New assistance for PhD students impacted by COVID

April 2, 2021

Dear PhD Students, 

During the past year, we have heard from you about the extraordinary barriers many of you have faced because of the COVID pandemic in completing your research and progressing toward your degrees. Restricted travel, lack of access to libraries and archives, interrupted human subject research, the many stresses of new caregiving requirements, and anxiety due to the pandemic itself have all contributed to delays in research and writing that could push many doctoral students beyond their expected time to complete their programs, and in some instances beyond their anticipated funding. 

Hundreds of PhD students across the institution have received a variety of supports from their schools and departments through tuition waivers, stipends, and other forms of assistance since the pandemic began, but we know that more help is needed. Today, we are announcing two new COVID-relief fellowship awards, representing approximately $5 million in additional aid for PhD students: 

  • A travel and research award to help PhD students in time-limited funding packages who experienced COVID-related delays in planned dissertation-related travel, fieldwork, or human research conduct. Awards will be for $5,000–$12,000 and may be used to cover travel, visas, housing in another location, a stipend, or expenses. 
  • A dissertation completion award for students whose time-limited funding packages have expired but who need additional time to complete their dissertations because of COVID-related interruptions. The awards will generally cover a stipend, tuition, and health insurance for one semester or the equivalent, though support for additional time may be considered in special circumstances. 

Full details of these supports, including eligibility requirements and application procedures and deadlines, are available here. Funding for both fellowships is limited—we expect to be able to provide 100 travel and research awards and approximately 200–300 dissertation completion awards. Selection will be made by a committee of faculty from several divisions. 

We remain impressed by your dedication to your scholarship and advancing knowledge and discovery despite the challenges of the pandemic. Doctoral education has been a hallmark of Johns Hopkins University since its founding, and we are pleased to provide you additional opportunities for support during these difficult times. 


Ronald J. Daniels 

Sunil Kumar 
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs