Travel Funding Policy

The Department recognizes that presentations at scholarly conferences form an important aspect of graduate training. Given the financial burden that such travel can cause, we have developed the following policy to provide support for student travel to present papers or posters at conferences. Financial support is always dependent on availability of funding.

Before submitting an abstract, check with your supervisor as to whether the conference is in fact appropriate and whether they are able to fund you. When applying to Arts or CRBLM (see (1)), your supervisor must provide a supporting statement, so please request this from your supervisor at least one week in advance.

Students should apply for funding in the following order:

1.   Funds from outside the department

There are two funding sources within the university which students should always try first (if eligible):

a.   Arts Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel (GREAT) Awards:

Travel grants to support research travel and dissemination of research, such as conference presentations, field research, archival research, and collaborative research outside the University. See website for details: Two deadlines each year. Submit the form available PDF icon here to GPD-admissions/funding.

Round 1 deadline: September 10, for conferences taking place in the period September 1 - December 31

Round 2 deadline: January 10, for conferences taking place in the period January 1 - April 30 (Conferences after this period may be accepted exceptionally)

b.   Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM):

Travel grants to present at conferences for graduate students who are student members of CRBLM and whose supervisors are members of CRBLM. Four deadlines each year. See website for details: 

c.   Funding from conferences:

Some conferences are able to provide limited travel funding for students. If so, you should apply for it. Many conferences also provide crash space accommodation for students.

d. Graduate Mobility Award (Not for conference travels)

Awards to support graduate students to study and conduct research abroad, for research stay at a lab, conducting experiments, field work, or participation in a formal bilateral exchange/research partnership. See website for details: Submit the application form on the GPS website to GPD-admissions/funding. 

Round 1 deadline: October 10, for mobility activities in any period within the academic year.

Round 2 deadline: February 10, for mobility activities in any period within the academic year. 

2.   Funds from research grants in the department

Some professors in the department have research grants which can cover (or partially cover) student travel to present at conferences. See our webpage for a list of current grants:

Supervisors with adequate funding are expected to cover expenses that have not been covered by CRBLM or Arts, provided that they deem the conference appropriate. This may involve topping up of other travel grants, or full or partial funding for students who do not have other funding options.

3.   Department travel fund pool (open to graduate and undergraduate students)

A (limited) travel funding pool has been created by funded professors, as well as the 

Department. Students whose supervisors do not have funding can apply for these funds.  Students whose supervisors cannot provide full funding may apply for partial funding.

There will be 3 application deadlines for the departmental pool:[1]

October 15: for conferences in November, December, January, February

February 15: for conferences in March, April, May, June

June 15: for conferences in July, August, September, October

Students must submit their abstract to the GPD, as well as a budget, proof that they have applied to Arts and CRBLM, if eligible, and evidence that they do not have alternative sources of funding. A form is available for this purpose (see Appendix C); alternatively, students can use copies of the forms submitted to Arts/CRBLM.

Students will be informed within a week of the deadlines as to whether or not their application will be funded.

There will be a committee to assess applications, consisting of the GPD and one other faculty member (this person to rotate, if necessary, from competition to competition).

The following (unranked) criteria will be used to determine the eligibility and priority of requests:

  • Profile of the conference. (Faculty members will provide a list of conferences in our various subfields that they consider suitable for funding. Once-off workshops will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)
  • Quality of abstract.
  • Funding will only be awarded for papers which have not been previously presented.
  • Preference will be given to students who have not presented at a conference in the current academic year.
  • Preference will be given to students who have not made many conference presentations.
  • Evidence that students have ‘followed through’ on previous conference presentations, by publishing in the proceedings (if available) or elsewhere.
  • In cases of co-authorship, priority will normally be given to the principal author.

 Ideally, full funding will be awarded, i.e., sufficient to cover the least expensive airfare and accommodation, as well as conference registration and a per diem. In the event that only partial funding is available, students will be awarded a flat rate amount.

Depending on availability of funding, subsidy for eligible expenses for summer institutes may be possible. To be eligible for department-level funding, students must apply for a tuition waiver from the appropriate organization (e.g. LSA) and for other funding sources from McGill. Eligible expenses that may be covered or partially covered by the supervisor or department include travel and accommodation. Food expenses will not be covered.

[1] If you miss a deadline for a valid reason, contact the GPD.