TN Doctoral Scholars Program
About the Program
Since 1993 the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), on behalf of the State of Tennessee, partners with public and private colleges and universities to support the Tennessee Doctoral Scholars Program, designed to increase the number of minority students who earn a Ph.D. in Tennessee and to encourage these graduates to seek faculty positions by providing financial assistance for up to three years of graduate study. Funded through the Contract Education grant, the program has been successful in supporting 65 minority doctoral scholars in attaining a doctoral degree and becoming college and university professors over two decades.
Participating institutions agree to waive tuition and mandatory fees for the duration of the program, as well as to provide each scholar with a faculty advisor in the scholar’s major field of study to support teaching and scholarship interests. The contract education grant funds an annual stipend of $20,000 and academic support funds for research and professional development. Potential students interested in the Tennessee Doctoral Scholars Program should contact the Graduate School Dean of their intended institution for application details.
From 1993 - 2015, THEC and over 20 other states partnered with the Southern Region Educational Board (SREB) to oversee administration of the program with 7 participating Tennessee universities, including 5 public and 2 private institutions. Over 85% of funded scholars successfully defended a thesis to complete the PhD degree. Of the 13 non-completers during this time, 5 obtained a Master's degree and 2 continued enrollment without THEC funding.
Beginning in 2016, the THEC Bureau of Academic Affairs and Student Success assumed administrative oversight for the program. With this cost-saving change, the State has been able to fund an additional scholar annually. Out of the 10 scholars funded from 2016 - 2019, seven (70%) have completed the PhD degree and two (20%) were still enrolled as of Summer 2020.
For the 2022 - 2025 cycle, a total of 12 scholars will be funded across seven institutions: East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Meharry Medical College, and UT Health Sciences Center.
For more information
Potential students interested in the Tennessee Doctoral Scholars Program should contact the Graduate School Dean of their intended institution for application details.