Doctoral Student Financial Support

At the time of admission, students admitted to doctoral study in the School of Social Welfare are typically offered a funding assistance package that usually includes a total of four years of financial support, funded through a combination of university or departmental fellowship award and Academic Student Employment as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR). A doctoral support package normally includes payment of tuition, fees, and student health insurance, plus an academic year allowance for living expense support, paid by fellowship, salary from a graduate student academic appointment, or a combination of both.

No tuition and fee or stipend support is guaranteed beyond the expiration of the original funding package, although continuing students are eligible to apply for departmentally restricted awards when funds are available. All doctoral students are also strongly encouraged to continually seek additional extramural funding, especially for dissertation support.

In order to best coordinate and advise our PhD students in regards to the multiple possible funding streams with policies of the school and university, you are required to submit a “Student Funding Declaration Form” for each funding stream expected for a given term before the term begins. Should you need to update your funding information, you must submit a new form for adding a new funding source, removing a previously expected funding source, or adjusting a previously reported funding source.

For more information regarding financial support resources, please visit our online guide to Financing Your Graduate Education.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are assessed by the Office of the Registrar each semester.  Tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California; accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student’s final balance due) may differ from year to year. For fee definitions and the most current fee schedule please the Office of the Registrar website regarding “Fee Schedules”.

Nonresident Supplemental Tuition

Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) for out-of-state doctoral students in Social Welfare will only be covered by a Doctoral Student Support Package for the first year. Social Welfare doctoral students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are expected to establish California residency at the end of their first year in California and to maintain residency throughout their studies. For further information about residency classification and instructions on how to establish residency, please visit California Residency for Tuition Purposes.

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are not eligible to establish California residency and must pay nonresident supplemental tuition EXCEPT for a three-year exemption when advanced to doctoral candidacy. The Social Welfare Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship will pay NRST on behalf of international students for the first three years of study.

Fellowship Awards

Students receiving any university fellowship support are subject to all university rules, regulations and eligibility requirements for financial support. Students receiving external fellowships must also refer to the fellowship terms set by the corresponding agency, including terms regarding supplementation with employment or another fellowship.

To be considered for fellowship funding all applicants to doctoral study must submit a completed application for graduate admission and fellowships. In addition, to become eligible for university funding, U.S. citizens and permanent residents should also submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the FAFSA deadline.

Fellowship recipients are required to register full time (generally 12 units per semester) and to devote their time to study and/or research in the field in which the award is made, make satisfactory academic progress, and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Your award letter will include any details about additional specific enrollment requirements. You MUST immediately inform your faculty adviser, the GSAO, and the Graduate Fellowships Office of any changes that may affect your fellowship award(s), such as the offer of another award or any concerns about making sufficient academic progress.

Coordinating Payment of Tuition and Fees with Other Fellowships or Awards

Throughout your graduate career you may receive more than one type of award that is intended to pay fee, or fees and tuition, for a particular semester. Fee remissions for students with eligible academic student appointments will generally take precedence over concurrent fellowships, departmental awards, and loans.

If you receive more than one type of award intended for tuition and/or fee support, a set of established rules governs the following order in which awards are credited to offset fees and tuition in your CalCentral student account:

  1. Outside agency awards.
  2. Fee and tuition remissions from UCB campus appointments.
  3. Departmental fellowships and awards paid through your CalCentral student account.
  4. University fellowship awards or Block Grant awards.
  5. Student Loans.
  6. Student Payments.

Please communicate to the GSAO when you identify or cultivate resources to support your graduate studies via the “Student Funding Declaration Form”.

Fellowship Funds Paid by External Sources

Students receiving fellowship support from an external source/outside agency are responsible for ensuring that funds get properly applied to their CalCentral accounts by the payment deadlines each semester. Do NOT remit external fellowship checks to the School of Social Welfare. External fellowship checks should be made payable to “UC Regents” and mailed to the UC Berkeley Financial Aid & Scholarships Office, 201 Sproul Hall #1960, Berkeley, CA 94720-1960.

Be sure to give your donor your student identification number (SID) and ask them to include it with your award. It's also helpful if the donor includes a letter explaining the award terms when they send the award check to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.

Stipend Limits on Graduate Division Fellowships

A student may become eligible for multiple awards during the same period, e.g. when a student is eligible for a combination of Graduate Division fellowships or when a student receives an external fellowship in addition to a Graduate Division fellowship. In the interest of ensuring that certain funds are distributed widely and equitably, the Graduate Division sets limits on stipend amounts paid from Graduate Division funds.

Recipients of Graduate Division funding are limited to $36,000 in stipend support per 12-month academic year (fall, spring, and the following summer). The cap applies to Graduate Division funds, including block grant awardsas well as to Graduate Division funding in combination with external awards (such as federal multi-year fellowships and one-year research/dissertation writing fellowships.)

The following types of awards are excluded from the cap:

  • Departmentally-controlled gift and endowment funds (including Departmentally Restricted Awards), which may be used for additional supplementation in furtherance of departmental recruitment needs
  • Graduate Division awards that are intended to cover specific expenses (e.g., Conference Travel Grants, Parent Grants); to reward meritorious service (e.g. Outstanding GSI Awards); or to provide a one-time recruitment bonus (e.g. Power Top-Off Awards).

Salary from academic student appointments also does not count toward the $36,000 stipend cap.

 Note that some fellowships may have their own stipend limits or other supplementation rules. For complete details please see the Graduate Division Policy Memo on Stipend Cap and Work Restriction for Graduate Division Fellowships.

Appointments while on Full Graduate Division Fellowships

Recipients of University multi-year fellowships and other full Graduate Division and Graduate Division-administered awards (such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship) are restricted to working no more than 25% time during the academic year semesters (not including summer) in which they receive fellowship funding. Beginning in 2018-19, however, the Graduate Division will impose no work restriction on recipients of block grant awards and other departmental awards paid using Graduate Division funds.

The 25% limit for full fellowships applies by academic year, to average employment across the academic year semesters in which a fellow receives funding. Hence, a fellow receiving fellowship funds in both Fall and Spring may hold a single one-semester 50% appointment, 25% appointments in both terms, or another combination averaging 25% time. A student receiving a fellowship in only one semester is limited to 25% employment during that semester, but is subject to no fellowship-related limitation during the other semester. There is no employment restriction over the summer.

Note that some fellowships, including the Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF) and U.C. Dissertation-Year Fellowship, are subject to other work rules, as outlined in their corresponding award notices and terms documents.

Living Expense Support during Departmental Funding Package Years

Living expense support is typically comprised of multiple funding sources each semester, which are prioritized by the school and university in the following order:

  1. External awards and fellowships
  2. University Fellowships (i.e. Multi-Year Fellowships, Mentored Research Award)
  3. Salary from a 25% Academic Student Employment appointment as a GSI, GSR, or Reader.
  4. Departmental Fellowship awards.

Social Welfare Dean’s Conference Travel Award

Doctoral students presenting original research, or participating as an invited discussant or panelist, at a major meeting of a recognized learned society or professional organization, may apply for a Social Welfare Dean’s Conference Travel Award. Travel Awards are given in the form of a graduate grant-in-aid paid directly to your CalCentral account. The award amount is $1,600, and you may receive one Dean’s Travel Award per academic year.

In your final, job-seeking year in the doctoral program, you may apply for up to two Dean’s Travel Awards, with the limitation that at least one of them must be to support you presenting at either the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting or the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) Annual Conference.

The Application for Social Welfare Dean's PhD Conference Travel Award must be submitted no later than three weeks before the start date of the conference or meeting. Applications submitted later than this deadline or after the fact will not be considered, without exception.

Travel grants cannot be awarded for travel to states listed on California’s state-sponsored travel ban (AB 1887), which currently include: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.