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.
Graduate students may also find the information on the following page helpful: Top Grants for Graduate School Students
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, specialized training programs offered outside CU (e.g., a summer school course in a particular research methodology), 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.
Doctoral students are eligible to receive data-collection, training or travel funding. During their time in the CU Linguistics doctoral program, students may make multiple requests for funding for eligible activities, subject to to a cap of $2500 for the student's doctoral career here. For example, a student can receive $2000 in funding for a fieldwork trip and a $500 funding award to attend a domestic conference at which they are presenting a paper. Funding for data collection or fieldwork (including funding for research travel) must be connected to the topic of the dissertation, so you may not apply for this type of funding until you are preparing your dissertation prospectus. Other restrictions apply: conference travel funding is only available to students who have been accepted for a talk or poster at the conference in question, and funding is subject to availability. After you have reached the $2500 cap, you may still apply for funding, but you will have to demonstrate in your application that you have exhausted other sources of support (e.g., Graduate School, GPSG, ICS) and/or applied for additional external support.
MA students who are writing an MA thesis may receive funds of up to $500 to support research leading to the MA thesis. Alternatively, MA students, whether or not they are writing a thesis, may receive up to $500 to present a paper or poster accepted by a conference one time during their MA career.
You must be a registered student in good standing in the graduate program in the Department of Linguistics at the time of application, and the research project, training program 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 restriction.
For Fieldwork, Training and Data-collection Support
- Deadline: Funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis during each academic year subject to availability of funds. If fieldwork support is requested, application must be made at least one month before the proposed departure date.
- Application Process: Submit the Graduate Student Fund Application form. You will fill out this form online. This form requires you to provide an itemized budget for the proposed project. You will also be required to attach 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, training program 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 effort from another funding source. If so, indicate how much money you have requested or received from that source. If your research funding request includes travel, you must wait until the awarded funds are deposited in your CU-designated bank account, and then pay for your airfare, etc. with those personal funds. You will not purchase your airfare or accommodations through Concur; however, you must request approval of any international trips through Concur. The Department cannot reimburse you for the cost of a flight or accommodations.
- 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.
For Presentation of a Paper at a Conference
- Deadline: Funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis during each academic year subject to availability of funds.
- 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). To purchase airfare or accommodations, you must wait until the awarded funds are deposited in your CU-designated bank account, and then pay for your airfare, etc. with those personal funds. You will not purchase your airfare or accommodations through Concur; however, you must request approval of any international trips through Concur. The Department cannot reimburse you for the cost of a flight or accommodations.
- Abstract: Paste the accepted abstract into the statement of purpose, clearly marked.
- Confirmation of acceptance: Paste the confirmation of acceptance into the statement of purpose, clearly marked.
Students are urged to apply to other sources on campus for travel/research funds, awards and fellowships. 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 a variety of awards, including travel grants, donor-funded grants and dissertation-completion fellowships.
- The Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG; formerly UGGS): GPSG offers a variety of grants and awards.
- Center for Humanities and Arts (CHA): CHA offers a variety of funding opportunities.
- 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.
- Center to Advance Research in the Social Sciences (CARTSS): The CARTSS Graduate Student Awards program provides a small amount of start-up funds for research activities for graduate students. Applicants have completed all course requirements, passed qualifying exams, and are at the proposal preparation or research stage. They are particularly interested in supporting pilot projects designed to increase the chances of securing external funding support as well as field research, data acquisition, travel, and other research costs essential to successful completion of research required for MA or PhD degrees. Grant requests may be for up to $1,000.00.
A grant from a foundation, research institution 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).
- CU Research Computing - ACCESS Project: As part of a recent NSF grant awarded to CU Research Computing to support the "Access" project, the new CSSN Community Engagement Program offers free conference travel support for all students, faculty and staff. This is a wonderful program for free travel funding to any conference of your choosing. We are very interested in a wide variety of disciplines contributing to our effort, so if you have any questions at all about how you might fit in or would like guidance on your submissions, please feel free to contact Alana Romanella at email@example.com for assistance.
- 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 residential fellowships for linguistic projects relevant to one of these areas.
- 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.