PhD Fellowship Awards for COVID Relief

For many PhD students, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant barriers to completion of their degree programs. Restricted travel, lack of access to libraries and archives, new caregiving responsibilities, and interrupted human subject research were just a few COVID-related impacts and delays experienced by students.

In addition to other forms of assistance and support made available to our graduate students through their schools and departments, the Provost’s office at Johns Hopkins University has announced two new COVID-relief fellowship awards. Eligibility for both of these award mechanisms is limited to students in “time-limited funding packages.”  That is, at JHU, some PhD programs provide a funding package to PhD students for a set number of years.  Other programs provide funding for the entire duration of the PhD degree.  The two award mechanisms below are open only to students in programs that provide funding for a set, or limited, number of years.  Students in programs that guarantee funding for the duration of the PhD are not eligible to apply.

1) Travel and research award

Award period closed

Travel and research awards were given to PhD students in time-limited funding packages who experienced COVID-related delays in planned dissertation-related travel, fieldwork, or human research conduct. There was one round of awards for this mechanism, distributed in May 2021, and 87 PhD students received an average of $5,175 each (a total of more than $450,000) to be used anytime in the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. The funding period for this award has closed.

2) Dissertation completion award

The dissertation completion award is for students whose time-limited funding packages have expired but who need additional time to complete their dissertations because of COVID-related interruptions. Most awards will include a stipend ($12,500 for one semester or two JHSPH terms, $6,250 stipend for one JHSPH term), tuition, and health insurance for a semester or equivalent. Some awards will include tuition and health insurance only, depending on students’ own situations.

There are three rounds of applications for awards equivalent to one semester:

  • May 2021 for Fall 2021
  • October 2021 for Spring 2022
  • March 2022 for Summer or Fall 2022


  • PhD student must be in, or must have completed, a time-limited funding package. That is, PhD students whose programs provide them with a funding package for a finite number of years (e.g., for 3 years, or for 5 years) are eligible.  PhD students who are provided tuition, stipend, and health insurance for the duration of the PhD are not eligible to apply.
  • Student must provide description of how COVID delayed completion of dissertation.
  • Student must provide timeline for completion and final defense.
  • Advisor and PhD program director must endorse student’s timeline for completion.

Awards that provide stipends will give preference to those not teaching or with other significant university obligations.  Students who receive dissertation completion funding are expected to be at the end of their program and able to finish in the period of the award.  As such, the assumption is that these students will receive no additional funding (as PhD students) from their home school or department after this award. While some programs may make exceptions in extraordinary cases, students should apply for the dissertation completion award only when completion during the allotted period is realistic and with the assumption that no additional funding will be provided to them by JHU sources while they are still a PhD student.

Students who received the travel/research award are eligible to apply for the dissertation completion award if all other eligibility criteria are met at that time.

Applications for Spring 2022 Dissertation Completion Awards are due Oct. 1, 2021. 

A selection committee will be convened from across the university to make decisions about awards, should more students apply than there are available funds.

For more information, contact

Q+A session

Additionally, Dr. Nancy Kass, vice provost for graduate and professional education, will host an open Q&A session on Zoom about these awards on Sept. 13 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EST. Advance registration is required for this event. If you are unable to attend, send questions to