PhD is amongst the toughest, most rewarding degrees in the world. One of the biggest perks of pursuing a PhD is that you get paid for it. A PhD stipend is a monthly allowance given every month to students to cover their daily expenses, research, and accommodation. The expense covered under a PhD stipend varies based on the degree as well as organization. It is governed by three factors: whether they’re assisting in undergraduate teaching, assisting in research, or have secured a PhD. with a stipend. Depending on which of the three categories a student falls within, they will receive an income during their studies, however, the amount will differ by a substantial amount.
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Stipend vs. Salary
Colleges may pay graduate students who work at the school via a stipend or a salary. Generally, the key differences between these options are as follows:
- Stipends are for students. You receive this funding as part of an assistantship or fellowship from the school. The money is meant to support your living expenses while you perform research or your other educational pursuits. Stipend amounts may be based on the length of the academic year, not the calendar year.
- Salaries are for employees. The school has formally hired you as an employee to perform specific responsibilities, like leading a class, for instance. As a salaried worker, your wages may be a set amount or based on the hours you work. You may also receive employee benefits such as subsidized health care or workers’ compensation.
Types of PhD Stipends
There are three types of PhD stipends:
- Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs): In exchange for a stipend, you’ll be required to assist in the delivery of one or more courses over a number of years. This includes, but is not limited to, marking student tutorials, supervising lab experiments, and providing support to undergraduates during office hours. Besides this, you may have to teach a small section of the course itself. You can discover more about GTAs on King’s College London’s website.
- Research Assistantships (RAs): In exchange for a stipend, you assist a departmental professor with their research. In the ideal scenario, the professor you work with should also be your PhD. supervisor, and the research you’re asked to support relates to your own doctoral project.
- Stipend via Studentship: A stipend is a non-repayable grant provided to doctoral students to help support their studies. A studentship covers a student’s tuition fees whilst a stipend covers a PhD. student’s living costs. This includes outgoings such as rent, food, bills, and basic travel. Unlike Graduate Teaching or Research Assistantships, stipends rarely have duties attached to them. The only expectation of receiving a stipend will be that you maintain continuous progress within your degree.
It’s worth noting these earning opportunities can also be combined. For example, it’s possible to be a research assistant whilst also committing time to teach undergraduate students.
Average PhD Stipend in the UK
The average PhD student salaries in UK for teaching assistantships will vary depending on the level of responsibility you’re taking. However, to provide figures, past doctoral students have reported receiving approx. £10/hr for marking tutorials, £15/hr for leading laboratory sessions, and up £20/hr for leading undergraduate classes and tutorials.
The actual amount you can earn from teaching assistance will depend on the rate your department offers and the hours you can realistically take on. If you’re on a Graduate Teaching Assistantship program, they will require you to dedicate a set number of hours per week. If you’re not on a GTA but would still like to earn an income through this scheme, you will likely need to commit several hours per week consistently. Although this can be a great way to earn whilst you study, you need to make sure you manage your time effectively so as to not become overwhelmed by taking on an additional commitment. The average salary for research assistantships will vary depending on the field of the doctoral degree you are enrolled in. Usually, these positions pay between £25,000 to £30,000 per year, however, it’s possible to come across positions that sit slightly outside of this. As a general rule of thumb, STEM assistors are paid more than non-STEM assistors. Although £15,000 to £18,000 per year is the typical range for a stipend, some can be far greater than this. For example, Wellcome Trust, a research charity based in London, offers an annual stipend of up to £23,300 and £26,000 for doctoral students located outside and within London, respectively.
Average PhD Stipend in the USA
The United States is home to several of the world’s best universities making it a top destination for international researchers. A Master’s degree is not always required to do a PhD. in the US. Several top universities offer direct entry PhD programs. An American PhD begins with two to three years of coursework in order to pass qualifying exams. During this time doctoral students are able to develop their research interests and hone in on their thesis topic. They will then write a thesis proposal which must be approved before they can start their dissertation. Most programs require PhD students to gain two to three years of teaching experience as well, either by leading their own class or as teaching assistants for a professor. It takes an average of six years to earn a PhD. in the US. Unlike some European countries, there is no mandated minimum salary or national salary scale for PhD students in the US. PhD students earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year depending on their institution, field of study, and location. This stipend can be tax-free (if it is a fellowship award) or taxable (if it is a salary e.g from a teaching position). American PhD students are usually only paid for nine months of the year but many programs offer summer funding opportunities. A PhD funding package will also include a full or partial tuition waiver.
Average PhD Stipend in Australia
The average PhD salary in Australia is $29,500 per year or $15.13 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $28,092 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $40,000 per year. The Australian Government also offers a stipend for PhD students to live on while they research as part of the RTP. If your research qualifies for the RTP and you come from a qualifying country or are considered a domestic student, then you will also qualify for the stipend.
Must Read: PhD in Australia: A Complete Guide
Average PhD Stipend in Canada
An increasingly attractive and multicultural study destination, Canada is a great option to consider for your PhD studies, offering a wealth of research opportunities to help you expand your expertise. More than a third of the country’s overall research is conducted at Canadian universities, and this work contributes billions to the country’s economy. The University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship provides a stipend of at least CA$18,200 (~US$13,700) per year plus full tuition for outstanding international/home doctoral students for all four years of their studies.
Must Read: PhD in Canada for Indian Students
Average PhD Stipend in Germany
With no doctoral fees at all at public universities and a range of funding options for international students, Germany isn’t just one of the most prestigious European destinations for PhD research: it’s also among the most affordable. German PhD funding takes various forms, reflecting the range of different ways you can complete a PhD in Germany. Doctoral students are often supported by traditional academic scholarships and fellowships, but German universities and research institutes also offer salaried assistantships for their PhD researchers. With no doctoral fees at all at public universities and a range of funding options for international students, Germany isn’t just one of the most prestigious European destinations for PhD research: it’s also among the most affordable.
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