Internal Funding

Internal Funding

You may be eligible for funding through grants and fellowships offered by the Graduate School to support the research and scholarly activities of our graduate students.

Inclusion & Diversity Fellowships

The Graduate School at UMass Amherst offers two fellowships to support the recruitment, retention and success of outstanding graduate students from historically underrepresented groups: the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship for STEM students, and the Research Enhancement and Leadership (REAL) Fellowship for doctoral students.

Predissertation Research Grants

Predissertation Grants of up to $1,000 offer early career doctoral students the opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of planned dissertation research, generate pilot data, or establish the necessary networks to carry out planned dissertation research, among other activities.

Who Is Eligible?

UMass graduate students enrolled in a campus-based doctoral program who have completed at least one semester of graduate study at UMass Amherst at the time of application, but have not yet filed their dissertation prospectus, are eligible to apply.

UMass doctoral students are eligible to receive a Predissertation Research Grant only once. Applicants who were not awarded a grant in a previous application cycle are eligible to reapply, provided they still meet the eligibility requirements. Students may accept only one Predissertation, Fieldwork, or Dissertation Research Grant from the Graduate School in an academic year.

Funds could support expenses related to:

  • Preliminary research, including gathering pilot data, demonstrating proof of concept, or testing feasibility of research question(s) or method(s)
  • Identifying dissertation research site(s)
  • Initiating research contacts to support future dissertation research
  • Evaluating scope and content of potential research resources, such as archival records

How to Apply

The student must complete:

  1. A Predissertation Grant Application
  2. Budget Table (use this template; completed Budget Table is uploaded as a PDF with the Predissertation Grant Application)
  3. Budget Justification (uploaded as a PDF with the Predissertation Grant Application)

The faculty advisor reviews the completed Budget Table, writes a letter of recommendation and submits it online. The letter should address the following:

  • The student’s ability to carry out the activities proposed in the Predissertation Grant application.
  • The student’s progress in degree program and general academic qualifications.
  • The merit of the intended dissertation research and how activities proposed in the Predissertation Grant application will support eventual dissertation research.

Deadlines

To allow for sufficient planning time, we recommend students submit an application for a Predissertation Grant at least three months before funds are needed.

  • Tuesday, November 5, 2019: This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after December 15, 2019.
  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020: This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after May 15, 2020.

The application deadline is 11:59 PM on the posted due date—all required materials (including the advisor’s letter of recommendation) must be received by this time. Awards will be announced by the end of the semester in which the application was submitted.

Review Criteria

Awards will be made based on the merit of the proposed research and the potential for activities funded by Predissertation Grants to provide a strong foundation for the student's future dissertation research. Proposals written in clear language, with realistic and cost-efficient budgets, are more likely to be funded.

Eligible Expenses

    Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

    • Research-related travel (e.g. transportation, lodging, food)
    • Costs associated with specialized training, including travel or fees (requests for specialized training or language instruction available at UMass or within the Five College network will not be funded)
    • Fees to use libraries, archives, or databases
    • Purchasing research-related software NOT available through UMass Amherst

    Ineligible expenses under this grant include:

    • Salary for the graduate student applicant 
    • Salary or other costs for research assistants
    • Purchase of computers or tablets
    • Food (with the exception of meals during research-related travel)
    • Costs to attend or present at conferences or meetings
    • Routine laboratory or office supplies (these include items considered standard for your department/laboratory, i.e. things routinely in stock)
    • Purchase of books
    • Fees or other costs associated with publication

    In most cases, award funds will be disbursed as reimbursements, although some expenses such as equipment purchases must be paid directly by the University. Students should be prepared to pay for expenses out-of-pocket and received reimbursement when activities are completed. Awarded funds are managed by the student’s department; awardees must communicate with their department’s business manager prior to spending any grant funds. Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief report at the end of the grant period to account for how grant funds were spent.

    Supplement for Travel with Children

    These competitive grants are awarded as a supplement to the three Graduate School Grants (Predissertation, Fieldwork, and Dissertation Research). Recipients must first be awarded a Graduate School Grant, then their Supplement for Travel with Children application will be considered. Supplements of up to $500 are intended to support UMass Amherst graduate student parents to cover expenses incurred while traveling with children under the age of six during activities funded by a Graduate School Grant. Applicants must certify that requested funds are above and beyond normal dependent care expenses (e.g. normal day care or care by a family member will not be covered).

    To apply for a Supplement for Travel with Children, complete the Travel with Children Budget Template and submit it with your main grant application.

    Supplements for Travel with Children will be provided as a non-working fellowship, which is considered taxable income and may impact need-based financial aid, including student loans. Students should contact Financial Aid with questions on how awarded funds may impact loan eligibility.

    Questions should be addressed to grant coordinator, Heidi Bauer-Clapp.

    Dissertation Research Grants

    Dissertation Research Grants provide up to $1,000 for costs associated with data collection or analysis. 

    Who Is Eligible?

    UMass Amherst doctoral students who are enrolled in a campus-based degree program and have achieved candidacy at the time of application are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be in good academic standing. UMass doctoral students are eligible to receive this grant only once. Applicants who were not awarded a grant in a previous application cycle are eligible to reapply. Students may accept only one Predissertation, Fieldwork, or Dissertation Research Grant from the Graduate School in an academic year. 

    How to Apply

    The student must complete:

    1. A Dissertation Research Grant Application
    2. A one-page, single-spaced Project Description (uploaded as a PDF in the Dissertation Research Grant Application). All figures and references should be included within the one-page limit. Write your Project Description for a general audience using non-technical language, as the content should be understandable by faculty in other fields. Your Project Description should address each of the following:
      • What do you seek to accomplish with your dissertation research? (i.e., what are your research questions/aims/objectives?)
      • How will you accomplish this? (i.e., what research methods will you use?)
      • What contribution(s) will this research make?
      • How would a Dissertation Research Grant contribute to your ability to successfully complete your dissertation?
    3. Budget Table (use this template; upload your completed Budget Table as a PDF in the Dissertation Research Grant Application)
    4. Budget Justification (upload as a PDF in the Dissertation Research Grant Application)

    The faculty advisor reviews the completed Budget Table, writes a letter of recommendation, and submits it online. The letter should address the following:

    • The student’s ability to carry out the activities proposed in the Dissertation Grant application.
    • The student’s progress in degree program and general academic qualifications.
    • The merit of the intended dissertation research and how activities proposed in the Dissertation Grant application will help the student complete their dissertation.

    Deadlines:

    To allow sufficient planning time, we recommend students submit an application at least three months before funds are needed.

    • Tuesday, October 8, 2019: This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after December 15, 2019.
    • Tuesday, February 25, 2020: This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after May 15, 2020.

    The application deadline is 11:59 PM on the posted due date—all required materials (including the letter of recommendation) must be received by this time. Award decisions will be announced by the end of the semester in which the application was submitted. 

    Eligible Expenses

    Eligible expenses under this grant include, but are not limited to:

    • travel to special library or museum collections
    • access to libraries, databases, or archives
    • fees for services (e.g., transcription, analyzing samples, payments to subjects, hiring undergraduate research assistants. NOTE: These expenses must be coordinated with your department's bookkeeper or business manager ahead of time. Grant funds may not be used to retroactively pay for these services.)
    • duplication or distribution of research materials (e.g., photocopies of surveys, postage)
    • field work, including travel to and from the field site and living expenses while in the field
    • purchase of software or specialized equipment not otherwise available via UMass (which will remain the property of the university; laptops, tablets, and similar technology are not eligible)

    Ineligible expenses include:

    • paying oneself a stipend or salary
    • costs associated with publishing your research
    • costs to attend or present at conferences or meetings
    • typing, duplication, or editing of the dissertation
    • normal living expenses except expenses associated with research-related travel
    • routine laboratory or office supplies (these include items considered standard for your department/laboratory, i.e. things routinely in stock)
    • purchase of software or specialized equipment that is already available on campus
    • purchase of computers, tablets, or similar technology
    • purchase of books

    In most cases, award funds will be disbursed as reimbursements, although some expenses such as equipment purchases must be paid directly by the University. Students should be prepared to pay for expenses out-of-pocket and received reimbursement when activities are completed. Awarded funds are managed by the student’s department; awardees must communicate with their department’s business manager prior to spending any grant funds. Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief report at the end of the grant period to account for how grant funds were spent.

    Supplement for Travel with Children

    These competitive grants are awarded as a supplement to the three Graduate School Grants (Predissertation, Fieldwork, and Dissertation Research). Recipients must first be awarded a Graduate School Grant, then their Supplement for Travel with Children application will be considered. Supplements of up to $500 are intended to support UMass Amherst graduate student parents to cover expenses incurred while traveling with children under the age of six during activities funded by a Graduate School Grant. Applicants must certify that requested funds are above and beyond normal dependent care expenses (e.g. normal day care or care by a family member will not be covered).

    To apply for a Supplement for Travel with Children, complete the Travel with Children Budget Template and submit it with your main grant application. 

    Supplements for Travel with Children will be provided as a non-working fellowship, which is considered taxable income and may impact need-based financial aid, including student loans. Students should contact Financial Aid with questions on how awarded funds may impact loan eligibility.

    Questions should be addressed to grant coordinator, Heidi Bauer-Clapp.

     

    Dissertation Fieldwork Grants

    These grants of up to $5,000 provide support for fieldwork expenses. For the purpose of this grant, fieldwork is defined as data collection that takes place for an extended period of time (weeks or months) outside the western Massachusetts geographical area. These grants are not designed to fund data analysis, only expenses related to data collection. 

    Who Is Eligible?

    UMass Amherst doctoral students who are enrolled in a campus-based degree program and in good academic standing are eligible to apply. UMass doctoral students are eligible to receive this grant only once. Applicants who were not awarded a grant in a previous application cycle are eligible to reapply. Students may accept only one Predissertation, Fieldwork, or Dissertation Research Grant from the Graduate School in an academic year. 

    How to Apply

    The student must complete:

    1. Fieldwork Grant Application
    2. A three-page, single-spaced Project Description (uploaded as a PDF in the Fieldwork Grant Application). All figures and references must be included within the three-page limit. Write your Project Description for a general audience using non-technical language, as the content should be understandable by faculty in other fields. Your Project Description should address each of the following:
      • What do you seek to accomplish with your dissertation research? (i.e., what are your research questions/aims/objectives?)
      • How will you accomplish this? (i.e., what research methods will you use?)
      • What contribution(s) will this research make?
      • How would a Fieldwork Grant contribute to your ability to successfully complete your dissertation?
    3. Budget Table (use this template; upload your completed Budget Table as a PDF in the Fieldwork Grant Application)
    4. Budget Justification (upload as a PDF in the Fieldwork Grant Application)

    The faculty advisor reviews the completed Budget Table, writes a letter of recommendation, and submits it online. The letter should address the following:

    • The student’s ability to carry out the activities proposed in the Fieldwork Grant application.
    • The student’s progress in degree program and general academic qualifications.
    • The merit of the intended dissertation research and how activities proposed in the Fieldwork Grant application will help the student complete their dissertation.

    Deadlines

    To allow sufficient planning time, we recommend students submit a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant application at least six months before funds are needed.

    • Tuesday, October 22, 2019. This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after December 15, 2019.
    • Tuesday, March 10, 2020. This cycle will fund research expenses beginning on or after May 15, 2020.

    The application deadline is 11:59 PM on the posted due date. All required materials (including the advisor’s Letter of Recommendation) must be received by this time. Award decisions will be announced by the end of the semester in which the application was submitted. 

    Review Criteria

    Awards will be made based on the merit of the proposed research; proposals written in clear language, with realistic and cost-efficient budgets, are more likely to be funded.

    Eligible Expenses

    Eligible expenses include (but are not limited to):

    • Research-related travel to field site(s) or local travel at the field site(s)
    • Living expenses while in the field (e.g. lodging, food)
    • Fees to use libraries, archives, or databases while in the field
    • Duplication or distribution of research materials (e.g. photocopies of surveys)
    • Purchase of research supplies or equipment, which will remain the property of the University

    Ineligible expenses include:

    • Salary for the graduate student applicant
    • Salary or other expenses related to research assistants
    • Expenses related to student training, including language or methodology training
    • Standard office or laboratory supplies (these include items considered standard for your department/laboratory, i.e. things routinely in stock)
    • Purchase of computers or tablets (unless the student can demonstrate that such equipment is integral to data collection)
    • Food (with the exception of meals while in the field)
    • Costs to attend or present at conferences or meetings
    • Purchasing data sets
    • Purchase of books
    • Fees or other costs associated with publication
    • Costs incurred at home while the researcher is in the field (e.g. rent)

    In most cases, award funds will be disbursed as reimbursements, although some expenses such as equipment purchases must be paid directly by the University. Awarded funds are managed by the student’s department; awardees must communicate with their department’s business manager prior to spending any grant funds. Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief report at the end of the grant period to account for how grant funds were spent.

    Supplement for Travel with Children

    These competitive grants are awarded as a supplement to the three Graduate School Grants (Predissertation, Fieldwork, and Dissertation Research). Recipients must first be awarded a Graduate School Grant, then their Supplement for Travel with Children application will be considered. Supplements of up to $500 are intended to support UMass Amherst graduate student parents to cover expenses incurred while traveling with children under the age of six during activities funded by a Graduate School Grant. Applicants must certify that requested funds are above and beyond normal dependent care expenses (e.g. normal day care or care by a family member will not be covered).

    To apply for a Supplement for Travel with Children, complete the Travel with Children Budget Template and submit it with your main grant application. 

    Supplements for Travel with Children will be provided as a non-working fellowship, which is considered taxable income and may impact need-based financial aid, including student loans. Students should contact Financial Aid with questions on how awarded funds may impact loan eligibility.

    Questions should be addressed to grant coordinator,  Heidi Bauer-Clapp.

    Travel Grants

    Administered by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) in each department and funded by a block grant from the Graduate School, travel grants support graduate students in their efforts to establish themselves and acquire valuable experiences in their field.

    Who Is Eligible?

    Enrolled, matriculated graduate students (including those on Program Fee/Continuous Enrollment) traveling for presentations at conferences, professional meetings, and exhibitions.

    Requirements

    Applicants must provide verification of acceptance or invitation to present their work to their GPD. These funds are not designed to cover research related expenses.

    The review and approval process will be managed by departments under the direction of the GPD. GPDs/departments will determine the amount of individual awards, priorities for allocating funding to students, and how many students to fund.

    How to Request Funding

    Students who anticipate professional travel as described above should check with their GPD on the department process to request funding. These travel grants are processed as a business expense reimbursement. Students who receive funding should check with their business office on specific procedures for reimbursement.

    For GPDs and Business Managers

    GPDs and department business managers will be notified of the amount of their block grant in September. Once you have been notified of the amount of your allocation you may begin to make awards to students. Funds are awarded for the academic year and may be used to cover travel taking place between Sept. 1 and Aug. 31 of that year. Individual grants should be disbursed to students following university business expense reimbursement guidelines.

    Each department will be required to report annually on their use of Graduate Student Travel Grant funds; departments failing to submit a report will not receive an allocation for the next year. Funds may not be carried over from one academic year to the next.

    If you have questions or need other assistance, please email Heidi Bauer-Clapp or call 413-545-0669.