Student Research Support

Linguistics Department Student Research Fund | Campus Sources of Support | National Sources of Support

This page describes the Departmental funding application process, campus grant programs and national grant programs. In all cases, you must read eligibility requirements carefully before applying.

The Linguistics Department Student Research Fund


In 2007, the Department of Linguistics established the Student Research Fund to advance the professional development of its most promising students. The purpose of the fund is to support fieldwork, other data-collection efforts and the presentation of papers at linguistics scholarly conferences. Department faculty serve as the selection committee, and applications will be accepted only during the academic year (not during the summer). Any application involving travel must be made prior to the start of travel. Applicants should keep in mind that progress toward completion of the terminal degree will weigh heavily in award decisions.

Both data-collection and travel funding are now restricted to doctoral students, with one exception to be described in the following paragraph. The restriction is necessary because we must apply our limited funds to the most pressing need: funding dissertation research and conference travel for doctoral students, either while they are interviewing for academic positions or attempting to establish professional standing in the field. During their matriculation in the CU Linguistics doctoral program, doctoral students may apply for awards limited to either (a) one dissertation research award of up to $2000 and one conference award of up to $300 or (b) two conference awards of up to $500 each; these two $500 awards may be combined into one international conference award for $1000.

An exception to the aforementioned restriction may be made for MA students who are writing an MA thesis: such students may receive funds of up to $300 to support research leading to the MA thesis.

You must be a registered student in the graduate program in the Department of Linguistics at the time of application, and the research project or conference trip for which you are seeking funding must likewise occur during a semester in which you are registered. If the proposed activity will take place during the summer, you must be planning to register for the following fall semester. Graduating PhD students may request an exception to this deadline.

  • Deadline. Funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis during each academic year until the funding cap for that year has been reached. If fieldwork support is requested, application must be made at least one month before the proposed departure data.
  • Application Process. Fill out the Graduate Student Fund Application form. This form requires you to provide an itemized budget for the proposed project. It also requires a 1-2 page, double-spaced description of your project, stating the goal, the scope, the method and the expected results. You must also explain how the fieldwork or data-collection effort relates to your dissertation or thesis topic. Finally, you must indicate whether you have been awarded or applied for funds for this project from another funding source. If so, indicate how much money you have requested or received from that source. Submit the completed hard copy application to the department chair.
  • Report Requirement. Recipients of research funds are expected to submit a 1-page report to the Department chair describing research outcomes within three months after use of the funds.
  • Deadline. Funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis during each academic year until the funding cap for that year has been reached.
  • Application process. Fill out the Graduate Student Fund Application form. The form requires you to provide an itemized budget. It also requires a 1-2 page, double-spaced statement of purpose. In this statement, you must describe the conference, how participation will contribute to your professional development and the contents of your paper (stating the problem, your hypothesis and the paper’s contribution to the state of the art). Submit the completed hard copy application to the department chair.
  • Abstract. Attach the abstract of your paper.
  • Confirmation of acceptance. Attach a copy of the letter or email confirming inclusion of your paper in the conference program.

Students are urged to apply to other sources on campus for travel/research funds. Evidence that you have applied for or received matching funds from other sources strengthens your case for funding from the Linguistics department. Other funding sources include:

  • The Institute of Cognitive Science. The Institute provides funding for students enrolled in the ICS certificate or joint PhD programs to travel to explicitly interdisciplinary conferences or to conduct cognition research. Students in any member department may apply for funds, whether the student is presenting at or simply attending an interdisciplinary conference.
  • The Graduate School. The Graduate School offers partial funding for graduate students to present research findings at meetings or conferences outside Colorado. The Graduate School provides a travel grant of $300 for domestic conferences and $500 for international conferences. Funds are applied directly to your tuition account.
  • Dean’s Graduate Student Research Grant Awards. The Dean’s Graduate Student Research Grant Awards are competitive awards sponsored by the Graduate School that support the research, scholarship and creative work of graduate students from all departments. Grants range up to $10,000 per proposal. Funding is limited and the program generally makes just a small number of awards in the $5,000-10,000 range.
  • United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS). The UGGS Travel Grant, with deadlines at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, sponsors graduate students who are planning to attend an academic conference. Graduate students are only eligible to receive travel aid once in their tenure at CU.
  • Center for Humanities and Arts (CHA). The Eaton Graduate Student Travel grant is a competitive grant that awards ten graduate students in humanities and arts $500 to support travel to conferences where they will present a paper.  Deadlines are at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.
  • Beverly Sears Graduate Student Grant. The Beverly Sears Graduate Student Grants are competitive awards sponsored by the Graduate School that support the research, scholarship and creative work of graduate students from all departments at CU-Boulder. All funding is provided by private donations, and the grants range from $100 to $1,000 per proposal.
  • Humanities and Arts Dissertation Fellowships. The Center for Humanities and the Arts, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts & Sciences have unified the Dissertation Fellowship Award process for graduate students in Humanities and the Arts. There are five full-year dissertation awards — Devaney, Emerson, Lowe, Reynolds, and the CHA Dissertation Fellowship. These awards all carry the same benefits (50% GPTI stipend, tuition remission for five dissertation hours, fees, and medical insurance each semester). Any student who meets the qualification criteria may nominate him/herself.

National Sources of Support

A grant from a national foundation or agency is a prestigious accomplishment which will aid in your search for an academic position. Eligibility requirements and application guidelines are quite detailed, but this should not discourage you from applying; just follow directions carefully. Learning to write a grant applicant is important, even if the probability of success is relatively low. When you are forced to describe your research and its significance in a relatively short space, you will develop clearer ways to present yourself and your work. Keep in mind that all of these applications require letters of support from faculty mentors, so these must be arranged well before the application deadline.


  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants in Linguistics. The National Science Foundation's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES), National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), and the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA) award grants to doctoral students to improve the quality of dissertation research. These grants provide funds for items not normally available through the student's university. Additionally, these grants allow doctoral students to undertake significant data-gathering projects and to conduct field research in settings away from their campus that would not otherwise be possible.
  • The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Note that science includes social science, which includes linguistics.
  • The Documenting Endangered Languages Program (DEL). The DEL program, a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, awarded $3.7 million in 2013 for 28 projects to preserve and protect endangered languages. The program supports projects that contribute to data management and archiving. Funding can support fieldwork and other activities relevant to the digital recording, documenting, and archiving of endangered languages, including the preparation of lexicons, grammars, text samples, and databases. Funding isavailable in the form of one- to three-year project grants as well as fellowships for up to twelve months and doctoral dissertation research improvement grants for up to 24 months.
  • The Fulbright US Student Program. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistantships. A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.
  • The Endangered Language Fund. The Language Legacies grant program supports documentation and revitalization efforts throughout the world. It is open to community members and researchers from any country. An academic degree is not required, but the application must provide evidence that the applicant can achieve the stated goals. Grants are for one year and average around $2,500 (US).
  • The University of London's School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS) is the world's leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. SOAS offers external research grants for linguistic scholarship relevant to one of these areas through its Research Office.
  • Other funding opportunities for Linguistics graduate students. Consult this list for additional grant opportunities (scroll down to External Funding Sources), including fellowships administered by the Wenner-Gren foundation for anthropological research, the Acoustical Society of America and the William Orr Dingwall Foundation, which supports research by graduate students of Korean descent and those specializing in neurolinguistics.


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