10 Highest Paid Ph.D. Stipends | Best Universities

A Ph.D. is the highest degree a university can bestow on a student. Ph.D. is an abbreviated and widely used form of the Doctor of Philosophy degree title.

Although Ph.D. degrees might include a wide range of topics, from computer software to education, the traditional definition of philosophy encompassed the arts and sciences.

When choosing a university for your Ph.D., considering the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends 2023 in the world is quite necessary.

Unlike professional degrees such as Juris Doctor (J.D.) for law and Medical Doctor (M.D.) for medicine, which need particular technical training, a Ph.D. focuses on high levels of academic specialization based on study and knowledge. It also requires a lot of financial commitment.

So, getting the highest-paid Ph.D. stipend at the best universities will influence your career choice.

Beyond an undergraduate degree, obtaining a Ph.D. necessitates many years of extra education. Before beginning their doctoral studies, some Ph.D. students complete a master’s degree.

Most graduate degrees require students to write a dissertation based on extensive study on a specific topic. Starting salaries for Ph.D. graduates are often greater than those for professionals with a master’s or bachelor’s degree due to the level of academic training necessary to obtain one.

A stipend is a payment made to a student that is not wages and is made in connection with the student’s educational activity. It’s also paid in a variety of ways.

It can be a scholarship, fellowship, financial assistance award, training grant, or other contribution provided to a graduate, undergraduate, or postdoctoral student to fund educational or training expenses, such as tuition, living costs, and incidental expenses.

Stipends are not remuneration for services provided and cannot be paid. Because it is not meant to recompense a student for work done, a stipend differs from wages or salary.

Rather, it is intended to allow a student to take on a role in educational studies or research that would otherwise be unpaid without having to take on additional compensated work to pay his or her expenses.

Academic study or research frequently aids students in their educational pursuits.

As a result, graduate students who are not compelled to disclose “hours” linked with their activities are frequently granted stipends.

What is the Stipend for a Ph.D. student?

In the United States, a master’s degree is not usually required to pursue a Ph.D. Several prestigious colleges offer Ph.D. programs with immediate entry.

However, to earn a Ph.D. in the United States, students must complete two to three years of coursework and pass qualifying tests.

Doctoral students might use this period to refine their research interests and focus on their thesis topic.

They’ll also create a thesis proposal, which must be accepted before they can begin working on their dissertation.

Most Ph.D. programs also require two to three years of teaching experience, either as a class leader or as a teaching assistant for a professor. In the United States, a Ph.D. takes approximately six years to complete.

In contrast to certain European countries, the United States does not have a required minimum income or national salary scale for Ph.D. students. Depending on their university, subject of study, and location, Ph.D. students can earn anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 per year.

This stipend may be tax-free (if it is a fellowship grant) or taxable (if it is a salary award), e.g., from a teaching position).

Although most Ph.D. students in the United States are only paid for nine months of the year, many schools offer summer assistance.

Additionally, a complete or partial tuition waiver will be included in a Ph.D. financing package.

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Which University is the Highest Paid Ph.D. Stipend in the World?

2020/2021 PhD students at Stanford University received a PhD stipend or teaching assistantship of $45 850. Thus, Stanford University has the highest-paid Ph.D. stipend in the world.

Below is a table that shows each university and how much PhD stipend they pay. The University of Massachusetts tops the list with a $62, 000 Ph.D. stipend and a living wage ratio of 2.70.

UniversityField of StudyPh.D. Stipend (1st Year)Living Wage Ratio
University of Massachusetts – Amherst (UMass)Computer Science$62,0002.70
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)Business Analytics$57,1002.51
University of California – Riverside (UCR)Economics$60,0002.49
Iowa State University (ISU)Mechanical Engineering$50,0002.36
University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW)Comparative Biomedical Science$52,0002.28
New York University (NYU)Data Science$66,0002.22
The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (UM)Biological Engineering$51,0002.21
University of Arkansas – FayettevilleAccounting$40,2002.01
University of Chicago (UC)Economics$48,0001.98
University of Miami (UM)Biomedical Engineering$46,6001.96
University of Missouri (MU)Electrical Engineering & Computer Science$40,0001.95
Northeastern University (NU)Psychology$55,0001.92
Virginia TechPublic administration and public affairs$40,0001.90
Washington University in St. Louis (Wash U)Hispanic Studies$38,7201.87
New York University (NYU)Chemistry$55,0001.85
University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)Geophysics & Space Physics$47,7631.85
Brown UniversityComputer Science$41,9301.84
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)Geography$41,2701.84
Rice UniversityBusiness$40,0001.83
University of Chicago (UC)Economics$43,5001.79
Washington University in St. Louis (Wash U)Business$37,0001.79
Brown UniversityComputer Science$40,5001.78
University of Oregon (UO)Media$37,3371.78
University of California – BerkeleyEducation$49,0001.76
New York University (NYU)Neural Science$52,0001.75

Which Ph.D. Offers the Highest Pay

Chemical Engineering Ph.D.: (Starting Salary: $96,100 – $146,000 in mid-career salary)

Chemical engineering is a discipline that combines physical sciences such as chemistry and physics with life sciences such as biochemistry and microbiology.

It also makes use of mathematics to address problems involving the usage of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, or fuel.

These programs are designed to provide engineers with in-depth knowledge of the field’s basics as well as current research findings and approaches.

Chemical engineering has recently been acknowledged as the finest Ph.D. degree in terms of compensation, with continuous job growth and excellent early and mid-career salaries. Chemical engineers frequently work as researchers in biotechnology and business services.

If you are wondering which Ph.D. course pays the highest, Chemical Engineering has the highest-paid stipend today based on program selection.

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Uses of Ph.D. Stipend

According to the IRS, a stipend should not be used as a principal source of remuneration in most situations where an hourly rate or salary is paid. The only exception is in academia, where it can be used in place of pay to support student tasks such as research or teaching.

A stipend can be used in a variety of ways by an employer as a perk, benefit, incentive, recruiting, or retention tool. Stipends can be used to cover the costs of commuting, meals, home office expenses, insurance, wellness, living expenses, travel, mobile or internet subscriptions, training, and professional development, according to Hoppier, a stipend management application.

Universities with the Highest-Paid Stipends

Stanford University:

Highest Paid PhD Stipends

Financial aid is granted to all new PhD candidates for five years as long as they maintain satisfactory academic progress and meet program milestones. For the 2020–21 academic year, the fellowship stipend and/or research or teaching assistantship is $45,850. Hence, it remains one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends.

Fellowship stipends are given on the first day of each quarter when students have completed the minimum needed units by the advertised/appointed date. The minimum enrollment requirement for the ordinary academic year is eight units. The minimum is three units for the Summer Quarter.

Stipends are distributed a few business days after the student achieves the minimum enrollment requirements if the enrollment deadline is missed. Before the stipend is issued, all mandatory expenditures on the student account, such as rent for university living, will be deducted. Although no taxes are withheld, stipends are taxable income that must be reported. It is one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends in the USA.

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Princeton University:

Highest Paid PhD Stipends

Princeton offers support to degree-seeking PhD candidates for all years of normal program attendance, assuming excellent academic performance. The average length of a Ph.D. degree is five years, with a few outliers for four-year programs.

$35,500 for a 12-month university fellowship, $30,800 for a 10-month fellowship, $10,800 for a 10-month research assistantship, and $33,800 for a 10-month teaching assistantship.

This financing may come from a variety of sources for a PhD student’s years of regular attendance, providing a minimum level of annual support that includes full tuition and fees assistance as well as a base stipend amount. This base stipend is intended to cover a single graduate student’s projected living expenditures for each year of normal enrolment.

Ph.D. students who have not completed their degree can enroll in Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) status for up to two years after their regular enrollment period finishes, paying a marginal cost tuition rate.

DCE students are encouraged to engage with their departments to get a research or partial teaching position, or to seek out and apply for external funding because their support is not guaranteed. Princeton university is one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends in the USA.

University of South Carolina:

Highest Paid PhD Stipends

All Ph.D. students are offered the following:

  • An assistantship for three or four years with in-state tuition, a minimum stipend of $5,000-$6,000 per semester, and a minimum tuition supplement of $15,000 over three years. 
  •  $10,000 is given each year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year
  •  A stipend of $5,000-$6,000 per semester for three or four years

Every year, the University selects students to receive federally sponsored fellowships that can be used in place of a research or teaching assistantship. Graduate students with outstanding academic records will be automatically considered for these grants.

These fellowships, which range in value from $1,000 to $4,000, are given to the most promising incoming students. Professor Peyton C. Teague, an organic chemist, was honored with the Teague Fellowships.

Charles Murtiashaw III, a Pfizer human disease researcher, is honored with the Murtiashaw Fellowship in Organic Chemistry. Each year, one Murtiashaw Fellow is chosen from among applicants who have expressed an interest in organic chemistry.

The IRIX/David L. Coffen Fellowship and the Jerome D. Odom Fellowship in Chemistry are two more scholarships available. The USC Presidential Fellowships will be offered to the top applicants.

Rice University:

Highest Paid PhD Stipends

24,000–$40,000Departmental stipends of $24,000-$40,000 per year are common for qualified Ph.D. candidates to cover living expenses. That implies you may acquire your Ph.D. while also getting compensated. Hence, this makes it one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends.

Full-tuition support is often granted to students who obtain departmental stipends or win a competitive external fellowship. Rice’s tuition is lower than that of most private major research universities, and its payroll system distributes graduate stipends every two months.

Steps to Follow to Get the Stipend

  1.  You must fill out an I-9 form and submit original documents to the Payroll Office.
  • These candidates will only fill out the I-9 form after receiving an offer letter for a career as a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant.”
  1. To be eligible for a student stipend, you must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 hours per term) for the current semester.
  2. If you have not submitted a W-4 tax form to Payroll, you will still be paid, but the highest tax rate will be withheld.
  3. Your payroll authorization form must have been submitted by the payroll deadline.

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University of Houston:

Highest Paid PhD Stipends

Students are paid a stipend of $25,000 per year plus a $1,800 health insurance subsidy, which makes it one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends. Furthermore, a Graduate Tuition Fellowship (GTF) is provided if academic conditions are met; the student pays tuition and fees from this income, resulting in a net of $20,800 per year.

A graduate student must have a 3.00 grade grade grade point average and work as a graduate assistant to be eligible for a Graduate Tuition Fellowship (GTF).

The college GTF will cover 9 SCH (semester credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters and 6 SCH in the summer. If a student enrols in over one SCH every semester, he or she is financially responsible for those uses.

Continuing students must have shown adequate progress in the department’s degree program. Ph.D. degree-seeking students who attend the doctoral program directly from a baccalaureate program are limited to six academic years to hold the fellowship.

The fellowship is limited to four academic years for students who begin the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree. Students who receive a fellowship must agree not to work in any other capacity (on or off-campus). If this provision is broken, funding will be withdrawn for the semester in which the violation occurs.

This fellowship is one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends in the USA.

University of California – San Diego

Ph.D. students (in good academic standing) now get a stipend of $31,000 per year, which will increase to $34,000 per year on July 1, 2021. In addition to the stipend, they compensate all Ph.D. students for the full cost of tuition, fees, and health insurance. Hence, they are one of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends.

Depending on residency status, the entire support package ranges from $47,019.18 to $63,121.18 per year.

Block grants from the University of California, training grants from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, teaching assistantships, graduate fellowships, and faculty research funds are the primary sources of funding. The PhD program is estimated to take 5 years to finish.

Doctoral students must achieve university and departmental requirements for good academic standing to be eligible for help.

Students are invited to join a research group at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to ensure that they will get full annual support for the duration of their degree.

Before the commencement of their second academic year, eligible students (U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents) must establish residency in California.

Non-resident extra tuition and fees will be paid out of pocket by students who do not achieve California residency by the start of the second academic year.

Ohio University:

Each year, the school gives graduate assistantships to about 8 to 12 new students. The assistantships come with a full tuition waiver and a stipend of around $14,100 each year. Academic programs and departments make graduate appointments.

Appointments come with a stipend and, in most cases, a tuition aid. The amount of a stipend or a scholarship varies depending on the program. Research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and graduate assistantships are all examples of appointment kinds.

The Graduate Committee gives competitively assistantships based on merit. Graduate assistantships are only available to students who have been accepted unconditionally.

Students in the program are often given financial aid for eight semesters or four years if they are making satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Limited adjunct funding may be provided for students who need over eight semesters of support, depending on their circumstances.

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Boston University:

Doctoral Research Fellowships include a stipend and a scholarship to particularly eligible students for departmental research. This fellowship will require you to do research activities assigned by your department for only 20 hours per week. The time invested and financial reward received makes them one of the highest-paid PhD stipends.

The scholarship will be issued immediately to your student account and will cover tuition costs up to a maximum of 18 credits per semester for courses that are required for your degree, plus necessary fees (Student Services Fee and the Health & Wellness Fee). In exchange for the scholarship portion of this fellowship, no service is required.

  • Amount of stipend; $11,961.50/semester
  • Period of Payment; Summer: May-August (17 weeks), Fall: September-December (17 weeks), Spring: January-April (17 weeks) (18 weeks)
  • Structure of Payment;
  • The stipend is provided once a week on Fridays.
  • Taxes: Income tax applies to the part of financial aid that exceeds the cost of tuition, books, and fees. The University is required to disclose the stipend element of the award as income to the federal government, so this stipend is subject to tax withholding.
  • Medical Coverage: Your participation in the university’s basic student medical insurance plan will be covered by the university.

Cornell University:

Doctoral students (PhD) get competitive funding packages that include tuition, fees, a stipend, and the Student Health Plan (SHP). Almost all PhD students are completely paid, thanks to grants, assistantships, and considerable supplements for certain types of external funding. And the amount they get makes them one of the highest-paid PhD stipends.

University Fellowship;

  • $28,654 in total (Social science and Arts & Humanities)
  • $33,032 in total (Physical Sciences & Engineering and Life Sciences)

Fellowships are merit-based rewards that do not require any type of service, such as teaching or research. Tuition, stipend, and the Student Health Plan are all included in fellowships (SHP). External fellowships are merit-based scholarships from outside organizations or governments.

Fellowship stipends are disbursed through the bursar system and show on student accounts as lump-sum refunds around the beginning of the semester.

They are usually taxable, and because taxes aren’t withheld, students should budget for tax filing later. Stipends have historically increased each year in response to inflation and cost of living adjustments.
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University of Hawaii, Manoa:

The School provides full support (a Graduate Assistantship with a stipend and a full tuition waiver) to all PhD students for eight semesters. Competitively, students may apply for up to two more semesters of Graduate Assistantship funding, subject to funds availability.

Graduate assistantships provide a full-tuition remission and a monthly stipend, which is currently valued at $18,204 per year for PhD students, as well as a $15,000 scholarship to help with tuition and health insurance costs. Although they come at last position, they still offer one of the highest-paid PhD stipends. the  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who qualifies for a stipend?

After tuition and associated fees have been paid, you are only eligible for a stipend if you have extra financial aid funds left over from your award. Once your financial aid disbursement has been posted to your student account at the University, you can also contact your Student Advisor for confirmation of stipend eligibility.

What are the different types of stipends available?

Stipends are divided into two categories: financial and non-financial.
Financial help includes stipends granted to students without the necessity of labor in kind.

These stipends are recorded as financial assistance on a 1098-T statement at the end of the year.

 Stipends given to students in exchange for university labor are not considered financial aid. These are wages, and they are reported as income on a W-2 form at the end of the year. These stipends are reported as wages on the tax return

Is a Stipend Subject to Taxation?

On a stipend, you’ll almost certainly have to pay taxes. The portion used for qualifying educational expenditures is not taxable, but the remainder is. Only $2,000 of a stipend is taxed if $1,000 goes toward tuition and books and $2,000 goes toward housing and board.

What is the distinction between a salary and a stipend?

Salaries: Compensation for services or hours completed; must adhere to minimum wage standards and be paid to employees on a weekly or biweekly basis; it may increase over time based on performance or fair market value.

Stipends: Trainees are paid a fixed amount that is not depending on the services they provide and is not subject to minimum wage laws. Interns, students, fellow apprentices, and clergy receive it for a set period (i.e. one year or one semester).

Are you able to work out a stipend?

A stipend can be negotiated. The organization may or may not grant you a raise, depending on the circumstances. It’s helpful to bring data to the table when negotiating a salary or stipend. It shows the other party that you’ve done your homework and have a solid basis for requesting more.

With so many sponsored Ph.D. programs available, the amount varies depending on the program of studies, departments, school yearly financing, and country of origin. It’s difficult to find the school that pays the highest stipend to Ph.D. students, but through careful analysis, we’ve been able to identify the schools that we believe pay the highest stipends to students. However, this data is subject to criticism due to the constant change in the funding of PhD programs in different schools around the world, so we can only provide an overview of how it works.


A lot of institutions offer stipends for PhD students, but these stipends do not cover a lot of their basic expenses.

However, this list of the highest-paid Ph.D. stipends you can get at any of the top institutions will help you make a better choice.



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