The department of American Studies offers funding packages of 2 (for the MA) or 5 (for the PHD) years. These packages may come from a combination of departmental teaching assistant and fellowship years. Funding offers are made with admission to the program and, while not guaranteed, the department sometimes has funding available for the sixth year as needed.

For new students: A student’s initial letter of admission will typically identify the amount of hours (e.g., half-time, quarter-time) and number of years for which the Department makes a commitment of financial aid, contingent upon the student making satisfactory progress toward the degree. In some cases, the letter may specify types of assignment on an annual basis (fellowship, teaching assistant). But in many cases, it will not.

For students past 5th year: If a student has not yet completed his or her degree and has completed the Department’s committed number of years of financial aid, he or she may still apply for additional financial aid from the Department on an annual basis. However, the student is only eligible to be awarded a teaching assistantship after all contractual commitments have been honored to continuing and new students. (Fellowships are competitive, based on the stated requirements for each fellowship.) Typically, a few students decline teaching assistantships late in the spring or in the summer because they have been awarded a fellowship, have decided not to matriculate at UI, or for other personal reasons. Occasionally, new funds become available in late spring or early summer for additional course sections. Therefore, students who have completed their multiple-year financial aid contract with the Department may receive additional financial aid (i.e. teaching assistantships) due to last-minute openings.

The current COGS contract stipulates that all teaching assignments for students who have financial aid award letters and commitments must be made by April 15 for assignments to begin the following fall semester. For further information regarding COGS rules and regulations governing TA assignments, salary, and benefits, see: Each academic unit that utilizes teaching assistants also has a graduate student Union Steward who may assist TAs with their rights and any grievances, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The COGS office can inform a TA of who is the current American Studies Union Steward.

Teaching Assistantships

The Department of American Studies assigns students to teaching assistant appointments in American Studies, Rhetoric, General Education Literature, and other departments, when possible and especially when there are cognate departments or programs that do not have graduate students or when a student possesses a specific area of expertise or skill in demand by another department.

A teaching assistant’s assignment is usually leading discussion sections and/or grading for a large lecture course, although occasionally senior teaching assistants may be assigned their own course.

Typically, assignments take into account seniority among the students and any teaching experience prior to the University of Iowa.  Assignments are not normally specified in a student’s admission letter but are determined, contingent upon satisfactory progress toward degree, on an annual basis. Since UI teaching assistants are unionized and have a collective bargaining agreement with the University, all assignments, salaries, and deadlines are made in accordance with the current COGS collective bargaining agreement. 

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate Fellowships are also a source of funding often utilized by the department and individual students.
Graduate College Iowa Recruitment Fellowships (by nomination only)
Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Awards (by nomination only)
Graduate College Summer Fellowships
Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowships (by nomination only)
T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowships
Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio Summer Fellowships


Alexander Kern Dissertation Travel Award - to help support essential archival research.
Alexander Kern Professional Travel Award - to assist with travel expenses to present a scholarly paper.
Joann Castagna Travel Award - Supports graduate student professional development, including travel to conferences and dissertation research in American Studies.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences supports numerous scholarships through the college's annual scholarship competition. For a list of scholarships available in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and information on applying for scholarships, visit the CLAS Scholarships page.

Application is due February 18, 2022.

Margaret Fox Scholarship - Undergraduate transfer student based on need.
Elizabeth Halsey Scholarship - Undergraduate and Graduate women majoring in Sport Studies.
Margaret Osborn Scholarship - Anyone.
M. Gladys Scott Scholarship - Undergraduate women majoring in Sport Studies.
C. Pauline Spencer Scholarship - Undergraduate and Graduate women majoring in Sport Studies.
Miriam Taylor Scholarship - Undergraduate and Graduate major in Sport Studies.
Mary Monroe Bell Scholarship - Graduate women majoring in Sport Studies

The Graduate College

The Graduate College offers a wealth of information about funding for graduate students. For more information, visit Funding your UI Education in the Graduate College at the University of Iowa.