PhD Fellowship Awards for COVID Relief

For many PhD students, the COVID-19 pandemic has 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 have been just a few COVID-related impacts and delays experienced by students.

In addition to other forms of assistance and support that schools and departments have made available to graduate students, the Provost’s office at Johns Hopkins University has sponsored two types of COVID-relief fellowship awards. Eligibility for both of these award mechanisms is limited to PhD students in “time-limited funding packages.”  That is, some PhD programs at JHU 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. These COVID relief awards 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.


Award period has closed

Travel and research awards were awarded to PhD students in time-limited funding packages who experienced COVID-related delays in planned dissertation-related travel, fieldwork, or human research conduct. There were two rounds of awards for this mechanism, distributed in May 2021 and April 2022, to 141 students totaling in approximately $750,000. The funding period for this award has closed.  


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

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

  • May 2021 for Fall 2021 (Funding window for this award period has closed)
  • October 2021 for Spring 2022 (Funding window for this award period has closed)
  • March 2022 for Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023 (Funding window for this award period has closed)
  • Final funding period: Dec. 5, 2022, due date for use in Summer 2023 or Fall 2023 – Apply below

Please note that due to budgetary rules, students funded in this award period will receive a check in May 2023 to cover anticipated costs of the requested components of the award (tuition, health insurance, and/or stipend) to be used, by the student, in Summer/Fall 2023. For students requesting tuition and health insurance as part of their award, we will do our best to estimate these costs for Summer or Fall 2023 when the funds are distributed in May 2023.  We acknowledge that a student’s exact expenses may be different. Due to compliance constraints, the amount of the award cannot be adjusted at a later date.

Dissertation Completion Award Eligibility:

  • PhD students must have been provided with a time-limited funding package, and that package must have been completed by the time the award will be used.  That is, PhD students are eligible whose programs provided them with a funding package for a finite number of years (e.g., for 3 years, or for 5 years) and for whom that package has ended by the time the award will be used.  PhD students who are provided tuition, stipend, and health insurance for the duration of the PhD are not eligible to apply.
  • Students must provide description of how COVID delayed completion of their dissertation.
  • Students must provide a timeline for completion of the degree and final defense.
  • The student’s advisor and PhD program director must endorse the student’s timeline for completion.
  • Students who previously were awarded a travel/research award are eligible to apply for a dissertation completion award. Students who previously received a dissertation completion award are not eligible to apply

Dissertation completion awards will give preference to those not teaching or with no or very few 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 (Summer or Fall 2023). 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.

Applications for Summer 2023 and Fall 2023 Dissertation Completion Awards are due Dec. 5. A selection committee will be convened from across the university to make decisions about awards. Decisions will be returned in January, 2023.

For more information, please contact

Additionally, Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education Nancy Kass will host an open Q&A session on Zoom about these awards on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from noon-1 p.m. EST.  Registration for this event is required.

If you are unable to attend the Q&A session, please email with questions.