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Travel and Research Grants

Visual Studies Grants

A call for applications for our Visual Studies grants goes out twice a year (fall and winter), a few weeks before the deadline.

List of eligible expenses for student grant applications:

  • Research (including travel, attendance of relevant conferences, library study, purchase of essential books or necessary equipment such as laptop or camera, etc.)
  • Language study (lessons or intensive immersion programs for languages not taught at UCSC, or requiring additional training)
  • Professional development (attending workshops, summer courses, seminars, etc.)
  • Summer support up to 5k (allowing students to focus on study for QEs, dissertation research, or writing)

Requests can be submitted before or after the expense is incurred, for the period comprising the current academic year and up until the following September. If you are applying for funds to cover an expense you have already paid for, you must have receipts. If you got only partial funding for your fall application to Visual Studies Grants, you can apply again with an updated budget (specifying previous support received).

Please note that priority will be given to expenses related to dissertation research.

If you travel to conferences to present a paper or have other dissemination-project expenses (e.g. publication or exhibition costs) you must apply to the Arts Dean's Fund for Excellence first (when available), which usually supports such projects. You may also apply to the Graduate Dean's Research Travel Grants for support on a number of eligible expenses. For more information on these resources, see below.

List of required materials for VS grant application:
1. Narrative project statement (up to 250 words). Describe your project and its relevance as appropriate (e.g. to your dissertation research; program requirements, such as language study or QE study; professional development; other research).

2. Detailed budget. Please indicate highest priorities and subtotal of highest priorities (mark all by *), and overall total amount requested. We may be able to fund only part of your total budget.

3. List of other relevant funding resources you have secured or are applying for in support of the same project (e.g. Dean’s Fund for Excellence*, Grad Student Association Grants* or a research fellowship provided by our program at the time of your admission for specific research needs, Cota-Robles summer stipend, external funding, etc.). If your project is eligible for the * resources but you did not receive their support, you must explain why (e.g. you are still waiting to hear from them). If you have already received Grad Student Association Grant this year or are planning to apply for it for a different project–specify what project that is). We rely on this information to plan a more efficient and equitable distribution of our funds.

4. Statement of financial need (up to 250 words), required if students want to be considered for FFF funds that will provide them more resources. Some suggestions about how to write such a statement are included here: In your statement, you could mention things like the following (as applicable): working extra jobs (in addition to TAships or other financial support our program provides); student loans; % of you monthly income that goes to rent; dependents (e.g. child or unemployed partner); recent unexpected expenses (e.g. health-related); lack of support from your family (you are entirely self-funded). Do not repeat in your statement of economic need information you have included in your narrative project statement.

5. Support letter by your advisor, addressing the importance of the proposed project for your progress. 

The Graduate Committee awards grants based on a number of criteria, including availability of funds, merit of applications (especially in connection to the students’ dissertation research projects) and number and size of requests submitted.

After being notified that you have received a grant, contact the graduate coordinator for details on how to obtain the funds.

Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence Grants

Arts Dean's Excellence grants come from the Arts Division and are awarded on an on-going basis to Arts graduate students to support the dissemination of their research projects and activities that the department and the Arts Dean consider significant in the promotion of excellence. The fund provides aid for students to participate in professional conferences, pay for image reproduction rights, or the costs associated with exhibitions, or those incurred in the acceptance of internships. On occasion, the Dean will consider requests for language study abroad when it is not practical to study the language in the U.S. The Excellence Fund typically does not support student requests in the initial stages of research or creative projects, unless it is to serve as a match for previously secured external funds (not from our department).

Please see their webpage for further information and the online application.

Graduate Dean's Research Travel Grants

This program provides funding for the following for travel for thesis-related research, conferences, workshops, and professional development. The total amount of funds available and the number of applications varies each quarter and each application period is treated as an independent award process. In one academic year, you may be awarded up to $500. 

Students receiving funding from another source (such as an advisor, department, or grant) may be offered an award that is less than the maximum. Please visit for further details on application instructions and deadlines. Late applications are not accepted.

Please ensure compliance with IRB (Institutional Research Board) and ORCA (Office of Research Compliance) regulations

Students whose research involves human subjects (e.g. conducting interviews) should review these web-pages for information regarding the need for approval by the Institutional Research Board (IRB):

Currently, the IRB states that "in order for a study to be considered human subjects research, the data obtained must be "about" the living individual. In some cases, a researcher may interact or intervene with a living individual, but the purpose is to obtain data about a topic other than the individual. These studies may not be considered human subjects research." It is essential to contact to describe the type of research you intend to conduct and verify whether you need to submit an IRB form. If you are planning to travel to potentially dangerous areas during your research, you should also discuss this with ORCA (Office of Research Compliance) so that they may advise you on any necessary steps. Please maintain a copy of ORCA’s reply to your inquiries for your records, as it might be required at a later time, to prove eligibility for further UCSC funding.