Professional Development Awards

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 Rush University. Many 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 Rush University also offer funding to support graduate student research and professional development activity.

Rush Graduate College administers four separate funding programs that assist graduate students in their professional development, either individually or within groups:

Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel

This fund supports individual Ph.D. students invited to present their first-authored scholarly research paper or work at a conference or meeting. The maximum grant amount within one academic year is $750. Applicants must be enrolled at the Graduate College, both at the time of application and the time of the presentation. M.S. or Ph.D. students must have completed at least one year of regular enrollment. Preference is given to students whose work is not already supported by a faculty research grant that may provide similar funding support.

The deadline for submission of a request for a travel award is at least four weeks prior to the departure of the trip. Requests are reviewed four times per year, according to the following deadlines: September 1 (for prospective travel during October through December), December 1 (for forthcoming travel during January through March), March 1 (for forthcoming travel during April through June), and June 1 (for forthcoming summer travel during July through September). Students who are invited to present at conferences that have dates overlapping 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. The following criteria are considered when reviewing a request for the Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel:

  • The student must be first-author of a presentation (talk or poster) at a regional, national, or international meeting. The research that the student presents must be research performed as a Graduate College student. A student who has performed research prior to matriculating at Rush Graduate College may not use that research as the basis for the travel award (proof of acceptance must be uploaded to this application); or, B) the student has been invited to attend a prestigious meeting, e.g., a Gordon Conference (proof of invitation must be uploaded to this application).
  • The student must be in good academic standing at the Graduate College.
  • The student must not be overdue for a committee meeting, candidacy examination, or dissertation defense at the time of the application for this travel award.
  • The student must not have already received a travel award during the academic year in which this application will be submitted.
Career Development Funds

This fund supports individual M.S. and Ph.D. students who wish to attend career and professional development workshops or programs of professional interest that are not venues for the students to present their own research or scholarly work. (The Dean’s Fund for Scholarly Travel is available to students who will travel to present their own research or scholarly work.) The maximum grant amount within one academic year is $500. Examples of fundable activities include, but are not limited to, teaching and pedagogy conferences, workshops for specific skill acquisition, conference participation in an administrative role (i.e., organizing a conference or participating as a discussant), and networking events. Requests are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Students who wish to attend programs that overlap the end of one review period and the beginning of the next should apply for the grant period in which the program begins. 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 College divides the fund across the review periods.   

Funding for Scholarly Interdisciplinary Symposia, Seminars, and Workshops

This fund supports groups of students who wish to organize scholarly symposia, seminar series, and workshops. The maximum grant is typically $1,500. 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 presenters, speakers, and moderators, as well as organizers. Successful proposals may include, 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 Rush Graduate College 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. Proposals are reviewed twice per year: December 1 (for events occurring in January through June), and June 1 (for events occurring in July through December). 

Funding for Professional Development Initiatives

This fund supports groups of students in receiving professional development through their own initiatives. The maximum grant is typically $1,000. 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 that fill a professional development need not currently met through the Graduate College or other Rush University resources. For example, industry networking events, alumni panels on nonacademic careers, and group workshops on transferable skill development. Proposals are reviewed twice per year: December 1 (for events occurring in January through June), and June 1 (for events occurring in July through December). 

Requests for student awards must be approved before the student goes to the event in question. Early application is highly recommended. Please monitor the deadline for the submission of a request for each of the professional development awards. Not every worthy request in every funding period can be granted. To allow availability of financial support throughout the entire year (September to August), the Graduate College divides the fund across the review periods. The Graduate College holds all requests received up to each deadline, reviews them, and awards funds. All available funds are typically allocated during each review period, and therefore the Graduate College is unable to consider requests received after the deadline.

The following criteria are considered when reviewing a request for professional development awards:

  • The student has completed the application.
  • The student must have an ORCID account that is public and updated.
  • The student must have attended a minimum of two career development events during the past six months.

Additional criteria might be required for each award. Click here to start your application.