Financial Support, Fellowships, Grants, and Awards

Financial Support

The Department of Anthropology has financial support available for new and continuing graduate students. Funding is competitive. Decisions to award financial aid are based on the faculty's collective evaluation of overall student performance, made at special faculty meetings at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters. A notice of deadlines for student requests for support is posted well in advance of these meetings.

Note: If you request any kind of financial aid (departmental or otherwise), you must fill out the free application for federal student aid. For current forms, consult the SMU Office of Financial Aid, at

Types of Financial Support:

Department/University-based Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TAs) typically pay a stipend plus remission of tuition/fees. Basic health insurance coverage will be provided for students who maintain full-time status and have support through a stipend/assistantship of at least $23,000/AY (Academic Year). Assignments are made by the Department Chair after consultation with faculty members.

Note: Before you can participate in classroom instruction as a Teaching Assistant (or Adjunct Lecturer), you must attend a teaching assistant symposium sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence. In addition to the symposium, you will be required to take, at the earliest opportunity, a one-hour non-credit teacher-training seminar (ANTH 6034). This seminar normally is offered every other semester.

Department Assistantships (DAs) typically pay a stipend plus remission of tuition/fees. Basic health insurance coverage will be provided for students who maintain full-time status and have support through a stipend/assistantship of at least $23,000/AY. Assignments will be made by the Department Chair.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are provided to graduate students who work on sponsored research projects led by individual faculty members. The compensation paid to GRAs may vary, according to the guidelines of the funding agency, and may cover summers as well as the fall/spring semesters. Under most circumstances, GRAs will receive remission of tuition/fees and will be provided with health insurance coverage. Assignments are made by the Principal Investigator of the research project and confirmed by the Department Chair.

Note: Financial support for graduate students is limited. Except under extraordinary circumstances, Teaching Assistantships and Department Assistantships are not available to students in the M.A. program.

Readers/Graders. From time to time, there are opportunities to work as a reader (or grader) for departmental or extra-departmental courses on an "as needed" short-term basis. Compensation and responsibilities will vary. Please see the Department Chair if you are interested in working in such a role.

Campus Jobs. Over the years, graduate students in anthropology have been creative in finding employment on campus beyond the Department of Anthropology. They have worked in the libraries, in other academic centers (e.g., Women's Studies Program Office), in the residence halls (as dorm directors), to name just a few. If you are being funded as a TA, DA, or GRA, before you can accept additional part-time or full-time employment on campus beyond our department, you must obtain approval from the Department Chair and the Dean of Dedman College. For more information about campus employment, contact: Federal Work Study Program (FWSP) and Texas College Work Study Program (TCWSP) funds are available at SMU for those financially eligible. If you believe that you are eligible, please indicate this in your application for admission. Tuition Awards Tuition Awards (covering tuition/fees) usually are tied to Teaching Assistantships, Department Assistantships, and Graduate Research Assistantships. In exceptional circumstances, partial tuition awards may be made to students in other situations to expedite their movement through the program. Tuition Equalization Grants (TEG), available from the State of Texas, (9 hours for one term). These are available only to Texas residents. If you believe that you qualify, please indicate this in your application for admission.

Fellowships and Grants

Students are strongly encouraged to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program, the Ford Foundation, and other appropriate agencies. Successful applicants may receive as much as $30,000/year plus remission of tuition/fees and health insurance coverage. Information is available through the Office of Research Administration, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, or your Advisor. The form to apply for the departmental travel awards can be found here.

Research and Travel Awards

The Dr. Mary Moore Free Ethnology Research Awards: Helps to support graduate students conducting predissertation research in cultural anthropology, typically during the summer following their first or second year of graduate study in the department. Awards are made after an evaluation of proposals submitted each spring semester. See the Department Chair for more information.

The Robert Van Kemper Endowment Fund for Research in Social and Cultural Anthropology: Provides support for training and field research for graduate students in anthropology, primarily for preliminary field experience for doctoral candidates. Proposals should include a description of the project and its relationship to the student's anticipated dissertation project, a brief discussion of methods and data analysis, a time frame for the research activities, and an estimated budget. Project budgets should not exceed $3,000. The level of funding will be based on actual reimbursable expenses during the research project. Students who receive support will be expected to deliver a final written report (limited to 10 pages) and a public presentation (e.g., a Brown Bag Luncheon talk) no later than the end of the semester following their return from field research. Except in unusual circumstances, proposals will be received once a year, usually no later than mid-April, for proposals for summer field research projects.

Garry A. Weber Archaeology Dissertation Pilot Project Award: Designed to assist archaeology graduate students in conducting preliminary reconnaissance, survey, or testing in their field area in advance of writing their Dissertaion Improvement Grant proposals to the National Science Foundation. Funding will be competitive, and will normally be provided to students after their second year of graduate study (after successfully passing their M.A. exams), and in advance of enrolling in ANTH 7317 (Archaeological Research Strategies). As this is a new award, details are pending regarding award criteria, application requirements, and deadlines.

Paul Steed Travel Awards: Designed to assist in defraying travel costs for graduate students delivering papers at professional meetings. Each applicant will be judged based upon the quality of a single paper submitted to the Award Committee. Applications for this award can be submitted twice a year. See the Director of Graduate Studies for further information.

Departmental Travel Awards: In addition to the Steed Travel Awards, departmental funds may be available to help you with expenses related to delivering papers at professional meetings. The procedures for evaluating papers and making awards are similar to that for the Steed Awards. See the Department Chair for further information.

Graduate Student Development Grant


  1. The maximum amount of a grant is $400

  2. Travel grants cannot be awarded retroactively. Proposals must be submitted before travel.

  3. Only one grant per student per academic year is awarded or funded. Please prioritize your proposals accordingly.

  4. Requests with matching funds from other sources have a higher priority.

  5. This grant will only fund conference travel to present an accepted paper or poster. * (applications without accepted papers or posters are ineligible for this grant)

  6. Applications are accepted year-round.

  7. The proposals should be sponsored by the department chair and the graduate advisor. Department chair and graduate advisor are requested not to sponsor students who could be supported from other sources such as sponsored research grants and contracts.

To Apply: Please visit their website to submit an online application.

ISEM Research Grants: The Institute for the Study or Earth and Man (ISEM) occasionally has funding for graduate student research. Proposals are accepted on a rotating basis. You should prepare a short proposal and a budget. This should be approved with a letter of support from your faculty Advisor, submitted to the Chair of the Department for signature, and then submitted to Dr. Louis Jacobs, Director of the Institute.

Teaching Opportunities for Students with M.A. Degrees

Adjunct Lectureships. A limited number of opportunities are available each term (fall, spring, and summer) for students with M.A. degrees in Anthropology to teach courses independently. The compensation is determined on a per course basis and does not necessarily involve remission of tuition/fees or provision of insurance coverage.

Dissertation Write-Up Awards

The Garry A. Weber Graduate Fellowships are awarded to students in the final phase of dissertation writing in conjunction with a dissertation completion award from the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. Please see the Department Chair for more information on this award. A limited number are available each academic year.

Dissertation Fellowship Awards: The Dean of Graduate Studies may offer a small number of dissertation fellowship awards. To receive an award, you must be recommended by your dissertation Advisor to the departmental faculty and confirmed by the Dean of Dedman College. You must complete and defend your dissertation by the end of the academic year in which you receive the award.

Research Awards/Prizes

Graduate Research Day Awards are made to students who participate in the annual Graduate Research Day. The Department awards a cash prize for the best paper presentation and the best poster. Further information is available from the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

Graduate National Fellowship Opportunities