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Conference Travel Grant

In 2020/2021, the Conference Travel Grant (CTG) provides funds to assist PhD and MFA students attending virtual (remote) conferences on behalf of the University.

Temporary modifications for the 2021 fiscal year (September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021) due to COVID-19:   At this time, graduate student travel to attend conferences, seminars, meetings, or related events is not permitted.  The Conference Travel Grant may be used toward conference registration fees for virtual conference attendance. In the event that travel-related expenses will permitted later this fiscal year, this website will be updated.


  • Students must apply prior to the start date of the virtual conference, but no more than 3 months in advance of the start date. Under no circumstances will approval be granted if the application is initially submitted after the start date of the virtual conference.  
  • Funds for 2020/2021 (fiscal year 2021) are available between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021. 
  • Under no circumstances will approval be given retroactively if an application is submitted after the virtual conference has begun.


  • Students must be active (not discontinued, graduated, or on leave) and in good academic standing in PhD or MFA programs administered by The Graduate School (TGS) and within their degree time limitation.
    • Students may utilize CTG funds only while active PhD or MFA students in The Graduate School at Northwestern.  Should students graduate or otherwise depart the University prior to expenditure of funds, funds will not be available.
  • Students are eligible for a maximum of two grants each up to $600/$800 (depending on discipline, see below) over the entire course of their graduate career in The Graduate School.
  • Students must provide a copy of the invitation to present at or confirmation of registration for the virtual conference.
  • Funds will not be awarded retroactively.
  • Students who do not submit a Conference Travel Grant application prior to the start date of the virtual conference are not eligible for the award.


  • The maximum amount for each Conference Travel Grant is:
    • $600 for students in science, engineering, and math.  This includes programs in McCormick, Feinberg, WCAS Division I (Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Sciences, IBiS, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Statistics) and related interdisciplinary programs
    • $800 for students in social sciences and humanities
    • Note:  For the 2020/2021 academic year, students may request multiple awards totaling up to the aforementioned maximums in order to attend more than one virtual conference if all other eligibility criteria are met. Requests may not exceed those totals for the current academic/fiscal year.
  • Awards must be expended prior to the end of the fiscal year in which they are awarded. Expense reimbursement requests not submitted by the end of the fiscal year (August 31) cannot be approved.
  • Conference Travel Grants may be used for registration fees for virtual conferences.  Conference Travel Grants may not be used for any travel or travel-related expense, or for equipment or services (i.e., computers, computer peripherals, internet fees, etc.)
  • The Graduate School reviews all expense reimbursement requests and may deny requests if they do not comply with CTG use guidelines or The Graduate School’s current expense guidelines

Application instructions

Complete a CTG application using the online form.  Leave the travel expense related sections of the application form blank.

Review process

  1. Program Approval: Your program’s CTG contact will receive an email once you submit the online application form. Program approval indicates that the department has vetted the application and approves of your attending the virtual conference on behalf of the University.
  2. TGS Approval: Once your program has reviewed your application, it will be sent to TGS. A Conference Travel Grant will not be awarded unless the application is approved by both your program and TGS.


For more information, please email: