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Why Apply for External Funding

Even if you are supported by an assistantship, there are a number of compelling reasons that you should consider applying for external funding:

  • There are financial incentives to applying for a fellowship, as fellowship stipends are typically higher than departmental stipends and often cover fees that are not covered by assistantships.

  • Receiving external funding allows students to get paid to work on their own research instead of having to perform duties associated with a teaching or research assistantship or having to pay their own way through graduate school.

  • The prestige that comes with being awarded external funding conveys to potential employers that you are someone who takes initiative, can synthesize and explain difficult concepts, and is an excellent writer, all of which are highly sought characteristics in any job market.

  • You will often be expected to have obtained external funding when going up for tenure. Earning external funding as a graduate student indicates to tenure committees that you will be successful at getting funding at their institution.

  • The FIU committee that awards the Doctoral Evidence Acquisition (DEA) Fellowship and Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) takes into account whether or not you have applied for external funding. It is looked upon favorably if you have previously applied for external funding, successfully or not.

  • Applying for external funding is a great experience; it is a chance to improve your writing skills, and any work that you put towards a proposal will make writing your thesis or dissertation that much easier.