Finance and funding information
The M.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is primarily a tuition-based degree. Students are responsible for their tuition, fees, health insurance, and other expenses. Tuition rates can be found on the University Cashier’s website.
Financial aid is handled by the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Graduate applicants who wish to apply for need-based loans or grants should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by March 1 for the following fall, using school code 002974.
Although the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (DAMES) is not able to provide funding support for all our graduate students, we try to help our students connect with available opportunities.
We strongly recommend UNC’s Graduate Funding Information Center (GFIC). Its features include
- Announcements of campus job opportunities for grad students
- Workshops and individual consultations about searching for funding
- Funding resources and databases
- An email newsletter you can subscribe to for weekly updates about funding opportunities
And more! The GFIC has a wealth of information on funding possibilities for your graduate studies.
On the rest of this page, we’ll highlight some specific opportunities relevant to our students.
Internal funding opportunities for incoming MA applicants only
Master’s Merit Fellowship. This is a full ride for your first year: tuition, fees, health insurance, and a $14,000 stipend. Everyone who applies by the December priority deadline will automatically be considered. DAMES will always nominate someone for this, but it’s a campuswide competitive fellowship, so our department won’t always get one.
Grad student recruitment top-up grants from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. This is a $7000 stipend for the first year. Applicants whose research interests relate to Jewish studies, and who apply by the December priority deadline, will automatically be considered.
Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship. This covers tuition, fees, health insurance, and a $4000 stipend for the first year. Applicants whose research interests relate to urban livability, and who apply by the December priority deadline, will automatically be considered.
Internal funding opportunities for both new and continuing MA students
Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. We strongly encourage applying for this one, because it’s really good funding for exactly what most of our students are doing. An academic-year FLAS covers tuition, fees, health insurance, and a $15,000 stipend. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and be taking language and area studies courses. There is a separate application, due in early February; new MA applicants can apply for FLAS before receiving an admission decision. FLAS fellowships are administered through the area studies centers at UNC; the link above has information on which centers offer FLAS for which languages. It’s important for your application to make a clear connection between your research interests and the geographic area of the center you’re applying to.
Roshan Institute Fellowships for Excellence in Persian Studies. This is a $5000 stipend. Because only students already receiving tuition support are eligible, these will more often go to continuing students, but new students are eligible to get a Roshan fellowship if they’re also getting something else (e.g. merit fellowship or FLAS) that pays their tuition. New and continuing students whose work relates to Persian studies will automatically be considered for this when eligible.
Internal funding opportunities for continuing MA students only
Teaching Assistant (TA) positions in DAMES. MA students are eligible to TA beginning in their second semester. A TA works with a DAMES professor who is teaching a large course; the TA teaches discussion sections, holds office hours, and assists the professor with grading and course management, overall working up to 15 hours/week. TA positions and compensation are for the semester (not year), and a TA receives tuition, fees, health insurance, and a $6500 stipend. There’s an application process that’s announced to all current students and happens during the previous semester. DAMES usually has at least four TA positions each semester. Students are not limited to TAing only courses in their own area of interest.
Triple-I TA positions. Similar to the above, but with a higher stipend ($9000 for the semester) and workload (up to 20 hours/week), and slightly different duties. These TAs work with a huge course team-taught by a DAMES professor and two other professors from different disciplines. The application process is the same. DAMES usually has one of these TA positions each year, sometimes two.
Assorted grants from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies (CCJS) for research, travel, or outside language study. For students whose work relates to Jewish studies, CCJS offers a number of different grants ranging from $200-$3000. Details and applications at the link.
Summer Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. Summer FLAS fellowships are for intensive language study in a domestic or foreign summer program; they cover up to $5000 of tuition plus a $2500 stipend. There is a separate application, due in early February. FLAS fellowships are administered through the area studies centers at UNC; the link above has information on which centers offer FLAS for which languages. It’s important for your application to make a clear connection between your research interests and the geographic area of the center you’re applying to.
Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) program. As a GRC, you work with a professor teaching an undergraduate research class, to help mentor undergrads and teach them about research; you get a $1000 stipend for 30 hours of work across the semester. Professors apply for a GRC and then select the grad student they want to be their GRC. You can seek a GRC position either by approaching a professor you’re interested in GRCing for, or by adding yourself to the GRC database (at the link) so professors seeking a GRC can find you.
Global Partnership Awards. Up to $4000 for projects that involve collaboration between UNC and a foreign university. You’ll need a faculty sponsor. Application, deadlines, and lots more info at the link.
Roshan Institute summer research awards. Up to $1500 for research and travel during summer for students working in Persian studies. Applications (due in early February) at the link.
External funding opportunities
American Institute of Bangladesh Studies fellowships (US citizens only)
Critical Language Scholarship Program (for summer study abroad)
Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship (India)
By no means a comprehensive list! Don’t forget to also check out the many resources at the Graduate Funding Information Center.