Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Research and Professional Development Fund


Professional Presentation sample
Research Projects sample

The Graduate School at Western Illinois University strongly values professional development and research as important components of graduate study. The Graduate Student Research and Professional Development Fund is designed to support student research projects and presentations, scholarly activities, and professional development opportunities.


Full and part-time degree-seeking graduate students are eligible to apply for funding. Up to $500 is available per student per award period.

A maximum of $8,000 will be available each academic year. A portion of those funds will be available for allocation for the Fall Semester (application deadline for: October 1) and the Spring/Summer Semesters (application deadline: February 15).


Graduate degree-seeking students enrolled in the current semester who have earned at least a 3.0 graduate G.P.A. and have completed at least 6 semester hours of WIU graduate course work are eligible to apply for funding.


Applications are available at the School of Graduate Studies website: Students should submit the application and supporting documents to the Department Chair in their academic program by the October 1 (Fall) or February 15 (Spring/Summer). Each department is allowed the submission of five applications per award period. It is the academic department's responsibility to determine the five to be submitted. The applications will be due in the Graduate School from the academic department on or before October 15 and March 1.


Each proposal should include the following:

1. Application
2. Descriptions should be clearly written for a multi-disciplinary group of reviewers although essential technical or scientific terms may be used
3. Research Projects:

• Concise description of research, not to exceed four double-spaced pages, including background information and project title, clearly stated objectives of research and methodology and significance to the discipline.

Professional Presentations:

• Concise description of research project to be presented, not to exceed four double-spaced pages, including background information and project title, and clearly stated objectives of research.

• Conference information and how it relates to professional goals

• Verification of acceptance to present

Other Scholarly Activities:

• Concise description of scholarly activity, not to exceed four double-spaced pages, including background information and project title, clearly stated objectives, and how it relates to professional goals.

4. Itemized budget and narrative for all requests

• Specific items and costs should be listed and clearly related to the description of the request. If approved, the award can only fund items on the application. Travel requests are subject to University policy at the time of travel.

• If total projected need exceeds $500, note if additional funds have been granted or anticipated from grants, department funds, personal funding, other award, etc.

Applicants should refer to the WIU Travel Guide ( when calculating travel costs (mileage, lodging, per diem, etc.).  Questions may be directed to the academic department secretary or the Business Office at (309) 298-1811.

Applications for funding will be evaluated based on completeness and quality of materials submitted.


Applications will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Graduate Council and the Director of Graduate Studies. Each application will be evaluated on the specific requirements as outlined on the application form. The selection committee will not consider letters of support as they are not required in the application process. Applicants will be notified in writing of the committee award decisions. A list of award recipients will be posted on the Graduate School website immediately following the selection process and all applicants will receive written notification following the selection process.


Fund awards will be made by the School of Graduate Studies through the Business Office at Western Illinois University. Payment will not be made directly to the student unless it is a reimbursement for expenses that have been approved by the Graduate School and appropriate documentation (i.e., a receipt) is provided by the student once the award has been granted. Proof of University approval for travel must be submitted with receipts for reimbursement. For unpaid invoices, proper documentation will be required before payment can be made. The University cannot reimburse for tax paid on purchases. All award monies must be used by August 31 following the award date or the remaining balance will be forfeited.

Any material items (i.e., computer software and hardware, books, etc.) purchased using this fund are considered the property of WIU and should be returned to the student's academic department upon completion of the research/scholarly activity.


All recipients of this award are required to submit a one to three page summary report at the conclusion of the research and/or professional development activity. The report is due within one month of the conclusion of the activity. Prior award recipients must submit the required summary report before future applications will be considered.


By submission of applications, students are granting permission for their application materials to be used as models to others, should their application be selected as such by the selection committee. This could include being posted on the WIU Graduate School website. Personal information will not be shared.