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Thesis Research Travel Grants

What are Thesis Research Travel Grants? 

Domestic Thesis Research Travel Grant

Maximum award of $2,500 available to support research outside of the applicant’s area of residence.

International Thesis Research Travel Grant

Maximum award of $5,000 available for extended travel to conduct thesis research abroad.

The review and selection will be conducted by University of Minnesota faculty, who will select the awardees based on the following criteria:

  • cohesiveness of the study or research plan and the clarity with which it is conveyed to the non-specialist
  • direct impact travel will have on the research
  • strength of the overall academic record
  • soundness of the budget request
  • timeliness of progress toward the degree
  • strength of the letters of recommendation

A typical budget generally includes transportation, lodging outside area of residence, and expenses for fieldwork. Applicants are expected to have exhausted other potential sources for travel funds and to indicate if they have partial funding toward the travel from grants on or beyond campus, including those grants that are under consideration.

Who Is Eligible? 

  • Funding is for research travel to be completed by December 31, 2020; retroactive requests will also be considered.
  • Applicant must be registered for credit (not GRAD 999) in a Ph.D. or D.M.A. program at the University of Minnesota during spring 2020 in order to receive funding.
  • Applicant must pass the oral preliminary exam prior to travel.
  • Students may apply for either the Domestic or the International Thesis Research Travel Grant; students who have already received a Thesis Research Travel Grant award are not eligible to apply again.

The deadline to apply is noon (CST) on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

Further Information

If you have questions, please contact the Graduate School Fellowship Office.

How Do I Apply? 

1. Start Application

  • Create a username and password.
  • If you are applying to multiple fellowship competitions, you will need to create a new user login for each application.

2. Send Letter Requests

To ensure that letter writers have sufficient time prior to the deadline:

  • Complete sections 1 & 3 of the electronic application (Applicant Information and Recommenders), then choose your "SEND REQUEST OPTIONS" (in section 4) at the bottom of the electronic application page.
  • Your two recommenders will receive an email with instructions and a link.  
  • You will receive notification when the letters are uploaded.

3. Complete the Application

  • Complete section 2 of the electronic application.
  • You must first complete section 1 of the application in order to view all required questions/uploads in section 2.
  • Section 2 details your credentials, the proposed project, and includes all of your uploaded documentation.

Summary of Required Materials for Application

Section 1: Applicant Information

  • Name, email address, student ID, program, citizenship status
  • Location of proposed research
  • Indicate month/year preliminary orals have been/will be passed
  • Indicate human/animal subjects use, if applicable to research

Section 2: Application

  • Research Proposal:
      • Maximum two-pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins. Key references, diagrams or pictures may be included (but they are not required) on a single additional appendix page (no formatting requirements).
      • Include a working title for your research project at the top of the proposal.
      • Describe your research plan in terms that are accessible to the non-specialist. Ask someone outside your field to read your proposal, to ensure that it is jargon-free.
      • Explain the importance of the proposed travel to the completion of your dissertation.
      • If your research is part of a larger group project, be specific about your role and independent contribution.
      • Explain how your research will be completed if this request is not funded or if other needed funds are not forthcoming.
  • Curriculum Vitae:
      • Maximum two-pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins.
      • Focus on publications, presentations, academic accomplishments & awards.
  • Unofficial UMN graduate transcript, with explanation of any incompletes
  • If applicable, IRB/IACUC documentation for human/animal subjects

Section 3: Recommenders

  • Name and email address of two recommenders (first recommender should be major advisor)
  • Letters are due by the deadline.

Section 4: Save/Update/Submit or Request Letters

  • Electronic signature, copy of application and letter request options
  • Send electronic letter requests to recommenders well in advance of the application deadline.

1. Start Application

  • Create a username and password.
  • If you are applying to multiple fellowship competitions, you will need to create a new user login for each application.

2. Send Letter Requests

To ensure that letter writers have sufficient time prior to the deadline:

  • Complete sections 1 & 3 of the electronic application (Applicant Information and Recommenders), then choose your "SEND REQUEST OPTIONS" (in section 4) at the bottom of the electronic application page.
  • Your two recommenders will receive an email with instructions and a link.  
  • You will receive notification when the letters are uploaded.

3. Complete the Application

  • Complete section 2 of the electronic application.
  • You must first complete section 1 of the application in order to view all required questions/uploads in section 2.
  • Section 2 details your credentials, the proposed project, and includes all of your uploaded documentation.

Summary of Content Required for Application

Section 1: Applicant Information

  • Name, email address, student ID, program, citizenship status
  • Location of proposed research
  • Indicate month/year preliminary orals have been/will be passed
  • Indicate human/animal subjects use, if applicable to research

Section 2: Application

    • Maximum two-pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins. Key references, diagrams or pictures may be included (but they are not required) on a single additional appendix page (no formatting requirements).
    • Include a working title for your research project at the top of the proposal.
    • Describe your research plan in terms that are accessible to the non-specialist. Ask someone outside your field to read your proposal, to ensure that it is jargon-free.
    • Explain the importance of the proposed travel to the completion of your dissertation.
    • If your research is part of a larger group project, be specific about your role and independent contribution.
    • Explain how your research will be completed if this request is not funded or if other needed funds are not forthcoming.
  • Curriculum Vitae:
      • Maximum two-pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins.
      • Focus on publications, presentations, academic accomplishments & awards.
  • Unofficial UMN graduate transcript, with explanation of any incompletes. 
  • If applicable, IRB/IACUC documentation for human/animal subjects.

Section 3: Recommenders

  • Name and email address of two recommenders (first recommender should be major advisor)
  • Letters are due by the deadline.

Section 4: Save/Update/Submit or Request Letters

  • Electronic signature, copy of application and letter request options
  • Send electronic letter requests to recommenders well in advance of the application deadline

Additional Materials Needed

  • Letter of Affiliation from host institution/country
      • The purpose of obtaining a letter of affiliation is to demonstrate to faculty reviewers that, if granted funding, you will be able to successfully carry out your proposed research. Reviewers are hesitant to approve funding if there is any doubt that the research can be successfully conducted. The letter may be in the form of email contact, or other proof that demonstrates your ability to successfully complete the research.
  • Language Evaluation
      • For native speakers:instead of obtaining a language evaluation, please include a signed statement indicating the language which will be used to conduct research, and stating that you are a native speaker of that language. You may sign this statement yourself.

Can I apply for both the Domestic & the International Thesis Research Travel Grant at the same time?

No, you may apply for only one grant.

Can I receive both the Domestic & the International Thesis Research Grant over the course of my Graduate School career?

No, students are eligible to receive only one of these awards during the entire course of their Graduate School career. 

How should I calculate my budget expenses? Is there a per-diem amount I should use?

It is up to you to determine what your travel expenses will be. Please include an explanation of how you calculated your costs in the "Budget Item & Justification" section of the Education & Budget Statement. 

I am a native speaker of the language that will be used to conduct research. Do I need to obtain a language evaluation?

Instead of obtaining a language evaluation, please include a signed statement indicating the language which will be used to conduct research, and stating that you are a native speaker of that language. You may sign this statement yourself.

Why do I need to obtain a letter of affiliation?

The purpose of obtaining a letter of affiliation is to demonstrate to faculty reviewers that, if granted funding, you will be able to successfully carry out your proposed research. Reviewers are  hesitant to approve funding if there is any doubt that the research can be successfully conducted.  The letter may be in the form of email contact, or other proof that demonstrates your ability to successfully complete the research.

I will be conducting research in a library archive, museum, or other public space. Do I still need to obtain a letter of affiliation?

You will want to provide proof to the review committee that you will have access to the resources needed to successfully conduct your planned research.

  • You could obtain an email from an employee of the library, museum, or other public space verifying that you will have access to the required materials. 
  • If the webpage states that the archives/materials in question are available to the public, you could include a copy of the webpage, highlighting or circling the pertinent information.
  • You may have other ideas for providing proof of access.  If you are in doubt about what to provide, please contact the Graduate School Fellowship Office.

I will be conducting surveys. Do I still need to obtain a letter of affiliation?

You will want to provide proof to reviewers that you will be able to successfully conduct your planned research. If you are conducting surveys, please provide whatever type of documentation you can that will demonstrate to the selection committee your ability to connect with the appropriate resources (such as business, community or scholarly contacts who will be able to assist you).

I haven't received my IRB/IACUC approval yet. What should I do?

Please upload documentation (1-2 pages) showing that you have started your request, and then submit your approval to the Graduate School Fellowship Office as soon as it is received. If you are awarded a Thesis Research Grant, funding will be dependent upon receipt of IRB/IACUC documentation. 

My study involves human or animal subjects, but IRB/IACUC told me that I don't need approval for my research. What should I do?

Please submit the email or letter from IRB or IACUC stating that approval is not required for your project. 

My advisor has IRB/IACUC approval which covers my project. Do I still need to obtain documentation?

Please upload the approval page of the IRB/IACUC documentation that your advisor has obtained.