Financial Information

SILS typically provides support for full-time doctoral students during their first 4-5 years of study. There are a number of sources of support, described below. Prospective doctoral students must apply by December 15 to receive full consideration for financial aid.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee rates are posted on the University Cashier's website.

Click here for estimated costs of attendance (including tuition, books, room and board, etc.) for one year at UNC provided by the University Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

In addition, students should consider the cost of the required laptop computer.

NC Residency

Residents of North Carolina may attend UNC-Chapel Hill at a significantly lower cost. Please refer to the Graduate School's website for North Carolina Residency for Tuition Purposes, which contains information about NC residency requirements and how to apply for resident status.

Financial Aid

Prospective doctoral students should apply for admission in early December to receive full consideration for financial aid. Details of the application deadlines are on the UNC Graduate School’s page for specific degree programs (click on any of the links below the Information & Library Science header). Typical sources of support for SILS doctoral students include UNC Graduate School fellowships, research and teaching assistantships within SILS, and small fellowships that supplement the assistantship stipend. No separate application is needed for any of these awards; the PhD program application materials are used as the basis for making the awards.

Royster Fellowships

The Royster Society of Fellows Recruitment Fellowship is the University's most selective and prestigious interdisciplinary fellowship program. Each year, SILS may nominate three PhD applicants for this fellowship.

The fellowship provides five years of support, including a generous stipend, health insurance, and full support for tuition and fees. The student is expected to provide service to the School (20 hours per week as a research or teaching assistant) during the second, third, and fourth years of the award; no service is required during the first and fifth years. Single-year fellowships are also available through this nomination process.

In addition to a very competitive financial award, the Royster Society of Fellows supports and nurtures members through the mentoring of senior faculty, interdisciplinary learning, and leadership development opportunities.

Additional Graduate School Assistantships and Fellowships

SILS can nominate incoming students for several additional fellowships and assistantships available from the UNC Graduate School, including the North Carolina Excellence Fellowship, the North Carolina Native American Incentive Grant, the Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship, and Doctoral Merit Assistantships. Details on each of these opportunities are available on the UNC Graduate School website. 

SILS Research and Teaching Assistantships

SILS doctoral students are often appointed as research or teaching assistants within the School. Research assistants typically support the work of a SILS faculty member; their financial support comes from either a grant or from the School. They are expected to work 20 hours per week for their supervisor. They will receive a stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support. The amount of the stipend varies, depending on the duration of the appointment (9 months or 12 months) and the source of the funding; it will always be at least the minimum stipend for doctoral students suggested by the UNC Graduate School.

A doctoral students is usually appointed as a teaching assistant during the third or fourth year of the program; more details about preparing for these assistantships are available on the SILS website. Teaching assistants are responsible for preparing and teaching a class, and are expected to devote 20 hours per week to those duties. They receive a stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support; the appointment is for 9 months, and the amount of the stipend will always be at least the minimum stipend for doctoral students suggested by the UNC Graduate School.

Students whose assistantship appointments are for the academic year (9 months) only may also seek and accept summer internships. Doctoral students may also seek funding through other departments on campus. Each year, several SILS doctoral students are supported through grant funding administered in other units.

In fall 2010, UNC-Chapel Hill began a mandatory health insurance program. In many cases, research/teaching assistants are eligible to have their coverage paid by their funding source. Those receiving this health coverage or who are already covered by another insurance plan (by spouse, etc.) must waive the university mandatory coverage to avoid being billed for the cost of the mandatory program.

External Awards

External funding organizations have their own procedures and require a separate application. Such external awards include American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Doctoral Fellowships (with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; students must apply to both UNC-CH and ALA in order to be considered), and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, among others. UNC's Graduate Funding Information Center can help graduate students find fellowships and other funding opportunities.