Graduate Research Grant


The third week of each Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters:

  • Monday, October 7, 2013
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2014
  • Monday, April 14, 2014

Awards are announced at the end of the quarter with funds intended to support projects that begin in the quarter following the application deadline. (For example, applicants submitting for the October deadline should plan to have access to funds, if awarded, no sooner than the beginning of the Winter quarter.)


The Graduate Research Grant (GRG) is intended to help PhD and MFA students in historically underfunded disciplines meet expenses related to scholarly research and creative endeavors. GRG applications are reviewed based on:

  • Significance of the research project or aesthetic exploration to thought and knowledge in the applicant’s field. The innovation and impact of the proposed work must be clearly communicated.
  • Clarity and quality of the project proposal. The research project must be clearly articulated, including the methodology, potential outcomes, interpretation and alternative approaches.
  • Extent of research or creative work already completed and the likelihood that the applicant will complete the proposed project in a timely fashion
  • Quality and breadth of the applicant’s preparation and the potential or demonstrated productivity of the applicant

The maximum award amount for a student over the course of his or her graduate career at Northwestern is $3,000. Awards are for a twelve-month period (beginning from the date funds are awarded) and require that a final report is submitted at the end of the award period. Recipients of grants are determined at the quarterly meetings of the University Research Grant Committee (URGC). Decisions are based on the committee’s final evaluations and the availability of funds.


PhD and MFA students in the following schools/disciplines: Divisions II and III (social sciences and humanities) of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; School of Education and Social Policy; School of Communication (humanities and social science projects); School of Music; Clinical Psychology (social science projects).

At the time of application PhD students must have completed at least 3 quarters of full-time full tuition registration; MFA students must have completed at least 1 quarter of full-time registration.

Students who have exceeded the time limitation for their degree are NOT eligible.

A student may receive only one grant equivalent to $3,000 (or multiple grants whose cumulative total may not exceed $3,000) under this program during his or her graduate career at Northwestern. Applicants who have applied before and have not received an award may apply again.

Awards will not be granted for retroactive payments.


Please note that grantees are responsible for obtaining all regulatory approvals. The Graduate School does not check compliance and funding does not imply any approval of research practices (such as those involving human subjects or animal care and use).

The materials described below must be collected into a single pdf file and submitted by the person designated to be the TGS nominator for the department/program via the online Fellowships submission tool.

Cover sheet that lists the following information:

  • Student Name
  • Student (EMPL) ID number
  • Program of study
  • Degree sought
  • NU Email address
  • Amount requested: ($3,000 maximum)
  • Research/project title or topic
  • List any outside funding that has been requested or granted and the source(s)
  • Advisor name
  • Have you applied for a GRG before? (If this is a revised resubmission, please indicate so)
  • Have you been awarded a GRG before? 

A description of the research project, not to exceed five double-spaced pages.

  • The description should present the conception, definition and organization of the work and plan of study. Include information about sources used, the thesis, and the interpretive stance of the research.
  • If the grant is for work on the dissertation, include a chapter outline and a summation of progress to date, such as research already completed or chapters already drafted.
  • The description of the proposed study should be written in plain language, free of jargon. Committee members who may not have specialized knowledge of an applicant’s area of study.
  • Endnotes, references, or pictures do not count toward the 5-page limit, but may not exceed a two additional pages.

Itemized budget listing estimated expenses and total amount requested. The itemized budget should not be used to circumvent the research description page limitation. Allowable costs include:

  • Essential travel. Travel must be for well-defined research, creative and/or field work, using the least expensive mode of transportation and accommodation. Airfares must be for economy class travel; per diem and lodging should be listed separately.
  • Acquisition of research materials unavailable locally or via microfilms, photographs, photocopies, etc.
  • Payment for services. On rare occasions, funds may be approved to reimburse subjects from outside the University for tests and experiments or to pay technical or clerical aides if their services are essential to the research project.
  • Artistic supplies beyond what would be considered normal and customary in the field.
  • Construction, rental or purchase of special equipment not available on campus. The possibility of renting or leasing, rather than purchasing, such items as audiovisual and photographic equipment should be explored. All merchandise purchased with University funds is the property of the University.

Non-allowable Costs:

  • Tuition fees
  • Costs of preparing the dissertation
  • Travel to professional meetings, including symposia, conferences, colloquia, summer institutes, and seminars
  • Travel to consult with members of the dissertation committee
  • Retroactive charges for expenditures incurred or committed prior to review and approval of the application

A statement of previous or current support from the University or other sources, not to exceed one double-spaced page. If other support is currently available, explain why it may not be used for your proposed project and why additional support is being requested

Curriculum vitae

Unofficial Northwestern transcript

Letter of recommendation from advisor*

Applicants resubmitting an application that was denied in a previous cycle should include the following:

  • Indicate at the top of your cover page that this is a resubmission and the original submission term (e.g., Resubmission of proposal originally submitted in spring 2013).
  • Include a point-by-point response to the reviewers’ comments. This can be up to one page and is not included in the project description page limitation.

Resubmitted proposals that do not conform to these requirements will be returned without review.

*All applicants from the School of Education and Social Policy must have approval from Dean Penelope Peterson in addition to advisor endorsement.

Kate Veraldi,