Penn announces the largest one-time increase to minimum Ph.D. stipend

The University-wide minimum Ph.D. stipend will rise from $30,547 to $38,000 and goes into effect in the coming academic year.

College Green in spring, a group of students are gathered on the grass.

The University of Pennsylvania has announced that it will raise the minimum Ph.D. stipend to $38,000, beginning in the coming 2023-24 academic year, the largest one-time increase in Penn’s history.

The information was shared with current Ph.D. students in November following a collaborative process involving partners across Penn’s nine schools with Ph.D. programs, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Penn Budget Planning and Analysis, and the Office of Institutional Research & Analysis, with input from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA). Each Penn school with a Ph.D. program determines its own stipend for doctoral students at or above the minimum level established by the University.

“Our doctoral students are at the heart of our mission of research and education across a wide range of academic areas,” says Interim Provost Beth A. Winkelstein. “This one-time increase recognizes the unique pressures they currently face, especially in the wake of delays to research and hiring that many experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help to ensure that Penn remains competitive in recruiting exceptional scholars in our Graduate Groups. We are committed to continuing to attract the most outstanding and diverse doctoral students—and to supporting them while they are here. I am grateful to the partnership of GAPSA, the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, and the leadership of our schools with Ph.D. programs in making this important change.”

“This increase is well above our historical norm, and it reaffirms Penn’s longstanding commitment to our doctoral students,” says Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen. “We identified the minimum stipend as a priority based on a survey of graduate and professional students conducted in the spring, on our discussions with GAPSA, and on our own reflections about how we can continue to best serve our students. Funding our doctoral students at this higher level enables our students to focus on the academic process of becoming scholars and our future colleagues.”

Detlefsen acknowledged GAPSA as a valued partner in the process. “Members of the GAPSA Research Council met with us about the stipend and spotlighted key issues,” she says. “Their advocacy and insights galvanized our own work to address these important matters and moved the effort forward, helping us to shape these improvements to the graduate student experience.”

“The quick actions on the University side excited and surprised us. The news of the increase has been very well received by GAPSA and the communities of research students,” says Ludwig Zhao, GAPSA’s Research Council chair and a third-year Ph.D. candidate in bioengineering. “Together with Emily GetzenHoang Anh Phan, and Xinyi Wang on the Research Council and Advocacy Division, we brought the issue of the stipend to the Vice Provost of Education, and we definitely felt we were able to collaborate with the Provost’s Office to help students have a better quality of life. We are really happy at the effort to raise the stipends to better meet the needs of Ph.D. students and to be competitive with other Ivies, and we look forward to continued communication.”

You can learn more about Penn’s initiatives to support graduate students on the University’s Valuing Graduate Students website.