Top Scholarship For PhD In The USA For Indian Students In 2024 – unischolars blog

The United States of America is one of the top locations for pursuing higher studies among international students. With some of the top universities in the world, it has been the hotspot for several years. Especially for a programme as challenging as a PhD, opting for the best universities and courses is essential. However, the USA is also considerably expensive. Acquiring a PhD means studying long, automatically increasing the cost. In such cases, the best solution for international students is to find the top scholarship for PhD in the USA for Indian students. 

Fortunately, there are several options that students can explore. Find the best scholarships explained in the sections below.

Funding Available For Top Scholarship For PhD In USA For Indian Students

Scholarships are the most beneficial funding option available. Education loans are often a must but come with high interest rates and rigid conditions. On the other hand, scholarships offer tuition fee waivers, living expenses and other benefits that considerably reduce your financial burden.

Scholarships are of different types depending on the funding source. The significant types discussed here are mentioned below:

  1. Externally-funded
  2. Fellowships
  3. University-funded

Top Scholarship For PhD In The USA For Indian Students: Externally Funded

Externally funded scholarships are usually provided by the government, NGOs, and similar foundations. These scholarships often have specific eligibility criteria to ensure that the selection process is maintained. Check out the most beneficial externally funded scholarships in your search for the top scholarship for PhD in the USA for Indian students.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarships

These scholarships are disbursed by the Aga Khan Foundation every year to graduate and doctorate students coming from developing countries to the States. This scholarship provides an award of 50% and a loan of 50% of the total study cost (tuition fees and living expenses). It is eligible for the first two years of the course. However, one of its benefits is that an interest rate of only 5% is charged on the loan amount, which is comparatively lower than that of other education loans. Moreover, the repayment schedule is stretched over five years.

The student’s guardian must co-sign the agreement for this scholarship and its loan amount. Ideal candidates are determined based on eligible expenses, other scholarships, previous education loans, family income, and student employment income. Here is the eligibility criteria for the scholarship:

  • Younger than 30 years of age
  • Financial background
  • Academic record
  • Relevant work experience
  • Proof of application to other sources of funding
  • Recognised institute for PhD studies
  • Extracurricular activities and achievements

Fulbright Foreign Student Programme

Grants offered under the Fullbright Foreign Student Programme are certainly the best choice for the top scholarship for PhD in the USA for Indian students. This scholarship covers all the major expenses, like the tuition cost, living expenditures, and travel. It also provides a J-1 visa. Students of all programmes and domains can apply for this scholarship except for medical fields. The popular scholarships are the Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellowship, the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Grants and the Fulbright-Nehru CII Fellowship for Leadership in Management. Find the eligibility criteria here:

  • Academic record
  • Good scores in GMAT or GRE
  • CV/Resume
  • The candidate must return to their native country for at least two years after completing the funding process.

Kala Singh Memorial Scholarship

Funded together by the ASH Foundation and Little, Brown, Inc. with Dr Singh, this scholarship is designed to pay tribute to Kala Singh’s work and contribution to communicative disorders. Typically, this scholarship is valued at around USD 5,000, making it a considerable addition to other funding sources. The Kala Singh Memorial Scholarship application deadlines are usually set between May and June. However, note that the eligibility for this scholarship is quite stringent. Check out the critical points to consider here:

  • Applicants must have completed their graduate degrees.
  • Only full-time courses in speech, language and hearing-related programmes are eligible.
  • Submitting letters of recommendation is mandatory.

Top Scholarship For PhD In The USA For Indian Students: Fellowships

A fellowship is usually a merit-based scholarship for advanced studies that students can acquire based on their academic record and excellence. For continuing PhD studies in the US, Indian students can apply for such fellowships.

AAUW International Fellowships

The international fellowships offered by the American Association of University Women are explicitly awarded to female students to help them pursue a master’s or PhD in the USA. The fellowship is valued in the range of USD 24,000 to USD 50,000. Its application deadlines are typically set between August first week and November second week every year.

Candidates who receive these scholarships for Indian PhD students in the USA can travel abroad for research or projects for up to 2 months, but only if they have previously approved permission from AAUW. Note that previous fellows are not eligible to apply for this award. Moreover, the fellowship amount cannot be used for study expenses other than tuition fees, travel, repayment of loans, or dependent costs. Other points of eligibility and application requirements are listed here:

  • Official academic transcripts
  • Proof of enrolment
  • English proficiency scores
  • Academic record
  • Applicants should return to their native country after completing the degree.
  • US citizens cannot apply.

IBM PhD Fellowship Award Programme

Students applying to doctoral programmes in computer science, engineering, data analytics, technology, or material sciences are eligible to apply for this scholarship. It is valued at approximately USD 40,000. At the time of application/selection, the candidate must already be a full-time PhD student with two completed years of study. However, any students who have previously attended American institutions or those transferring are not eligible. Moreover, candidates receiving awards, grants or scholarships from other organisations or institutes are also not eligible.

Here’s how the eligibility criteria for the fellowship is determined:

  • A doctoral faculty member must nominate the candidates.
  • Candidates must show excellence in research.
  • Applicants must have completed all visa procedures.
  • Previous publications of the candidate are considered.
  • References and letters of recommendation from faculty advisors and heads of department.

East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship

The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship, or EWC fellowship, is provided to both master’s and PhD candidates. It is designed to encourage participation in educational, cultural, and residential community building and leadership. The award is valid for one year but can be extended to two years.

This fellowship offers full-time tuition fees equivalent to that charged at the University of Hawaii. Candidates also get a stipend to cover food expenses and other incidental occasions. Additionally, students can get accommodation in the EWC residence hall. EWC Graduate Degree Fellowship might be the top scholarship for PhD in the USA for Indian students because it also provides a subsidy towards covering health insurance along with the above benefits.

The eligibility is as follows:

  • Completion of bachelor’s degree
  • Competitive GPA
  • Citizen of India
  • A valid J-1 exchange visa

Top Scholarship For PhD In The USA For Indian Students: University-Funded

Most easily acquired scholarships are offered by universities. Once your enrolment is confirmed and you have completed the admission process, you can explore the different scholarships offered by the university based on your programme and eligibility. Although exploring all scholarships isn’t feasible without knowing the university and the course, we have mentioned a few instances where top scholarships are offered in the table below.

University Scholarship Benefits
Stanford University Stanford University Scholarships Full tuition fees, living expenses, and travel allowance.
Yale University Yale University Fully Funded Scholarships Up to USD 70,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT scholarship Up to 63,000
University of Chicago University of Chicago scholarships Tuition fees, health insurance

Why Do You Need A Scholarship For A PhD In The USA?

Understanding why you need to pursue PhD in the USA for Indian students with scholarship is best done by analysing the cost of studying. Most international students require education loans, funding, and scholarships to cover the complete cost of tuition for any course. This is essential since most applications require proof of finances. However, these are seldom enough. The total cost of studying also includes living expenses, which are rarely covered by loans. Then, you can either cover them by arranging your own funding or acquiring a stipend through grants.

The cost of studying, in general, comprises two components – the cost of tuition and the cost of living. The average cost of tuition for a PhD is USD 58,900. For detailed information, refer to the table below.

University  Average Annual Cost Of Tuition
Stanford University USD 88,000
Harvard University USD 54,032
California Institute of Technology USD 63,063
University of Pennsylvania USD 41,544
Yale University USD 48,300

Next, we consider the average annual cost of living. The average living expenditure in the United States is approximately USD 15,888. This figure includes the cost of accommodation, travel, groceries, etc. Check out the table below for a detailed breakdown.

Particulars Monthly Living Expenses in the USA
Off-Campus Accommodation  USD 525
On-Campus Accommodation USD 871
Transportation USD 70
Food Cost USD 527
Entertainment USD 48
Groceries USD 52
Clothes USD 102
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation  USD 1,324
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation  USD 1,670
Annual Cost of Living USD 15,888


Q1. How to get a 100% scholarship for PhD abroad?

Ans: The best way to get a fully funded scholarship to pursue a PhD abroad as an international student is to fulfil all the eligibility criteria. You must achieve higher-than-average scores in standardised tests. Moreover, showing your dedication to the degree is equally important.

Q2. Who is eligible for PhD scholarship in the USA?

Ans: A maximum number of scholarships in the United States are offered based on academic merit and economic background. Thus, applicants must show excellent academic records, extracurriculars, and overall merit to be eligible for the scholarships.

Q3. Is there an age limit to study PhD in the USA?

Ans: Generally, there’s no age limit to study PhD in the USA. However, specific universities may have age restrictions for selective programmes.

Q4. How much does a PhD cost in the USA for Indian students?

Ans: The average cost of tuition for a PhD programme in the USA is USD 58,900. Similarly, the average annual cost of living in the USA is USD  15,888.

Thank you for reading our guide to the top scholarship for PhD in the USA for Indian students! Let us know your queries in the comments section below!

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