Research Funding

Once students have enrolled in the M.A. or Ph.D. program, the Department of Communication and the University of Washington can award, on a competitive basis, grants for travel, dissertation research, and related expenses. Yearly application deadlines are listed in the sidebar to the right.

Janice and William Ames Endowment

The Janice and William Ames Endowment provides department support for graduate student research. It was established by alumni to honor a longtime School of Communications professor (William Ames) and the Department of Communication’s Visiting Committee chair (Janice Ames). According to terms of the endowment, priority will be given to research focusing on difference/diversity.

Peter Clarke and Susan Evans Graduate Research Fund

Establishment of this Fund acknowledges that a broad range of scholarship about human communication is both informative and of great value. The Peter Clarke and Susan Evans Graduate Research Fund focuses its support more narrowly, however, on graduate student research that promises to yield societal benefits. The Fund encourages graduate student projects and research that in some way contributes to a quality-of-life improvement for people burdened by disadvantages, such as low income, or a condition that is stereotyped negatively. The Peter Clarke and Susan Evans Graduate Research Fund lays the foundation for continued funding of such research opportunities. Read more about the fund >>

Barbara Warnick Dissertation Proposal Award

The Barbara Warnick Research Endowment provides financial support for insightful, creative scholarly research by M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Communication.  This Endowment honors the research, teaching, mentoring, and service of former UW Professor Warnick, whose leadership in Communication Studies broadly, and in rhetorical scholarship especially, produced knowledge about public argument that has inspired many colleagues and students. As part of this endowment, the Department offers an annual Dissertation Proposal Award, open to all research themes, theory, and methods, in the amount of $3,000. The deadline for consideration each year is April 15. Click here for details.

General Funding Pool

There is also a general funding pool offered by the department, the Communication Graduate Student Research Fund, which supports graduate student research broadly, covering any topic and nearly every type of project, from exploratory endeavors to theses and dissertations. The Graduate Committee will consider funding research that leads to a publishable article, thesis, or dissertation, but will not consider funding research that terminates in a course assignment.

Other Resources

The Graduate School offers a limited number of fellowships to doctoral candidates, and the Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) offers a limited number of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to graduate and professional students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who meet designated requirements. In addition, the University of Washington’s Office of Student Financial Aid has a variety of need-based funding available to prospective and current students.

Another useful funding resource for current students seeking research support is the Grants and Funding Information Service at the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library. You can use their online resources, visit their office at the library, or attend one of their workshops or events.

The University of Washington also offers limited work study opportunities for some graduate students.

The University of Washington’s Office of Student Financial Aid has a variety of need-based funding available.

Graduate Student Travel Policy

Selection Criteria

The Department of Communication has access to some funds to support graduate student travel to scholarly conferences for the purpose of presenting papers. Graduate students interested in requesting financial assistance with their travel can submit a formal request to the Department for these funds. The Department chair and Graduate Studies Committee evaluate these requests to determine which may receive funding. In all cases, the following criteria are employed:

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Note that funding is primarily to help graduate students who are presenting research papers at leading communication academic conferences. Priority thus goes (in descending order) to (1) general communication academic conferences (e.g., International Communication Association, National Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication), for which $500 is provided for a student with a research paper; then (2) significant subject area conferences in communication (e.g., American Journalism Historians Association, Rhetoric Society of America, Association for Internet Researchers, Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, and the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research), for which $350 is provided for a student with a research paper; then (3) regional communication conferences (e.g., Western States Communication Association, Northwest Communication Association), for which $300 is provided for a student with a research paper; and finally (4) conferences that are not directly related to communication (e.g. Cultural Studies International; American Sociological Association; American Studies Association), for which $200 is provided for a student with a research paper.

“Recycled” papers (i.e., papers that already have been presented at a conference) are usually not allowed to be presented again and, in any case, will not be funded.

Our goal is to provide substantial funding for at least one leading academic conference a year for every graduate student who is the sole or lead author on a research paper. If you plan to attend several conferences during any one year, you will need to designate which conference is your top priority. If there are multiple authors for a paper, we can likely fund only one person for the conference, so you will need to decide who applies for funds. If you have received funding previously, we will want to know what you have done to move your earlier paper toward publication.

Due to limited resources, the Department inevitably needs to prioritize travel funding for students. Within the parameters noted above, we will provide travel funding for up to two years for M.A. students; up to four years for Ph.D. students; and up to five years for M.A. /Ph.D. students. Travel funding for students who exceed their expected time in the program will be considered only when students remain productive and when funds are available. A student can receive a maximum of $750 in travel funding annually from the Department per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).

Request Procedure

To request travel support, download and complete the Travel Request Form. Follow the procedures listed below.

  1. Gather the following materials to support your travel request: a copy of the full paper and the letter/email accepting your paper for presentation
  2. Download and complete the Travel Request Form. Fill out this form as completely as possible. Create a single PDF in the following order – request form, acceptance, paper – and email it to the Graduate Program Advisor at
  3. Once your request is sent, the Graduate Program Coordinator and/or the full Graduate Studies Committee will review the request and make a recommendation to the Chair of the Department, who makes all final decisions on travel
  4. Wait patiently for notification. A couple of weeks after submitting your travel request, you should hear from the Department Administrator as to whether your travel request has been approved and, if so, for how much

If approved, you will need to work closely with the Department Administrator and other staff to plan the best way to use your travel award. The Department usually cannot support airfare AND lodging, food, registration, etc., as these expenses can be substantial.

How to Request Reimbursement (after Receiving Award)

  • All travel must be pre-approved.
  • You always need your receipts.
  • Please check with administrative office staff before purchasing airline tickets to learn of your reimbursement options.
  • Stay in close contact with the office staff throughout the process.