Graduate School

Activities Outside of Stipended Appointments

Doctoral students with stipends should note a policy regarding the pursuit of compensated activities outside of the stipended appointment, which was approved by the Graduate Council in March 2013.

Doctoral students receive financial support through a variety of mechanisms, such as teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or proctorships. These support structures are intended to enable students to pursue their education and scholarly activities that lead to a dissertation. Stipends that are awarded to doctoral students are, in particular, meant to allow the student to focus on their studies and scholarly work. The policy sets parameters and a process to guide stipended students who wish to pursue paid opportunities in addition to their stipended appointment and who are not otherwise barred from such activity by visa rules or requirements imposed by outside agency funding.


In balancing the need for doctoral students to focus on their scholarship with the desire to enable students to pursue paid activities that enhance their training, the Graduate Council has adopted the following principles:

  1. Brown’s doctoral programs are residential degree programs that require full-time dedication in order to reach the goals of superior scholarship envisioned for all students at Brown.
  2. Brown University awards doctoral students stipends, tuition and health insurance with the express expectation, and for the express reason, that students devote themselves fully to the prospect of becoming the very best possible scholar during their time as a graduate student at Brown.
  3. In any given academic term (spring, summer, or fall), a graduate student’s stipend is attached to a particular activity, either a fellowship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, or proctorship as a part of the candidate’s scholarly training. The Graduate School has a longstanding policy that a student should spend no more than an average of 20 hours per week on these activities, a policy designed to protect a student’s time available for scholarly activities such as coursework, reading, research and writing that are also a part of graduate training. The Graduate School also recognizes that various training opportunities outside stipended appointments can play important roles in preparing graduate students for careers both inside and outside of academe. For stipended graduate students in good standing, the Graduate Council is supportive of such additional training opportunities. Consistent with the rationale behind the policy limiting assistantships and proctorships to 20 hours per week, such paid activities by graduate students in receipt of Graduate School stipends should not exceed 12 hours per week. Students wishing to exceed this limit must obtain permission from the Director of Graduate Study (DGS) in their program, their advisor (if applicable), and the relevant dean in the Graduate School. Regulations of outside agencies that provide funding to specific students, as well as those governing visas for international students, must be observed at all times.


Due to visa restrictions, international doctoral students cannot take on employment outside of their regular stipended appointments during the fall or spring term.

Students who receive monthly stipend payments are not eligible to take on hourly employment (paid bi-weekly). 


For questions about this policy, or to request a waiver of the 12 hour limitation, contact