

Yes. You may petition for extended registration and may register, if you receive departmental and Graduate School approval.