Funding Your Education

Internal Funding Opportunities

The Vanderbilt Graduate School is committed to supporting your education through a variety of internal funding opportunities through fellowships and appointments. From grants to awards and even funding from your selected professional school, we encourage all students to apply.

Internal Funding Opportunities
Section Contents

Travel and Research Grants

Research is a hallmark of the Vanderbilt Graduate School experience. As such, we support and encourage our students to present their research at major regional, national, and international conferences through the Graduate School Travel Grant to Present Research. This grant, funded by the Graduate Leadership Institute, provides up to $1000 in domestic or international travel support. Students are allowed to apply for one travel grant per budget year (July 1-June 30), a total of three travel grants during their tenure at Vanderbilt.

Applications are available on a rolling basis and must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of travel. For travel from July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024, see full grant instructions and eligibility requirements here.

  • Professional Development & Training Grants

    There are several other grants offered through the Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute.

  • Graduate Student Council Travel Grant

    The Graduate Student Council offers a travel grant up to $500 given to five students each semester. The travel awards are intended to aid students in covering travel expenses related to attending academic conferences, symposia, workshops, etc. Funds are only available to students who will be presenting personal research. To qualify, students must be active members of GSC. All travel funds must be approved by the GSC travel award committee prior to the conference.

  • Program and Department Specific Grants

    Many programs and departments are interested in financially assisting and encouraging their students to present their research. Check with your DGS or program contact to determine funding opportunities.

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Interdisciplinary Research Grants

At Vanderbilt, students are encouraged to work collaboratively to solve the world’s most pressing problems. To support this radical collaboration, the Graduate School offers two different interdisciplinary research grants that enable teams working across at least two disciplines to seed the collection of preliminary data, add substantively to a project or area in which the student is already engaged, and provide other information that can help develop a strong external outside grant proposal.

Lacy-Fischer Grants

These grants encourage first and second-year graduate student-led research collaborations among students and faculty. This incentive will provide grants of up to $2,500 to student research teams working across at least two disciplines.

View the 2023 grant recipients.

Vanderbilt Discovery Interdisciplinary Incentive (VDII)

The Vanderbilt Discovery Interdisciplinary Incentive is funded by the Office of the Provost as part of the Enhancements to Doctoral Education. This incentive will provide grants of up to $7,500 to graduate student research teams in their 3rd year and beyond working across at least two disciplines. 

Proposals are welcomed from any graduate student or research area in the curriculum (e.g., Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science/STEM). The proposal must involve applicants from at least two different disciplines and two different departments and may not include more than four named applicants. There may be one or two principal investigators on the project; the principal investigator(s) must be full-time doctoral student(s).

Both grants require students to meet the criteria below.

  • Factors Considered in the Selection Process
    • Scholarly merit, innovation, and substantive interdisciplinarity of the proposed research
    • Clearly stated need for collaboration and how well the team is suited to address the
      research question(s)
    • Potential impact of the proposed research initiative on the field
    • Potential to develop an externally funded research program
    • Productivity of the applicants and quality of the proposed research scholarship
  • Award Details
    • Use of funds must comply
      with Vanderbilt finance policies.
    • The Graduate School reserves the right to award less than the full sum requested by successful applicants based on the degree of need demonstrated by the proposal and
      budget.
    • Preference will be given to applicants for new projects/collaborations that have not been previously funded (or for which there is clear need for an extension of work already funded)
    • These grants are not a substitute for, nor a supplement to, graduate stipends, and they may not be used to fund credit-bearing coursework.
    • Funds may only be used as proposed in the application and cannot be applied
      retroactively.
    • Proposed research activities must be completed within one calendar year from the time funds are distributed.
    • Applicants MUST be prepared to move forward with the proposed work if awarded a grant.
  • Eligibility
    1. All Applicants must be in good standing with the university.
    2. Preference will be given to PhD candidates engaged in full-time dissertation research. However, all Ph.D. students in good academic standing are eligible to apply.
    3. Applicants must have authorization from their faculty advisor and their department’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).
    4. Applicants are allowed no more than two grants per academic year from the Graduate School (e.g., Graduate Leadership Institute [GLI]  Dissertation Enhancement Grants, Research and Travel Grants).
    5. Applicants whose proposals address research that is inclusive (e.g., attention to race-ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic  disadvantage, or other factors that can broaden our knowledge in a particular area) will be given priority.
  • Application Materials

    Applications for both VDII and Lacy-Fischer grants are available once each academic year and are not currently open.

    • 3-5 page research proposal that states the research question, interdisciplinary nature of the research, and outlines how the funding will (1) seed the collection and/or analysis of preliminary data, (2) add substantively to a project or area in which the student is already engaged, and (3) provide other information that can help develop a strong external outside grant proposal.
    • A line-item budget notating the total requested amount of funding (up to $7,500 for DVII and $2,500 for Lacy Fischer) with details as to how and when funds will be utilized.
    • Abbreviated curriculum vitae for each name applicant on the project (3-page maximum each).
    • One letter of support from principal applicant’s advisor/mentor/PI or Director of Graduate Studies (1-page maximum).

I am honored to support your research, scholarship, and professional development in a place that actively seeks opportunities to continuously improve the experience and outcomes of all students.

André Christie-Mizell C. André Christie-Mizell
Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Other Funding Resources

Please see this list of funding opportunities as well as the items below.

Curb Center Funding Opportunities

The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt has awarded grants to support Vanderbilt undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty and staff as they engage in arts-based inquiry and action to build a better Vanderbilt. Graduate students are eligible to submit proposals that will award funding to projects seeking to place creativity at the center of campus and community life.

Digital Humanities Awards 

The Center for Digital Humanities at Vanderbilt aims to create a flourishing environment for innovative exploration at the intersection of digital technology and humanities research by providing learning experiences, project support, and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

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School-based Funding

Many programs and departments are interested in financially assisting and encouraging their students to present their research. Check with your program contact or director of graduate studies to determine if there is funding available from your department. Examples of schools that offer internal funding opportunities are:

College of Arts & Science

The College of Arts and Science graduate students have access to several funding opportunities from sources both within and outside Vanderbilt. Each grant has its own eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Peabody College

The Peabody Research Office sends announcements of internal, external, and federal funding opportunities that may be of relevance to the Peabody community and its graduate students.