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Research and Conference Travel Fund Information

The Graduate School

The Graduate School (TGS) sponsors a number of internal grants for students at all stages of their graduate experience:

TGS strongly encourages students to apply for external grants as well. 

Information on external awards and the services available to students interested in applying for outside funds should visit the external fellowships page. Those applying for fellowships should also review the Regulations for All Recipients of University Assistance.

Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies

Graduate Student Conference Travel Award (Buffet):  funds Northwestern PhD students working on international and comparative topics relevant to important contemporary political, economic, and/or social issues. The maximum award is $400, and students are limited to one conference travel award per academic year.  Applications are reveiwed on a rolling basis. Funds are limited, so early application is strongly encouraged. Applicants are typically notified within two weeks of submission.

Graduate Student Dissertation Research Awards (Buffet): provide funding for fieldwork outside the United States for Northwestern doctoral students writing dissertations on comparative and international topics relevant to important contemporary political, economic, and social issues. The maximum award is $5000.  
All Northwestern University PhD students at any stage in their dissertation research are eligible to apply. Applications from students conducting exploratory thesis research are particularly encouraged. These awards may not be used for language study programs, expenses in the United States, special equipment such as tape recorders, or fees for transcription or translation. Awards are normally granted for work during the summer, but exceptions can be made if warranted.

All applicants are expected to concurrently seek research support from other sources. Applicants who have previously received a Graduate Student Dissertation Research Award must also demonstrate that they have applied for funding from a source outside of Northwestern.

Applicants' proposals must contain a concise description of the research and an itemized budget (see online application form for all requirements).

Graduate students must submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member (sent to Buffett Institute, 1902 Sheridan Road or emailed by the recommender to Jeff Cernucan at Additionally, graduate students must be Affiliates of the Buffett Institute.
Award information: The number and distribution of funded projects will be determined by the number of proposals received and the funding requested by applicants. All awards will be made as scholarship awards and will be paid out through the University's payroll system.

Selection process and notification: Awards will be decided by a committee organized by the Buffett Institute. Award notification is expected 4-6 weeks after each deadline.

Deadlines: February 15 (primary deadline) and October 14 (a limited number of awards will be reserved for this deadline).

Questions should be directed to to Brian Hanson (
Online application form.

The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities - Franke Graduate Fellowship (Kaplan)

In partnership with The Graduate School, the Kaplan Institute offers Franke Graduate Fellowships for the most accomplished fourth- and fifth-year doctoral students pursuing an independent humanities research project in any Northwestern school or program. Franke Graduate Fellows pursue their independent research within a vibrant interdisciplinary collective, which includes multilayered structured conversations among faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, internationally renowned visiting scholars, and distinguished visiting artists.  

For the full academic year, Franke Graduate Fellows participate in Institute activities, including weekly lunch seminars, a dissertation working group, and the annual Future Directions Forum where they present their projects to Institute members. For fall and winter terms, Franke Graduate Fellows are granted time to cultivate their dissertation research. They also receive interdisciplinary pedagogical mentoring about how to shape a dynamic course for undergraduates. In spring quarter, each Fellow offers—in their home department—the course that they have developed during their residency.   

Franke Graduate Fellowships include two quarters of full paid tuition, a monthly stipend, and $2,000 in research funds. Recipients of the fellowship have the possibility to extend their funding package (the option to "bank" their TGS funding for two quarters to be used in their sixth year).

To apply for a Franke Graduate Fellowship, please visit our Graduate Application Instructions page for details.