In keeping with its small and highly selective character, USC English offers financial support to all students admitted to the PhD program and, subject to satisfactory progress, maintains that support for five years. These support packages take a variety of forms. In tandem with competitive advanced fellowship opportunities, it is not unusual for some students to have three and even four years of full non-teaching fellowship support.
All-University Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship Competitions
A university-wide competition during the admissions process in January gives applicants from under-represented groups a chance to apply for All-University Predoctoral Diversity Fellowships. These fellowships provide students with a stipend of $25,000, up to 24 units of tuition, payment of mandatory fees, and student health and dental insurance. Diversity Fellowships are combined with matching funds from individual schools to provide four or more years of funding toward the PhD. For more information on diversity fellowships visit http://www.usc.edu/dept/GRADSCHL/Grad_Sch_Fellowships.html. Applicants from under-represented groups are encouraged to let the English Department know of their interest and to make sure that their applications are fully complete by the application deadline.
College Merit Fellowships
English uses the College Merit Awards to offer support packages to entering students. About one-third of the entering class receive full fellowship support during the first year, followed by teaching opportunities in the second year, with a return to another year of full fellowship support when the student chooses, plus two additional years of teaching. Other packages offer teaching opportunities for four years and one year of fellowship support. A third package guarantees teaching opportunities for five years. Note that students add to these packages by winning (often multiple) other dissertation fellowships.
Most opportunities for support through teaching are offered in the form of Assistant Lectureships in the Writing Program of USC College. In return for tuition remission and a stipend, these Assistant Lecturers manage the writing component of the General Education classes offered by a number of departments, or they serve as tutors in the Writing Center. For more information on the Writing Program, see www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/writing.
A smaller number of appointments as Assistant Lecturers are made annually in Thematic Options (TO), a university-wide honors curriculum that brings together talented and highly motivated undergraduates from across schools and divisions (it is one of the top-ranked honors programs in the nation). Assistant Lecturers in this program receive tuition remission plus a stipend. Responsibilities include running a writing seminar attached to one of the TO classes in the fall and designing and teaching one’s own seminar in the spring. Positions in the TO program are available after applicants have gained experience in the Writing Program and have completed two or more years in the English PhD program. For more information on the Thematic Option Program, see www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/general_studies/TO.
Occasionally Teaching Assistantships become available through the General Education Program. These TAs take on responsibility for the writing component in a course taught by a faculty member in English or another department. These assistantships are available once a student has gained experience in the Writing Program and has completed two years or more toward the PhD.
Support for dissertation research and writing is available through a number of university-wide competitions, as enumerated in the section on “Fellowships and Prizes,” as well as a number of College Merit Dissertation Fellowships distributed by the department. In addition, the College frequently makes available Final Year and Final Summer Dissertation grants. In recent years, 10-13 students per year have received a dissertation fellowship.