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Funding Support for Graduate Study

All students admitted to the graduate program in HDFS are provided funding for their graduate study.  Funding could be in the form of a fellowship or an assistantship, but both include (a) the full cost of tuition, (b) a stipend for living expenses, and (c) a health insurance subsidy.  Tuition costs are paid directly by the fellowship or assistantship and therefore the student does not have the responsibility of paying the tuition.  Funding is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 years, with the expectation that funding can be provided for as long as needed to complete the program, presuming the student remains in good standing and is in residence in State College.


Most students are funded on assistantships in which the student is given a part time position that supports their professional development.  In most cases this is in the form of a teaching assistantship, where students are appointed to 1 or more classes to assist the instructor.  In some cases students may be appointed a research assistantship instead, in which their responsibilities are to a specific lab and research project.  It is not uncommon for students to transition between many different types and sources of funding during their time in the program, and these transitions will help diversify the range of experiences an opportunities for skill development. 


Fellowships are available through the College of Health and Human Development and through the Graduate School.  If you are eligible for a fellowship the department will nominate you for consideration once the admissions committee issues the acceptance.  No additional information or application will be requested from you, you will automatically be advanced for consideration. Eligibility is based on academic record including GRE scores and undergraduate GPA.  Some fellowships are specifically targeted at enhancing diversity in the graduate programs and eligibility is restricted to individuals from under-represented minorities.  Your eligibility for such fellowships is determined by your response to the demographic questions in the application.  Fellowships protect your time for research by not requiring assistantship responsibilities. 

International Students

Eligibility for funding from the program is not affected by U.S. citizenship, all students regardless of country of origin or residence are guaranteed departmental support.  However, international students may not be eligible for all fellowships.  In some cases international students are provided with money from their governments to support their graduate education.  It should be noted that this is not considered during the admissions process and will not affect the likelihood of being admitted.

Specialized Training Fellowships

HDFS students are frequently funded by the following training grants at Penn State:

External Support

HDFS graduate students have been highly successful at receiving federally funded individual training grants.  Students have the opportunity to take a semester-long course in grant writing and are encouraged to apply for their own funding. 

NIH F31/NRSA recipients

Nicole DePasquale - 2015
Amanda Griffin - 2018

Jacinda Li - 2016
Emily LoBraico - 2019
Megan Maas - 2015
Chelsea Muth - 2018

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Alison Hepworth