Funding and Awards


At NIU, we provide strong financial support for your graduate studies. We fund approximately fifteen M.A. and Ph.D. students each year with generous support from the University via the Graduate School. Entering M.A. students normally receive two years of funding, while entering Ph.D. students usually get four. If you enter as an M.A. student and continue on to the Ph.D., you are eligible for six years of departmental funding. The deadline for incoming students to apply for departmental funding is January 15 each year. In addition to assistantships, we also provide funding for summer research travel and for at least one academic conference per year. These awards are open to all graduate students, but they are competitive and limited by available funds. You may also be able to support your work by winning a university-level fellowship or grant or by seeking outside funding sources.

Departmental funding opportunities

  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Summer research funding
    • Hayter-Young grants  (up to $250 per year)
    • Large Grant grants (up to $1,000 per year)
  • Conference travel (up to $750 via matching funds from CLAS and the Graduate School)

Department awards

  • Hugh Jameson Graduate Student Essay Prize
    • Hugh Jameson (1897-1980) served as professor of history at NIU for thirty-five years. He specialized in early American history with a concentration on military and constitutional history. For almost two decades Jameson was the head of the Social Science Department, which included History. Under his administration, the department grew into one of the largest and most significant at the university. In honor of Hugh Jameson, the prize recognizes the best research essay submitted by a graduate student in a history research seminar during the previous two semesters. Faculty who would like to nominate a student should submit his or her essay to the Department of History office. Students can also nominate themselves by submitting the Graduate Prize Cover Letter, and the essay to ($250 award)

University funding opportunities  

External funding opportunities

  • Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, offers funding to graduate students who are members. Graduate students should have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours towards their master's degree in history, have a GPA of better than 3.5, and shall have completed approximately 30 percent of the residence requirements for the master's degree. You do not have to reapply if you became a member as an undergraduate. Opportunities via Phi Alpha Theta include a Doctoral Scholarship and the George P. Hammond Paper Prize.
  • Office of Sponsored Projects - Find Funding