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Early Career Professional Development Program

Graduate students in their first or second-year of graduate school, attending an in-person academic conference can apply to the Graduate School for up to $500 to cover registration, airfare, hotel, and ground transportation expenses. 

Early Career Professional Development Program (ECPDP) is designed to provide students the opportunity to attend an academic conference without any presentation requirements.  The opportunity gives networking opportunities that may lead to future research and employment opportunities. 

All applications must be submitted online through our Travel Awards Portal. 


Award Eligibility

  • Actively enrolled in a U Master’s, Ph.D., or Professional program. 
  • Within your first or second year of graduate school.

Your travel dates must be within your first or second year of graduate school. This includes your entire time at the U. E.g., if you are in your first year of your PhD program but you have already completed a Master’s program at the U. Then you would not be considered to be in your first or second year.

  • Have not already received this award or another grad school award within the fiscal year. 

This is a one-time award, meaning graduate students are only eligible to receive the ECPDP once during their graduate career. Students are not allowed to receive more than one travel award per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). This includes all Graduate School awards (GSTAA, ECPDP, & VCA). 

  • Approval from home department. 

Applications are not considered complete until the Graduate School has received approval from your department travel coordinator and approval from your department chair. After you submit your application, an automatic email will be sent to the department travel coordinator that we have in our system letting them know there is an application that is pending their approval. After your coordinator approves your application, an automatic email notification will be sent to your department chair letting them know there is an application that is pending their approval. You are welcome to work with your department to move this approval process along.  

If you have questions on department approvals, please reach out to

  • Receive dollar-for-dollar matching funds from your department or other university fund. 

This award requires a dollar-for-dollar match amount. Meaning, if you would like to receive the full $500, you will need another $500 either coming from your department or another university fund (PI, university mentor, ASUU, etc.). It is recommended that you confirm your match amount with your department’s travel coordinator before applying. If your department cannot provide the match amount, then it is your responsibility to secure funding from another university resource. If receiving matching funds from outside your department, be sure to communicate this with your department travel coordinator, as they will be the ones entering this information in your application. 

  • Have a travel number. 

The Travel Number will determine how the reimbursement is processed. It is either the Request ID found in Concur or ‘ePR’ if using the ePR system. If the student is a university employee, they will likely be using the Concur system. If they are a non-employee, they will likely be using the ePR system. The department travel coordinator will be the one entering this information in the application. 

  • Have all of the above submitted to the Graduate School prior to your travel date. 

Applications that are missing any of the necessary information will not be processed. If we do not receive the necessary information prior to the start travel date, the application will be canceled.  

**Funding from the graduate school is not guaranteed. Funds are very limited and are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis according to the month of your start travel date. If there are no funds available for the month of your travel, your application could be waitlisted. ** 


When You Apply

The ECPDP online application must include the following: 

  1. A completed online application including the certification of eligibility to receive funding as a U.S. citizen or a citizen of another country who is lawfully present in the U.S. certification is done on the application.
  2. Travel estimates for eligible expenses; done on the application. We will award half of the allowable expenses up to $500 not to exceed the match amount. E.g. if your total estimated expenses is $1000 or more and your match amount is $500 or more, then we can award for the full $500. If your total estimated expenses is less than $1000, we will round up to the nearest hundred and award half of that not to exceed the match amount. E.g. if your total estimated expenses is $650, we can award no more than $350. 
  3. A single-page statement about the value of the conference to your professional development as well as to the mission of your department or research lab; type or copy and paste to the application.


Using Your Award

The ECPDP is processed as a reimbursement through a student’s home department after the student has returned from their trip. It is expected that the department travel coordinator will communicate between the student and the Graduate School. 

If the student is a university employee, the trip will need to be registered in Concur. If the student is not a university employee, the reimbursement can be processed through the ePayment Request (ePR) system.  

The Graduate School will not reimburse the student directly. 

Forfeiture of Award: Funds awarded may only be used to pay for half of the allowable expenses up to the awarded amount not to exceed the match amount. The Graduate School has the right to rescind the award if the graduate student cancels, does not attend, or fails to meet ECPDP qualifications. Refer to the award letter for the terms of the award. 

Please note that any awards not claimed (submitted for reimbursement) within 60 days of travel will be forfeited. 


ECPDP funding can reimburse: 

  • airfare/car mileage 
  • ground transportation fares 
  • lodging 
  • abstract fees 
  • conference registration fees 

ECPDP does not reimburse: 

  • meals 
  • per diem 
  • society memberships/membership fees 
  • poster preparation fees 
  • training programs 
  • mini-courses 
  • travel audit fees (expense report fee in Concur) 

Travel Awards Web Portal

Once you have applied, you can follow the progress of your current and future applications at any time on the Portal.

Travel Portal Login

Questions? Contact Sabrina Smith at | (801) 581-7642

Last Updated: 11/7/23