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Negotiating PhD Funding

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DeeLovely79

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Hi Everyone,

There has been something on my mind and I was wondering if those currently in PhD/DrPH programs could respond to this.

I've been accepted to a couple of DrPH programs and I've been told by both schools that they are very interested in me. I still have a few outstanding applications but the chances that those schools will accept me with the same level of funding are small. Normally in this situation I would try to negotiate and get the best deal but I'm not sure if this is the norm for our field.

Should I try to negotiate? If so what should be my targets? My preferences would be for guaranteed summer funding or relocation assistance (in that order)? Would this be appropriate?
 

MolBio

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Hi Everyone,

There has been something on my mind and I was wondering if those currently in PhD/DrPH programs could respond to this.

I've been accepted to a couple of DrPH programs and I've been told by both schools that they are very interested in me. I still have a few outstanding applications but the chances that those schools will accept me with the same level of funding are small. Normally in this situation I would try to negotiate and get the best deal but I'm not sure if this is the norm for our field.

Should I try to negotiate? If so what should be my targets? My preferences would be for guaranteed summer funding or relocation assistance (in that order)? Would this be appropriate?

Sure, you can always try, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I haven't personally heard of such negotiations being successful in public health. Funding is limited, unfortunately, so if there ever was any spare money, I think they would rather help out a student that doesn't have any funding at all, rather than give even more money to a student who already has funding.

I would just avoid trying to frame it as any kind of bidding war or pitting one school against another. That could potentially leave a bitter taste in the mouths of administrators and/or supervisors.

Good luck!

mb
 

twizzler86

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Hi DeeLovely,

I'm in the same admissions cycle as you, so I don't really have the answers that you are looking for, but my understanding is that more "regional" programs (i.e. not Hopkins, UMich, or Tulane lol) are more willing to negotiate. In my acceptance to Temple, the admissions director said to let him know of any competing offers I get if it would help me make the decision to go to Temple.

I think you should definitely try to negotiate. I'm not sure that I've heard of relocation costs ever being covered but maybe you could ask for reimbursement to an additional conference or exam fee (CHES/MCHES/CPH) or something like that? Summer funding would be a smart thing to ask for (and something I never considered).

And just a shameless plug for the Pitt program...but they are really awesome, and if I didn't have a 2 hour radius limit from Philly I would have applied there. Granted, I know nothing about South Carolina's program...
 

Stories

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Every university will have a different stance on this, but as long as that university doesn't have hard stance on what the funding package is, you absolutely can negotiate a bit. Don't negotiate the same way you'd negotiate a job offer, but do say something like, "school X had a stipend that was $29k versus yours which was $27k, can that stipend be matched?"

Some schools has a set stipend by the discipline you're in, so you have no wiggle room in those cases.
 

MolBio

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Every university will have a different stance on this, but as long as that university doesn't have hard stance on what the funding package is, you absolutely can negotiate a bit. Don't negotiate the same way you'd negotiate a job offer, but do say something like, "school X had a stipend that was $29k versus yours which was $27k, can that stipend be matched?"

Whoah, $29K? I should have gone to Yale...
 

Stories

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Whoah, $29K? I should have gone to Yale...

It was $29k, more now (yearly increases) ;) Yale is one of those schools that is very transparent with their stipends for students (http://www.yale.edu/graduateschool/financial/stipend.html). That lower range tends to be humanities students, the high-end tends to be science students. (This almost sounds like a recruiting pitch for Yale doesn't it? Haha).

Luckily for students in the humanities, Yale offers some of the best stipends which are more than stipends for a lot of sciences students in the rest of the country.

Princeton is another student that does a good job with stipends for the lesser funded disciplines, although they aren't quite as transparent as Yale is (http://www.princeton.edu/gradschool/studentlife/students/funding/)
 
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