You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Research Graduate Student Research & Travel Support

Conference Travel Support

College of Arts and Sciences students who are giving papers or presenting research at scholarly conferences may request up to $400 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.

Students may apply anytime during the academic year. However, requests will be reviewed and evaluated twice an academic year: in early December and in early April, and notified of a decision soon after. Students may apply for this travel support after-the-fact; that is, after attending a conference event if it were held before December and April. 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). Students may apply for support more than once a year, but receive a maximum of $400 for travel in a fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, and must submit all receipts for travel prior to June 15 of the fiscal year.

The Application for Student Travel (writable PDF) should be sent to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at 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

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 international 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.

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).

Please review general guidance and application form 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. 

In formulating their proposals, applicants may make note of any pandemic-related factors that may affect their research; for example, restrictions on travel, interviews, ability to obtain permits, or compliances with health and safety guidelines, and so forth. The committee will take into consideration such factors as they may impact the proposed research, or the execution thereof. If they anticipate these factors to be important, applicants should provide a brief statement explaining whether/how the proposed work may be impacted by pandemic related factors (this will not be counted toward the page limits). If, due to pandemic related 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. 

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

Applications must include

  • one-page Research Support Application Form (fillable PDF)
  • one-page statement describing your project and its anticipated outcomes
  • attachment showing your budget
  • copies of the final reports associated with all previous awarded CAS graduate student research funds.

Students in the BCAN PhD program should submit their proposal to their Program Director. All other students should submit their application to the Chair of their department. 

Proposal due dates will differ by program/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. Applications are to be submitted directly to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies at