October 23, 2017

Dear Doctoral Students:

The PhD process changed my life. Throughout my undergraduate education experience and master’s degree study, I had to work to pay for my education and living expenses. When awarded a fellowship as a doctoral student, I studied with many of the top scholars in my field. For the first time in post-secondary education, the fellowship enabled me to focus all of my attention on learning. It opened the door to a new world of scholarship and many other professional opportunities. Now, I contribute research that offers a different way to think about social policy and policies related to STEM education. Moreover, I number among the hundreds of faculty members in Arts & Sciences who serve as a teacher, advisor, and mentor to doctoral students. One of my most significant professional opportunities involves collaborating with doctoral students on research projects. Seeing my doctoral students grow and develop as intellectuals represents a highlight in my professional life.

The mentoring and financial commitments required to offer doctoral degree programs in Arts & Sciences represents one of the School’s most substantial investments. Why invest in doctoral education? One response I hear often is that, “doctoral students are a cheap labor force.” However, the response fails to align with the reality of our investment in your education. By the time of your PhD degree completion, the University will have invested between $365,000 and $440,000 on average per student in your education and support. In Arts & Sciences this translates into over a quarter of a billion dollar investment every five years into your education.

Financial resources represent only one form of our investment. Our faculty devote countless hours to recruiting, teaching, and mentoring doctoral students. Why? The University’s motto, “Strength through Truth” provides the answer. We live in a world that desperately needs a group of society’s most committed and talented members educated in the literature and the customs and practices of the discovery processes found in Arts & Sciences. Doctoral education in Arts & Sciences represents the very essence of Strength through Truth. You are the future citizen scholars and academics of this world. We need you. That is why so many faculty members and staff remain committed to your learning experience. Our staff working in the Graduate School, Liberman Graduate Center, Teaching Center, Habif Health & Wellness Center, Writing Center, WashU Career Center, Office of International Students and Scholars, and in your departments share in the commitment to your development.

We have committed to provide you with a free education and guaranteed cost of living stipend for 5 or 6 years depending on your program length. Moreover, we will continue to offer great support services while you engage in the education process associated with doctoral studies. Our investment represents a hope for a future where you are leaders in discovering and communicating truth to society.


William F. Tate IV

Dean and Vice Provost for Graduate Education

Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences