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Interdisciplinary Conference Travel Grants for Mellon-Affiliated Students

Students actively affiliated with the Mellon clusters in the Humanities and Qualitative Social Sciences are eligible for travel support to attend conferences and/or seminars and make presentations on behalf of Northwestern University. This is intended to support the presentation of research at conferences not specifically in the student’s home discipline but rather allied to the interdisciplinary range of a Mellon cluster. This is not intended to support attending courses at other schools, research, or general educational travel.

All travelers must adhere to the University's travel guidelines.


  • Students must apply prior to the first date of the virtual conference or conference travel, but no more than 3 months in advance. Under no circumstances will approval be granted if the application is submitted late.
  • Funds for travel in the 22/23 academic year (fiscal year 2023) are available for use until August 31, 2023. Funds awarded in the current fiscal year do not carry forward (are not available for use) in the next fiscal year (after August 31, 2023). 
    • Funds for travel after September 1, 2023 cannot be awarded until the next fiscal year (after September 1, 2023). Students who are attending conferences in early September 2023 must still apply in advance, with the understanding that funds awarded for travel starting on or after September 1 cannot be accessed until the next fiscal year.
  • Under no circumstances will approval be given retroactively if an application is submitted after the conference has begun.


  • Students must be active (not discontinued, graduated, or on leave) in PhD or MFA programs administered by The Graduate School (TGS) and within their degree time limitation at the time of the conference travel.
  • Students may utilize ICTG funds only while active PhD or MFA students in The Graduate School at Northwestern at the time of the conference. Should students graduate or otherwise depart the University prior to travel and/or expenditure of funds, funds will not be available.
  • The conference should be allied to the interdisciplinary range of a Mellon cluster. Applications must be endorsed by the Director of the Mellon cluster with which the applicant is affiliated.
  • Students are eligible to receive one award per fiscal year and two during their TGS career. (Note that this is in addition to the TGS Conference Travel Grant allotment)
  • Students traveling outside of the United States must adhere to all graduate student travel policiesFailure to do so could result in revocation of the conference travel grant.


  • The maximum award is $1,000.
  • Awards must be expended prior to the end of the fiscal year in which they are awarded. Expense reimbursement requests not properly submitted and approved by the end of the fiscal year (August 31) cannot be processed.
  • Conference travel grants may be used for virtual conference registration fees or expenses directly related to traveling to/from and participating in an in-person conference.  Eligible expenses include:
    • Conference registration fees
    • Airfare/airline fees at the most reasonable and economical rate: Travel for Northwestern purposes should be booked through a preferred provider.
    • Ground transportation: Taxi fares or ride shares (e.g. Uber, Lyft), including tips, are reimbursable where public transportation is not practical. Rail transportation is reimbursed if it does not exceed the cost of the least expensive airfare. Private automobile transportation is reimbursed per mile at a rate set by the University for trips up to 300 miles.
    • Meals: Travelers should use reasonably priced restaurants and dining rooms. Alcohol is never an allowable expense.
    • Commercial rental vehicles: Commercial rental vehicles (economy, compact or subcompact) should be used only when it is impossible to use other forms of ground transportation, and when car rental does not exceed the cost of the least expensive airfare.
    • Lodging: Travelers must book standard accommodations in reasonably priced, commercial class hotels, motels, and Airbnbs. Conference-site hotels will be reimbursed at the actual cost. To verify the conference site hotel rate, attach the conference literature to the expense report when requesting reimbursement.
    • Tolls and parking fees: Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed.
  • Ineligible ICTG expenses include (but are not limited to):
    • First class, business class, or economy plus airfare
    • Airline, hotel room, or car upgrades
    • Alcohol
    • Books, magazines, newspapers
    • Childcare, babysitting, house sitting, pet-sitting (see the Dependent Care Professional Development Grant for information on funds for dependent care during conference travel)
    • Clothing, gifts, luggage, haircuts, laundry, dry cleaning
    • Passports, vaccinations, visas
    • Personal entertainment (in-flight movies, headsets, social activities)
    • Meals during local (Chicago/Evanston area) conferences
    • Other expenses not directly related to traveling to/from and participating in the conference

The Graduate School reviews all expense reimbursement requests and may deny requests if they do not comply with ICTG use guidelines or The Graduate School’s current expense guidelines.

Application Instructions

Students must submit an Interdisciplinary Conference Travel Grant application by the deadline.


For more information, please email: