Graduate Research Funding

(Revised August 2023)

University-sponsored travel to take part in research or other activities directly relevant to degree progress is currently permitted both within the United States and internationally. Like all other policies related to COVID-19, these policies may change as the public health environment evolves and may not be updated on this website. Please confirm the most current Covid-19 policies here:

Per University Policy 852, university-sponsored international travel must be registered at

Please follow all instructions. Incomplete applications make our job harder and delays your award.

The Dean’s Conference, Research, and Professional Advancement Fund 

Purpose: The Dean’s Fund was created to provide opportunities for research, travel, and professionalization for students, especially in departments that have been historically underfunded in these areas.

Eligibility: All current PhD students in the School of Humanities who are in good standing and making good progress toward degree completion. The support of PhD students in their research and professionalization endeavors is priority. While it is unlikely that comparable support will be offered to MA students, MA students may submit funding requests which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Approved Use: Funds may be used for conference presentation travel, research travel, and travel to job interviews taking place at a conference. 

The Dean's Fund is also available to students experiencing difficulty with acquiring research materials related to their degree (e-books are allowed), online conference fees, and professional opportunities directly related to their research. The Dean's Fund does not provide funding for computers, headphones, e-readers, or other electronics or special software. Anyone purchasing these items with award money will no longer be eligible for the Dean's Fund.

Deadline: Applications are due by the last day of each month. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed until after the following due date. Early applications are strongly encouraged, as funding awards are not guaranteed until after review and approval. Please follow all instructions. Incomplete applications makes our job harder and delays your award. Note: Students awaiting a conference acceptance may still apply early. The anticipated conference acceptance date must be included in the proposal. 

Review and Approval Process: Submitted applications are reviewed by the Office of the Dean once a month,  beginning on the first business day of each month. Final decisions will be made by the Associate Dean, and decision letters will be sent to each applicant by the 10th business day of the month. 

Funding Amount: Students are eligible for up to $1,500 per fiscal year (July 1-June 30) after any available department funding has been exhausted. Students in departments where funding for conferences and research is available must first apply through their respective department, in accordance with its policies and timelines. Please be aware that these funds are subject to availability.

Award Disbursement: Students awarded funding will receive their award via direct deposit. Please make sure your direct deposit information is current in Esther and your address is current in iO.

Please note that awards above $600 in a calendar year are considered taxable income for US citizens. Rice does not withhold taxes from the award payment for US citizens. Important note for International students: taxes will be withheld from the award payment. 

Students will not be required to submit an expense report post-travel and do not need to provide receipts after the trip. Please keep in mind that travel funds are to be used for official Rice University business only, in accordance with Rice University travel policy 806 (

Summary Report: Within 30 days after travel end date, students who have received funding for travel must submit 1-2 paragraphs summarizing the impact of the award on their research or professional development. Students will upload their reports to the Summary Reports folder in Box:

Reports must be titled in the following format:

LAST NAME, Destination (or Conference Name), Month, Year.    For example: WESTBROOK, Asian Cultures Conf, Singapore, Aug 2019.

Failure to submit this report on time will render the student ineligible for subsequent funding. See your Graduate Administrator if you have trouble uploading to Box.

Receipts for Research Materials or Online Conference Fees: All students who receive funding from the Dean's Fund for research materials or online conference fees will be required to email an itemized receipt of your purchase(s) to Please combine all receipts into one file (PDF or JPG) and use the naming convention LastName_FirstName_Amount.


The Dean's Fund application is set up so that students can request funding for travel or non-travel expenses. Adobe Sign will guide you through the required fields based on your funding request type (travel, non-travel). You must submit a separate application for each funding request (you cannot request travel funding and research materials at the same time).

For Travel Requests:

Travel Proposal Summary
Please upload a proposal summary, 200 words or less, that includes:

  • explanation of how this travel funding will benefit your research or professional advancement
  • area of research and dissertation title (if applicable)
  • title of the conference paper and conference panel
  • conference or professional opportunity name and relevant URL

Student Budget
Student budgets must be as detailed as possible and can only include the following travel expenses:

  • conference registration/membership
  • airfare (including 1 checked bag) - coach class, no seat upgrades
  • ground transportation
  • lodging
  • $30 per diem for meals ($20 a day for flight days to/from location)
  • list of additional funding awarded or applied for in relation to your travel request

Budgets should not include the following: travel insurance, airline upgrades, data plans, clothing, electronics, WIFI and WIFI upgrades, and other incidentals.


Please use the BUDGET TEMPLATE (downloadable Excel spreadsheet) with your application for travel.

Advisor Letter of Support:
Upload an email or letter of support from your advisor. It can be a simple note acknowledging that they reviewed your proposal and budget and support this travel opportunity. Signatures are no longer required.


For Research Materials or Online Conference Fee Requests:

The amount must match your documentation.

Receipts and/or documentation:
Please upload a spreadsheet listing the title, author, cost for each book, and the seller (amazon, half-price, etc.) with a link to the requested book. Use this TEMPLATE (downloadable Excel spreadsheet) for all requests for research materials. 

Reason for requesting research materials or online conference costs:
Please provide a detailed explanation of how this funding will support your research; include your area of research and also your dissertation title (if applicable). 


Please follow all instructions. Incomplete applications makes our job harder and delays your award.