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Conference Travel Support

College of Arts and Sciences graduate students who are delivering papers or presenting research at scholarly conferences may request up to $500 from the College to help partially defray allowable expenses of attending the conference, such as registration fees, accommodation, and transportation. To be eligible, students must submit proof of presentation acceptance and an appropriate budget. Students must actually be giving a presentation, not merely attending a conference. Paper presentations are preferred over poster, but both will be considered. The research may relate to the student theses or other research projects associated with coursework or degree requirements. Furthermore, for joint papers, in the interests of cost, the committee will support the travel of one of the co-authors.

Students may apply at any time during a semester. However, requests will be reviewed and evaluated towards the end of a semester: December 7 in the case of fall and April 7 in the case of spring, and students will be notified of a decision soon after. Students can apply for funding after attending a conference or before attending one. Students are advised, though, that funds for travel support are not guaranteed, as support is subject to budget availability and to whether the expenses are qualifying (directly related to the conference and the student is a presenter). A student may only make one submission per conference; that is, if travel support for a conference was not approved in one review cycle, the student may not reapply for funds for the same conference at a later review cycle. Students may, however, apply for support for a different conference. Students may apply for support up to twice a year but receive a maximum of $500 for travel in a fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. Students must submit all receipts for travel prior to June 15 of the fiscal year. In order to support as many CAS students as possible, support will be prioritized for those who have never received funds from the college or the student’s own department; support is also prioritized for paper presentations over poster, but all types of presentations will be considered.

The Application for Student Travel (writable PDF) should be sent to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at Please request an amount not exceeding $500, preferably less. Larger requests may not be reviewed or funded. Your expenditure may be, and your receipt may show, an amount larger than $500 but you should request a total amount of no more than $500. Students should prioritize their needs for the travel award (registration fees, lodging, or transportation, but not all of these items) and request support that is deemed reasonable. The review committee typically reviews a large volume of applications and may not be able to fund all applicants or be only able to fund them partially. For more information about signing and saving writable PDFs, please review this FAQ. Both students and faculty advisors are encouraged to sign digitally. Alternatively, the form may be printed, signed, scanned, and emailed to

For any questions about the travel awards, please contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in CAS (

Pleast note that

  • Lodging and food costs for presentations within 50 miles of the university will not be reimbursed.
  • Conference fees and travel costs (e.g., bus, train, or federal per diem for mileage) can be reimbursed.
  • You will need to submit the original, itemized receipts for all reimbursed expenses, including food, lodging, and transportation. Alcohol will not be reimbursed.
  • Any lodging above the US government per diem requires approval and must be justified in writing.
  • The college will only reimburse standard economy class airfares. Upgrades at the traveler's or airlines expense will not affect reimbursement; however, only the standard economy class fare will be reimbursed.

Please check with your department administrative assistant if you have questions about allowable expenses.

Graduate Research Funding from CAS

Graduate students may compete for funding of up to $1000 per academic year from the CAS in two categories (via the application procedure below):

  1. To support funding for research materials, data collection, and/or field work necessary for the successful completion of a thesis or dissertation
  2. To fund travel for thesis or dissertation research.

Note that the maximum Graduate Student Research Support award is generally reduced by the amount of any Graduate Student Travel Support awarded in the same fiscal year (or by the amount of any award provided through a faculty supervisor’s or mentor’s CAS Mellon Award). Departments with restricted accounts for student research should contact the CAS Associate Dean for Graduate Studies to discuss providing matching support. Student awardees are required to present their results at the Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference in the spring. Students who previously received funding from this program must include in their proposals a description of how those funds were used.

Please request an amount not exceeding $1,000, preferably less. Larger requests may not be reviewed or funded. Your expenditure may be, and your receipt may show, an amount larger than $1,000 but you should request a total amount of no more than $1,000.  Students should prioritize their needs for completing their research project and request support that is reasonable for their objective.  Furthermore, the review committee typically reviews a large volume of applications and may not be able to fund all applicants or be only able to fund them partially.

There will be separate rounds of graduate student research awards in the fall and spring semesters. Announcements of these competitions are typically sent to all CAS chairs and program directors toward the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Announcements are usually sent to all CAS chairs and program directors around late September in the fall semester and late January in the spring semester. Applications are typically due in October (for the fall competition) and in February (for the spring competition).

For any questions, please contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in CAS

As stated above, a call for applications will be made early in each semester. The application form will be distributed by the Department chair or program director. Please review general guidance and information below:

Applications to support the preparation of external grant proposals by graduate students are encouraged. Students planning to use funds to carry out research on human subjects or animals must have approval by the appropriate group, either the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), prior to the awarding of any funds. If the purchase of research animals is requested, the budget must also include costs for the care of those animals (in the form of per diems). In such cases, the per diem costs for animal care, although included in the budget, will not be counted toward the $1,000 maximum award limit. Please note that durable goods purchased with this funding are the property of American University. All funds must be used by June 15 of the fiscal year in which the award is received. 

These awards are competitive, and students should not expect to receive funding unless their proposal is well-written and understandable to people outside of their particular field.

In your application, you should indicate if your research project is joint work with that of a faculty member. You should provide some information about the faculty member(s) and the project or grant proposal — and the nature of the relationship between your work and the faculty member's. Note that for students engaging in participant research, you will not be able to use your funds towards a ClinCard to pay for participation payments. Please contact your department administrators for the most appropriate way to compensate subjects.

If, due to extenuating factors, money cannot be spent as originally planned in the proposal, recipients must request permission if they want to re-purpose the funds and provide a budget for the alternative activities. Any repurposing must be for activities that remain within the scope of the originally approved proposal. Awarded amounts may be adjusted accordingly. 

Call for applications will be made once per semester, due around the middle of the semester in Fall and the second month in Spring. You will be asked to complete:

  • A one-page Research Support Application Form.
  • A one-page statement describing your project and its anticipated outcomes. Specifically, address (i) the research question, hypothesis or objective; (ii) significance to your subject area or field; (iii) method or plan for addressing the research question or inquiry.
  • An attachment showing your budget. Please itemize and do not exceed $1000. If the project itself exceeds the amount, please indicate which aspects you would prioritize for funding.
  • Copies of the final reports associated with all previous awarded CAS graduate student research funds.

Students in the BCAN PhD program will be submitting their proposals to their Program Director. All other students will be submitting theirs to the Chair of their department. 

Doctoral Student Professional Development Fund

Doctoral candidates have the opportunity to obtain further support from a development fund for graduate student employees pursuing doctoral degrees. The funding is available for opportunities related to the student’s program of study, and the funding matches the support that a student obtains from student’s department or unit. See the link provided for the form and instructions.