Professional Development Grants

The GSS is proud to provide a source of funding to graduate students presenting at conferences or engaging in field research. Graduate students taking part in these professional development activities may apply for a grant of $499. Grants are distributed by lottery to top-scoring applications coded according to an objective system established by the GSS Grants Allocation Committee.

PDG Application

  • Step 1 – Online Application Form
  • Step 2 – Email this paper form to OR drop it off in person at the GSS Office (MBC 2203)
    NOTE: Both steps must be completed for the application to be considered!

APPLICATIONS DUE by 4:00 PM for the following dates of travel:

  • March 1 2018 for travel occurring between April 1 2018 and July 31 2018
  • May 1 2018 for travel occurring between June 1 2018 and September 30 2018
  • July 3 2018 for travel occurring between August 1 2018 and November 30 2018
  • September 1 2017 for travel occurring between October 1 2017 and January 31 2018
  • November 1 2017 for travel occurring between December 1 2017 and March 31 2018
  • January 2 2018 for travel occurring between February 1 2018 and May 31 2018

Application Eligibility:

  • Conference presentations and field research are both eligible for this funding.
  • Practicum and courses are NOT eligible.
  • Students are eligible to receive no more than one (1) award during each Masters program and no more than two (2) awards during each PhD program.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled Simon Fraser University graduate students.

Notification of results usually occurs within one month of the deadline.

Please note that PDG recipients may be audited and required to produce receipts after conference/research travel has occurred.  

If you are conducting community-based research or working on social justice projects, please contact for more granting opportunities!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my shortfall is less than $499?
There are no partial awards. Since the grant is for $499, applications with a shortfall of less than $499 will not be considered.

How many grants are there?
Usually, 15 grants are allocated to each travel period. Any declined awards are reallocated to the next period or to a deadline with a greater than average number of applicants.

What are my chances of receiving a grant?
Grants are not guaranteed due to the high number of applicants and funding limitations. We usually receive 30-70 applications for each deadline, making the best odds 50% or less. If your first application is unsuccessful, you may reapply for the next deadline, as long as travel occurs within the eligible time period.

Can I apply late when I received acceptance to a conference after the deadline?  
No, late applications will not be accepted for any reason. You may apply for the next deadline, as long as travel occurs within the eligible time period.

Getting my supervisor’s signature is a challenge…can someone else sign instead?
Yes, signatures from another member of your supervisory committee, your Department Chair or your Department Graduate Chair are also acceptable.

What kind of documents and “proof” must I submit?
In all cases, you must provide receipts for all the expenses you list. If you have not yet finalized your expenses you may provide quotes from travel, accommodation or conference websites.

If you are presenting at a conference, you must provide ALL of the following:
(1) proof that you have registered (paid) to attend that conference (usually an online registration receipt);
(2) proof that your paper or poster has been accepted (usually a letter or email from the conference association advising that your paper/poster has been accepted for presentation, or an official conference program showing your name and paper/poster title); and
(3) the abstract that you submitted.

If you are conducting field research you must submit documentation that proves you are travelling for research purposes. This should include correspondence with a host organization (e.g., another university, lab or archive).

I have more questions…who should I contact?
Email if you have further questions not addressed on the website.