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University of Illinois Graduate College - Dissertation Travel Grants (Spring competition)

Campus Deadline: 3/10/2014

Departmental Nomination Required

Dissertation Travel Grants provide reimbursement to subsidize travel and associated costs necessary for doctoral dissertation research, whether for exploring a potential dissertation topic (i.e., before extensive research has been done) or for conducting dissertation research. Approximately 12 grants at amounts up to $5,000 will be awarded given sufficient funding. An awardee's nominating department must commit to contributing 12% of the cost of the grant.

Travel funded through the spring 2014 competition must begin no later than May 31, 2015 and must conclude by August 31, 2015.

The criteria used in making awards are the necessity for travel; the significance, coherence, and feasibility of the proposed research as determined from the proposal; and letters of support. The student's productivity and efficient progress toward the degree as shown in the academic record are also evaluated. Students who have already received a Graduate College dissertation travel grant are not eligible. Grants will not be awarded for travel that has taken place prior to the completion of the competition process.

Departments may submit up to three nominations.


  • Applicants must be enrolled in a program leading to the PhD, DMA, or EdD.
  • Students do not need to be registered at the time of application or during the time of travel.

Notes on the proposal: The proposal should be written for the non-specialist reader and should describe the specific research that would be undertaken during the tenure of the grant. Students should organize the proposal to include these sections: research question(s), literature review, theoretical framework, significance, methods, and any preliminary findings.

In addition, the proposal should explain how travel is essential for the research, including specific locations and dates of travel. The student should indicate how far he/she has progressed in the research project, what remains to be done, and how the research would contribute to the quality and timely completion of the dissertation. If the research project involves human subjects or vertebrate animals, the student should describe what steps have been or will be taken to secure the necessary research approvals.

Notes on the budget: Awards are contingent on availability of funds. The budget should be cost-effective and commensurate with the distance and time of travel. The highest priority for awards will be transportation expenses. Other allowable expenses include lodging, food, insurance, research passes or permits, visas, and required vaccinations, but these expenses may receive lower priority due to budget constraints.

Expenses not allowed: Travel expenses for any travel that has already occurred; travel expenses for colleagues or personal companions; cost of using university vehicle; participant incentives; equipment; supplies; photocopies; conference travel; course registration; tuition.

The budget worksheet should contain the dates of travel and specify the amounts and categories up to $5,000, detailing and justifying expenses using estimated actual costs. Do not use per diem calculations. Indicate the source of the budget estimates (travel agency, website, etc.).

Applicant checklist: Applicants should submit the following to their departments by the department deadline.

  • A curriculum vitae, including list of publications.
  • A research proposal of no more than three double-spaced pages using 12-point type and one-inch margins. Bibliography or references cited should be presented, and are not included in page limit. Proposals either exceeding the three-page limit or with improper font size will not be considered.
  • A letter from the student's thesis director, discussing the significance of the proposed dissertation, the student's academic and research accomplishments, and the student’s specific stage in the degree program (milestones passed, requirements remaining to be completed, and estimated length of time to degree completion).
  • A completed Dissertation Travel Grant Budget Worksheet (available from the Guidelines page), giving the dates of travel and specifying and justifying expenses up to $5,000 during the proposed travel. Students should refer to the Guidelines. The worksheet should be accompanied by a brief (~1/2 page) budget justification narrative explaining each of the items requested.

Department checklist:

Departments must compile each student's materials into a single pdf file and then email the files to GradCompetitions@illinois.edu by the deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

The following materials are required for each nomination, and they should appear in the following order:

  • Dissertation Travel Award Nomination Form with a ranking of 1-3, if applicable.
  • Departmental nomination letter, including the following information:
    • A rank order 1-3, with rationale of ranking.
    • Whether the proposal is for domestic or international travel.
    • Whether all coursework has been completed.
    • A statement of whether the proposal is for pre-dissertation research (beginning or advanced) or final research, explaining the criteria. If the proposal is for final research, give the preliminary examination date (passed or scheduled) and explain the function of the preliminary examination within the student’s unit.
    • If the proposal uses human subjects or vertebrate animals, verification that steps have been or will be taken to secure the necessary research approvals.
    • Verification of the department’s willingness to contribute 12% of the grantee’s expenses.
  • Materials required from the student:
    • Curriculum vitae.
    • Proposal.
    • Letter of recommendation from thesis director.
    • Budget Worksheet, with brief (~1/2 page) budget justification narrative.
  • Note: A transcript is also required as part of the nomination package. However, departments/applicants need not submit transcripts. Instead, the Graduate College will obtain transcripts independently through Banner.

Reporting Requirements: All Dissertation Travel Grant recipients are required to submit a one-page report and reimbursement paperwork within one month after travel has concluded.

Disbursement: Funds are disbursed in the form of a reimbursement following submission and review of all required reporting materials.

Contact: For further information contact the Graduate College Fellowship Office at 333-0036 or GradCompetitions@illinois.edu.

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