Selection Criteria

Conference grants are awarded up to $750.00 in accountable expenses.

The selection committee’s primary consideration in awarding conference grants is the importance of the conference to the student’s degree or career. An ideal applicant is presenting dissertation research at a venue where they can receive substantive feedback that will help them advance their research and/or apply for jobs. While the committee takes into account the stage of research a student has reached, there are often good reasons for earlier-stage students to apply, including the development of a dissertation topic, which may come out of research done in the first two to three years.

The selection committee also takes into account the conference’s significance. As mentioned above, the venue should be one where the student can improve their research and/or prepare for the job market. Disciplinary association conferences are of obvious significance, but so are specialized conferences. A conference in another discipline, or one that draws an interdisciplinary audience, may may be appropriate if the student's research incorporates elements or methodologies from another field.

Finally, applications should demonstrate a strong need for funding. Because we receive more worthy applications than we can fund, we prioritize applicants who lack other resources. Please list the sources of conference funding that might reasonably be available to you, and explain why they cannot meet your needs. Typical sources of funding include a student’s department, advisor, research institute, external fellowship, GSAS, and the conference or professional association. If you are eligible for the GSAS Professional Development Fund, please describe in your application how you plan to use that money. Information about the Professional Development Fund can be found here:

It is important to describe your research and its importance clearly; please avoid overly technical descriptions.

Conferences for academic or professional development (presenting or attending), internships (unpaid and preferably NGOs), networking events (outside Boston), and special courses or skill development (not available at Harvard or MIT) are also considered.