Graduate School Professional Development Awards (GSPDA)

GSPDA applications are now closed for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Applications will be reviewed again starting September 1, 2024.

The Graduate School Professional Development Awards (GSPDA) support academic and research training of graduate students. Awards are funded by the Notebaert Professional Development Fund, the Joseph F. Downes Memorial Fund, and the Zahm Research Travel Fund. Funding is available for expenses related to conference presentations, participation in workshops or seminars, research at other institutions, and other training activities in support of scholarly and professional development. Students in the College of Arts and Letters seeking dissertation research travel support or funding for artistic projects (MFA students) should apply for an ISLA Graduate Student Research Award (GSRA). 

Most GSPDA funding is not limited to the amount or number of awards per student. Engineering does limit their awards to one per student each fiscal year. You are also encouraged to apply to multiple sources, including other campus partners (GSG, ISLA, and the student's academic program).

  • Graduate students who travel abroad must register in advance with the Notre Dame International Travel Registry and attach the confirmation email to their Concur expense report in order to receive University reimbursement. Learn more.
  • NDI and University Health Services are helpful resources for safety and medical considerations.


  1. At the time of the proposed event/opportunity, applicant must be a full-time, degree-seeking graduate student registered, enrolled, and in good academic standing within the first 12 semesters (excluding summer). Keough MGA and professional Master's programs are ineligible.
  2. Check with your program admin before applying. A few programs have specific GSPDA eligibility rules (e.g. Chemistry, Engineering).
  3.  If you are a previous GSPDA recipient, a CV listing any/all of your professional development activities is required. Details below.
  4. GSPDA does not limit the number of submissions or amount awarded per applicant. Requests with cost-effective budgets will be prioritized, i.e. cost-sharing with other attendees as well as securing supplemental internal or external funding sources.
  5. NOTE: travel to events solely for the purpose of conference attendance, networking, job interviews, or service learning is ineligible.
  6. If funded, international students are subject to higher tax withholding from university award payments.
  7. The event must be a future opportunity and not have taken place by the time the application is reviewed (e.g. an August event date, reviewed for funding in September).

Required Materials

  1. Formal proposal, not to exceed 1,000 words. Guidelines are embedded in the application form.
  2. Budget documentation that references and justifies expected costs
  3. Conference, workshop, or host institution acceptance notification, including event dates and location
  4. A&L students: recommendation letters from your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies; Science and Engineering students: references not required
  5. Engineering students must confirm whether advisor is aware you are submitting a GSPDA application.
  6. Previous GSPDA recipients, attach a CV including a list of professional development activities and/or internal/external funding applications: past, present, or pending; whether successful or not; related or unrelated to the GSPDA opportunity you are currently pursuing.
  7. IRB approval documentation, if your research involves human subjects
  8. Notre Dame International Travel Registry required for travel abroad and travel reimbursement.
  9. The application is available via InsideND. Search Submittable.


Application Timeline

Students should plan and strategize opportunities with their advisor at least a year in advance in order to be timely about which events will provide the most benefit in their trajectory. The GSPDA funding application should be submitted at least three months prior to the event. Official conference presentation or workshop participant notification can be appended or confirmed once received. Note: spring semester requests are especially demanding on the remaining budget. Do not wait until March or April to apply for spring or summer funding.

Applications are due at 11:59 p.m. the last day of the month and are generally reviewed beginning the 1st of each month. NOTE: applications submitted in January are reviewed starting February 1. Those submitted in June, July, and August will be reviewed starting September 1. Decision letters will be sent mid-month. Prior to travel, awardees must email acceptance letters to the Graduate School Professional Development Team (

Funding prior to the event: expenses such as lodging deposit, conference fees, or course/workshop tuition may be pre-paid and/or reimbursed pre-travel with receipts. Most travel expenses are reimbursed post-event via a TravelND expense report.

Other Funding Sources

Graduate student professional development funding may be available from other sources.

Internal Funding Sources

Students are also encouraged to apply to other internal funding partners such as GSG, ISLA, Kellogg Institute, Nanovic Institute, your program, and more. View list.

External Funding Sources

Highly encouraged prior to submitting a GSPDA application: the Office of Grants and Fellowships offers one-on-one tailored consultations to help you prepare successful proposals to internal and major national and international funding opportunities. Please contact their office directly ( to schedule an appointment.