Funding Opportunities to Support Graduate Studies, Research, and Conference Travel
SLA doctoral students are typically funded in the course of their studies through a combination of graduate assistantships (teaching assistantships in various language departments and project assistants in the Language Institute and other departments) and fellowships.
Students apply for teaching assistantships through departments in which languages are taught. Students are strongly encouraged to talk about possibilities for TA positions with their advisor and with the SLA director and program coordinator. TA and PA positions of at least 1/3 time (33.4%, based on a 40-hour work week) come with the remission of tuition and health benefits. Find out more about assistantships by visiting this Graduate School webpage. Students may also apply for hourly positions available through many departments, programs, and other units on campus. Student hourly positions do not include tuition remission.
SLA Program Funding
The SLA PhD Program offers several direct forms of support for its students including:
- Competitive Graduate School Fellowships that include a stipend, remission of tuition, and eligibility for health insurance
- Language Institute Project Assistantship (applications due April 2024 for 2024-25 academic year; form to be posted soon) that includes a stipend, remission of tuition, and eligibility for health insurance
- Summer SLA Research Positions intended to provide opportunities for SLA majors to work on research projects with SLA core faculty
- SLA Travel and Research Grants (application form to be posted soon) to defray the cost of participating in scholarly conferences and to conduct dissertation research
Other Sources of Funding
Students are encouraged to seek funding themselves to support their graduate studies, research, and conference travel. Expand the menu below in the following three areas to begin exploring funding opportunities that may be available to you.
1) Search Engines and Websites for Graduate Funding
2) Research Grants and Fellowships
3) Conference Travel Grants
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Search Engines and Websites for Graduate Funding
- UW Institute for Regional and International Studies-Funding for Students
- UW Grants Information Collection, UW-Madison Libraries and Funding For Graduate Students Collection
- UW Student Job Center
Research Grants and Fellowships
- SLA Program Graduate School Fellowships
- SLA Program Student Research and Travel Awards
- Graduate School Student Research Grants Competition
- Graduate School External Fellowship Database
- American Association for Applied Linguistics Best Dissertation Award
Description: AAAL invites nominations for the first annual AAAL Best Dissertation Award for 2016. Three finalists will be notified in November. At that time nominees will need to submit their completed dissertation. The Best Dissertation Award will be given at AAAL 2016.
Eligibility: Dissertations completed in the two years prior to this call (2013-present) are eligible for nomination. All dissertations must be successfully defended by the nomination deadline of June 1, 2015. To limit the number of submissions, institutions are restricted to two nominations in a single year.
- American Association of University Women-Dissertation Fellowship
Description: American Fellowships support women scholars who are completing dissertations, planning research leave from accredited institutions, or preparing research for publication.
Eligibility: Female U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the final year of writing their dissertation.
- American Association of University Women-International Fellowship
Description: International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate studies at accredited U.S. institutions are supported.
Eligibility: Female international students pursuing MA and PhD studies in the US, with the intent to return to their home country upon completion.
- American Council of Learned Sciences Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Description: Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing.
Eligibility: Doctoral students in a humanities or social sciences program in a US university, who are in the ABD stage of their studies.
Amount: Up to $38,000
- Boren Awards for International Study
Description: Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Eligibility: U.S. citizens enrolled in graduate degree programs.
Amount: Up to $24,000
- Education Testing Service (ETS) Small Grants for Doctoral Research
Description: Small cash awards to promising doctoral students working in the area of foreign or second language assessment that will help them finish their dissertations in a timely manner.
Eligibility: PhD students with an approved dissertation proposal specializing in second or foreign language assessment.
Amount: Up to $2,000
- Education Testing Service (ETS): TOEFL Young Students Research Program – Graduate Student Research Grants
Description: The Graduate Student Research Grants under the TOEFL® Young Students Series are designed to support foundational research that promotes high-quality language assessment related to young English learners between the ages of 8 and 15.
Eligibility: Graduate students with a focus on language testing or assessment, applied linguistics, or a related field.
- Education Testing Service (ETS): Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award
Description: To recognize doctoral dissertation research that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge about second or foreign language tests and testing and/or the use and development of such tests and testing.
Eligibility: Graduate students with a dissertation project they intend to present at LTRC.
Amount: $2,500 + travel accommodations to LTRC
- Ford Foundation Dissertation Grant
Description: The dissertation fellowships provide one year of support for individuals working to complete a dissertation leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship is intended to support the final year of writing and defense of the dissertation.The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.
Eligibility: PhD students who are citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the US, as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals Program.
Amount: Up to $25,000
- Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
Description: FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the UW’s National Resource Centers to assist students in acquiring foreign language and either area or international studies competencies. FLAS awards are only available for specific languages, and are contingent on federal funding.
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications by students in professional fields are encouraged. Preference will be given to applicants with a high level of academic ability and with previous language training.
- Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad
Description: This program provides grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students who conduct research in other countries, in modern foreign languages and area studies for periods of six to 12 months. Projects deepen research knowledge on and help the nation develop capability in areas of the world not generally included in U.S. curricula. Projects focusing on Western Europe are not supported.
Eligibility: Graduate students in doctoral programs in the fields of foreign languages and area studies must apply through the institutions in which they are enrolled. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.
- The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) – Doctoral Dissertation Grants
Description: Since 2002, TIRF has supported students completing their doctoral research on topics related to the foundation’s priorities.
Eligibility: Doctoral students who have been advanced to candidacy in their PhD studies.
Amount: Up to $5,000
- Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Doctoral Scholarships, and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships
Description: The SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships and Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Doctoral Scholarships aim to develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in undergraduate and graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities. Applicants apply for both awards by completing one application form.
Eligibility: For citizens or permanent residents of Canada who hold a previous degree from a Canadian university. Applicants must be pursuing their first PhD.
Amount: Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarships: $35,000 per year; SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships: $20,000 per year
- Language Learning Doctoral Dissertation Research Grants
Description: The Language Learning Dissertation Grant Program provides support for the research work of doctoral candidates in the language sciences. The grant is designed to cover actual expenses, up to $2,000 per grant, e.g., travel for data collection, essential equipment etc., connected with the research component of the dissertation.
Eligibility: Graduate students in doctoral programs applying to this grant must have the proposal approved by the university. Details of the grant application are found in the September issue of Language Learning. Application deadlines: July 1 and January 1.
- NFMLTA/MLJ Dissertation Support Grants
Description: Instituted in 2013 by the NFMLTA and the MLJ, this award helps support graduate students in the fields of applied linguistics and language education at the dissertation writing stage. These grants can provide resources at any stage of dissertation writing, e.g., data gathering, data transcription, data analysis, or write-up of the findings.
Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program at a US university (though they do not need to be American citizens), and must have completed all program requirements other than their dissertation.
- National Academy of Education Dissertation Fellowship Program
Description: The Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world.
Eligibility: Applicants need not be citizens of the United States; however, they must be candidates for the doctoral degree at a graduate school within the United States. They must be at the final analysis and writing stage of their dissertation.
- National Science Foundation Linguistics Program – Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards (Ling-DDRI)
Description: The Linguistics Program supports basic science in the domain of human language, encompassing investigations of the grammatical properties of individual human languages, and of natural language in general. Research areas include syntax, linguistic semantics and pragmatics, morphology, phonetics, and phonology. The program encourages projects that are interdisciplinary in methodological or theoretical perspective, and that address questions that cross disciplinary boundaries.
Eligibility: Graduate students in doctoral programs in good standing at U.S. institutions.
- The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Description: Every year, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports thirty New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants, who are pursuing graduate school in the United States. Each Fellowship supports up to two years of graduate study – in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program – in the United States.
Eligibility: Must be new Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants at the time of their selection. Fellows must be college seniors or early in their graduate programs.
Amount: Up to $45,000
- Social Sciences Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program
Description: The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) offers nine to twelve months of support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in PhD programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on non-US topics.
Eligibility: The program is open to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences—regardless of citizenship—enrolled in PhD programs in the United States.
- TESOL – Research Agenda Award
Description: The TESOL International Association Research Agenda seeks to promote spirited inquiry and systematic investigation that will contribute to the knowledge base of the TESOL field. As described in the agenda, TESOL research may focus on individual, community, or societal issues and should be responsive to current theoretical perspectives and ecological conditions driving change in language learning and teaching. TESOL research should be governed by ethical consideration for research participants and society as a whole and seek to inform and improve both policy and practice.
Eligibility: The lead applicant must be a current member of TESOL. Applicants currently working on or wishing to start on a research project that aligns with the TESOL Research Agenda. Preference will be given to collaborative research that involves any combination of classroom practitioner, administrator, and/or an outside researcher.
- TESOL – The Ruth Crymes TESOL Fellowship for Graduate Study
Description: To support current graduate students in the development of projects with direct application to ESOL language classroom instruction. The recipient of this award is expected to present the results of the project at a TESOL convention within 3 years of the date the award is received.
Eligibility: Must be TESOL member and enrolled in a TESOL or TEFL graduate program, working on a graduate study project on a topic relevant to TESOL or TEFL for an upcoming academic year or beyond.
Conference Travel Grants
- American Association for Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Award
Description: The Graduate Student Award is a merit-based award that supports attendance of AAAL graduate student members at the annual conference. The number of awards varies based on the availability of funds. Graduate students who are eligible to apply will be notified by the conference chair by early November and may submit their application once they have confirmed their intention to attend the conference.
Eligibility: MA and PhD students presenting at the annual AAAL conference. Acceptance is based on the quality of their proposal for a paper or poster presentation. Only available for single-authored submissions. Previous award recipients are not eligible to submit. If recipients are unable to attend the conference, they will not receive the award.
- International Language Testing Association (ILTA) – Student Travel Award
Description: the ILTA Student Travel Award is intended to support graduate students in attending and presenting at LTRC. Graduate students may apply for this award if their proposal to present at Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) has been accepted. The proposal should be for a research paper or symposium paper; applications for poster or work in progress proposals will not be considered. The student must be listed as an author, but need not be sole or first author. For co-authored papers, co-authors should be other students rather than supervisors, professors or other senior colleagues.
Eligibility: Graduate students enrolled in a degree bearing program at the time of submission attending and presenting at the annual LTRC conference. They are not receiving other financial support that covers a significant portion of the expenses to attend LTRC. They not study or live in the LTRC host site and have not won the ILTA Student Travel Award before.
- Midwest Association of Language Testers (MwALT) Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Language Assessment Research
Description: The award is to recognize research that has been carried out by a graduate student in a master’s or doctoral program. Students are encouraged to submit papers that investigate any area of language assessment that involve quantitative and/or qualitative analysis, such as data-driven empirical work or conceptual work (e.g., a literature review, meta analysis, etc.). Projects may address world languages, less-commonly-taught foreign languages, or English as a second or foreign language. The project may have been carried out in the context of a graduate-level course or may be from an original independent project conducted for academic credit (e.g., a course project, a qualifying research paper, a dissertation pilot study). The project must be in final form as a written paper at the time of submission. Research projects not eligible for this award are doctoral dissertations, projects directed by faculty, or papers co-authored with faculty.
Eligibility: Graduate students with a pre-dissertation project investigating any area of language assessment.
Amount: $500 with waiver of conference registration fee, plus certificate and assessment textbook awarded
- NFMLTA/MLJ Travel Support Grants for Foreign Language Professionals (Including Graduate Students)
Description: Instituted in 2017 by the NFMLTA and the MLJ, this grant is intended to help defray the costs of conference attendance by foreign language professionals.
- TESOL International Association –The Albert H. Marckwardt Travel Grant
Description: To assist graduate students traveling to the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. There are four awards available annually; two for those in Master’s programs and two for those in PhD programs.
Eligibility: TESOL members who are graduate students in TESL/TEFL programs worldwide.
Amount: $500 + conference registration fee waiver
- TESOL International Association –The TESOL Professional Development Scholarship
Description: To assist in the professional development of TESOL members by facilitating attendance at the annual convention. Recipients may also choose to attend a pre- or postconvention institute (PCI) in addition to the convention.
Eligibility: TESOL members in good standing.
Amount: TESOL will award scholarships for the waiver of (a) convention registration only or (b) convention registration and tuition for one PCI.