Professional Development and Scholarly Travel Grants

Additional funding (beyond a student’s standard financial support) for professional development-related activities that graduate students wish to pursue may be available from a variety of sources at the University.  Many academic departments and programs offer supplemental funding to their students for travel to present research at conferences or to acquire relevant professional skills.  A number of offices, programs, and centers across campus also offer funding to support graduate student research and professional development activity.  Funding opportunities may be researched and applied for within SAFE (Student Activities Funding Engine), which many funding sources use to administer their support. 

The Graduate School itself administers four separate funding programs that assist graduate students in their professional development, either individually or within groups: the Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel; Professional Development Travel Funds; Funding for Scholarly Interdisciplinary Symposia, Seminars, and Workshops; and Funding for Professional Development Initiatives.  Complete funding eligibility criteria, up-to-date deadlines for applications, timelines for proposed activities, application instructions, and relevant contacts are available to students in SAFE.

The Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel 

This fund supports individual Ph.D. students invited to present their own, sole-authored scholarly research paper or work at a conference or meeting.  Maximum grant amount within a year is $800. Applicants must be enrolled, both at the time of application and the time of the presentation, in a third year of regular enrollment through a first DCE (dissertation completion enrollment) year.  Preference is given to students in the humanities and social sciences in higher years of study, when professional exposure is more critical; to students in departments with limited financial resources for this type of activity; and to students whose work is not already supported by a faculty research grant that may provide similar funding support. Requests are reviewed four times per year, according to the following deadlines: September 1 (for prospective travel during September through November), December 1 (for prospective travel during December through February), March 1 (for prospective travel during March through May), and May 1 (for prospective summer travel during June through August).  Students who are invited to present at conferences that have dates that overlap the end of one review period and the beginning of the next should apply for the grant period in which the actual presentation itself falls.  Not every worthy request in every funding period can be granted. In order for financial support to be available throughout the entire year (September to August), the Graduate School divides the fund across the review periods. The Graduate School holds all requests received up to each deadline, reviews them, and awards funds. All available funds are normally allocated during each review period, and therefore the Graduate School is ordinarily unable to consider requests received after the deadline. However, if funds remain for that funding period, late requests may be considered.

Professional Development Travel Funds

The Graduate School has established a Professional Development Fund to support professional development activities for individual graduate students. Individual professional development travel grants of a maximum of $500 are available through the fund for students who would like to participate in a professional development activity not directly related to their program of study or scholarly work (and therefore not eligible for support from the Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel described in Section 3 above). Fundable activities include travel funding to participate in professional development conferences, workshops, panel discussions, and networking events. Recent examples include funding for a humanities student to attend a coding workshop; support for a student who had assisted with organizing a conference; and support for a student to attend a science communications workshop.

Proposals to this fund are submitted through SAFE four times per year - September 1 (for travel during September through November), December 1 (for travel during December through February), March 1 (for travel during March through May), and May 1 (for summer travel during June through August). Again, all travel is contingent upon public health guidance as well as federal, state and local government regulations.

Funding for Scholarly Interdisciplinary Symposia, Seminars, and Workshops

This fund supports groups of students who wish to organize scholarly symposia, seminar series, and workshops.  Maximum grant is typically $2,000. The fund’s intent is to encourage student-initiated events that enrich the intellectual lives of graduate students by complementing the normal offerings of departments and programs with those that provide opportunities to present ideas and research to audiences across disciplinary boundaries. Students should participate as presenter, speakers, and moderators, as well as organizers.   Successful proposals in the past have included, for example, works-in-progress colloquia, symposia that expose the work of graduate students to academic professionals outside the University, and workshops that bring faculty and students from other campuses to interact closely with Princeton students on a focused topic. A strong preference is given to interdisciplinary programs that provide students the opportunity to engage with others outside their discipline.  Groups of students interested in applying for these funds work with a relevant graduate program administrator within a department to secure a group Net ID in order to complete the application process through SAFE. Proposals are reviewed twice per year: in December for events occurring in January through June, and in June for events occurring in July through December. 

Funding for Professional Development Initiatives

This fund supports groups of students in receiving more professional development through their own initiatives.  Maximum grant is typically $2,000.  The fund’s intent is to encourage students to pursue focused professional development experiences that will enrich the student experience and prepare them for a wide range of careers after graduate study.  Funds may be used for programming and events that are initiated by graduate students and fill a professional development need not currently met through the department, the Graduate School, or other campus resources. Successful proposals in the past have included, for example, industry networking events,  alumni panels on nonacademic careers, and group workshops on transferable skill development.  Groups of students interested in applying for these funds work with a relevant graduate program administrator within a department to secure a group Net ID in order to complete the application process through SAFE. Proposals are reviewed twice per year: in December for events occurring in January through June, and in June for events occurring in July through December.