Financial Support

What type of financial aid is available?

The School offers graduate research assistantships (GRAs) for all accepted full-time PhD students. The GRA is a work package that pairs a student with a SSW faculty member to support their research. Full-time students are eligible for full-time (20-hour) assistantships which provide a stipend of $24,900 (10-month) or $29,800 (12-month), plus tuition remission for the fall and spring semesters, and health insurance. All full-time students who are making adequate progress toward their degree are eligible for a GRA through graduation.

GRAs are offered to full-time students only. Part-time students are offered awards that cover tuition remission; they do not receive a stipend or health insurance because they are not completing a GRA.

Are funds available to attend conferences?

Yes. We support professional development opportunities for students by offering a number of travel fellowships that off-set the costs of conference registration and travel. Priority is given to students who are presenting a paper or poster.

Are funds available to support dissertation research?

Yes. PhD Candidates can apply for one of several internal dissertation grants that can be used to cover costs related to participant incentives, transcription, statistical software, training, and external consultation. We also encourage and support students to identify and pursue opportunities for external funding.

Graduate Research Assistantships

Is GRA (graduate research assistantship) support available beyond coursework?

Yes. We are able to provide GRA work packages and funding until graduation for any student making adequate progress toward their degree.

What do GRAs do?

As a GRA, you will be assigned to work with a faculty member to support their research. Tasks will vary depending on the project but may include conducting literature reviews, developing data collection tools, interviewing participants or completing focus groups, cleaning and analyzing data, writing up reports and manuscripts, and attending meetings with stakeholders. As a GRA, you are expected to work 20 hours/week. Your schedule and work location will vary depending on the project needs.

How does a GRA support my learning?

A GRA is an opportunity to apply the concepts you are learning in your courses to an actual research project. You will learn first-hand the stages of a research project and what tasks are required at each stage. Your faculty mentor is also a resource for you to ask questions about a concept presented in a course and how it applies to your GRA project. Your faculty mentor can also advise you on the development of your research goals and your career path.

Although not guaranteed, your GRA assignment is often substantively related to your own research interests. At other times, your GRA assignment may be a methodological match but be focused on a research topic different than your focus.

Health Insurance

What kind of health insurance coverage is available?

All full-time students are required to have health insurance. An excellent insurance policy that provides wide coverage, including obstetrical care, is available through the university. For detailed information about health insurance, please visit Full-time students with a GRA receive student health insurance as part of the GRA package.

Other Supports

I am from out of town. How can I find housing in Baltimore?

Check out the University’s Housing Department’s website at You will find information about on- and off- campus housing, housing costs, and Baltimore neighborhoods.

Are there any student organizations for PhD students?

Yes. Both the campus and the School of Social Work offers student organizations that would welcome you. At the campus-level, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents the interests of all graduate students across campus. This organization advocates with University leadership for student needs and resources, hosts an annual Graduate Research Conference, and provides additional competitive funding opportunities to support conference travel and professional development.

Within the School of Social Work PhD program, all students are encouraged to join or participate in the Social Committee. This organization plans a variety of fun events each year that include family-friendly picnics and outings as well as student-oriented study breaks and social hours. The International Student Association (ISA) supports international students and allies. The ISA hosts a number of events each year, including support group gatherings, cultural celebrations of significant fall and spring holidays, and an international potluck.

Are there resources to support my wellness?

As a PhD student, you will receive free membership to the campus fitness center, URecFit ( Along with an indoor swimming pool, sport courts, exercise equipment, weight training, and small group classes, you can join intramural sports teams and attend wellness seminars.

All students also have access to the Student Counseling Center ( We recognize that graduate school can be stressful and PhD students face various challenges in their lives. The Student Counseling Center offers both virtual and in-person individual sessions as well as hosting workshops to learn more about various mental health topics.

Are there academic supports on campus?

We are committed to supporting the success of each PhD student in the program. The campus provides several resources that have been helpful for students. Some of these include: · Health Sciences and Human Services Library ( The School of Social Work has a designated librarian within the campus library. The SSW librarian is familiar with the topics and interests of social work researchers and offers

individual consultations as well as trainings throughout the year on new and helpful resources for conducting research.

· Academic Coaching: Students have the opportunity to receive 1-on-1 coaching to support their academic goals, increase productivity, create a time management plan, or even support work-life balance. More details are available at:

· UMB Writing Center: The campus Writing Center offers consultations, writing resources, and trainings to help students polish their written assignments as well as professional papers. See more at:

What accommodations are provided for students with special needs?

We are fortunate to have a well-resourced campus office for Educational Support and Disability Services. You can learn more about their services at: 

Do students support each other?

Yes. We cultivate a collegial environment among our students. Students who enter the program together are considered a cohort and a great source of support to each other. In addition, more advanced students are generous in offering mentoring and advice to incoming students. The program admits only the number of students that can be supported, so students do not have to compete against each other for funding or basic resources.

Are faculty interested in mentoring students?

Yes, faculty at the School of Social Work are eager to work with PhD students, especially when there is a shared interest related to a substantive focus, methodological approach, or professional/personal identity. We do not follow an apprenticeship model where admission is based on having a single faculty member agree to work with you. Instead, we hope that you will engage with a number of our faculty across your years in the program and learn different aspects of scholarly work from each of them. In your application to the program, you should identify several faculty that could be helpful to you in advancing your ideas and goals.

Interested in our PhD Program?