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Dissertation Research Grants

The Dissertation Research Grant program is funded by the Graduate School and overseen by a subcommittee of the Graduate Council. Program requirements and application and eligibility guidelines are detailed below. We hope that this program will assist award recipients in completion of the dissertation as well as provide recognition of their research and accomplishments to date.

Eligibility is limited to doctoral students who have achieved candidacy at the time of application. Applicants must also be in good academic standing and currently enrolled (including “Continuous Enrollment/Program Fee”).

The purpose of the grants is to provide funding up to a maximum of $1,000 for expenses incurred in connection with the student’s doctoral dissertation research. Allowed expenses include but are not limited to research-related expenses associated with: travel to special library or museum collections; access to libraries, databases, or archives; hiring consultants; duplication, transcription, or translation of research materials; payments to subjects or undergraduate assistants; surveys; field work; and the purchase of software or specialized equipment (which will remain the property of the University). Expenses not allowed on the grant include: paying oneself a stipend or salary; conference travel (which the Graduate School supports with block grants to the graduate programs); typing or duplication of the dissertation; normal living expenses except when on research-related travel; routine laboratory or office supplies; purchase of software or specialized equipment that is already available on campus; and purchase of computers or other routine or personal equipment. Note that for students from labs that have significant financial support, sufficient justification must be presented as to how the additional input of up to $1,000 would enable the proposed research.

Proposals to fund specialized training will be eligible for consideration only if such training is clearly necessary for the applicant’s dissertation research and is not otherwise available. Training that contributes to the applicant’s overall professional development but does not directly support the dissertation research is not eligible for funding. Eligible training must not be available on campus or within the Five College Consortium. Students who require advanced language training should first consult the offerings of the relevant departments and the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. (The desire to obtain language training during the summer is not in itself sufficient reationale for a grant.) Students seeking training in statistics or methodology should first consult the offerings of the relevant departments and of the Institute for Social Science Research. (ISSR’s statistics and methodology consulting service is funded by the Graduate School.)

Awards will be transferred to the applicant’s department. Normal rules and procedures for business expenses apply. The recipient’s departmental business office will be able to provide detailed information on how funds can be used to pay allowable expenses.

An applicant must submit the following materials:

  1. A completed application form, available on the Graduate School website.
  2. A one-page, single-spaced description of the project. This description should include an explanation of why the expense is necessary and how it is linked with the applicant’s dissertation topic. It should be clear from your description what it is exactly that you are undertaking, how the work will proceed, and the overall plan, as appropriate for your academic discipline. If your project involves experimentation or a similar form of data-gathering, you should be sure to describe your research design and methodology. The content should be understandable by faculty in other fields.
  3. A detailed budget for the entire project, including source information for cost quotes or estimates and all sources of funding for the project. If the total budget exceeds the $1000 cap, the budget page should also describe any commitments or pending requests for funds from other sources.

The applicant’s advisor must also submit a confidential one-page letter of recommendation addressing the applicant’s merit and performance in the program, the significance of the project, and the project’s relationship to the applicant’s dissertation topic.

This is a completely paperless application process; all materials should be sent by email to The deadlines for this year are Tuesday, 20th October 2015 for the fall competition and Tuesday, 1st March 2016 for the spring competition (both six weeks from the first day of classes).

A subcommittee of the Graduate Council will review submissions. Awards will be announced not later than the end of the semester. Questions should be addressed to Heidi Bauer-Clapp at