Professional Development Award

2021-2022 Professional Development Award – Presented by

The Graduate School

Virtual professional development opportunities are eligible. For more information regarding travel impacted by COVID-19, please see:

Award Information: 

This program is intended to support graduate/professional students attend events or engage in activities that enhance their professional development. A qualified event includes but is not limited to a local, regional, national or international workshop, academic competition, convention, or association meeting in which the primary goal of event participants is to obtain or hone a skill set useful to their profession both creative and scholarly. Please read the Professional Development Funding Guidelines before applying. Professional development awards cannot be used to fund presentations at conferences. If you are presenting research at a conference, please apply for a Conference Award.

The maximum award amount is $500.00. All graduate and professional students are limited to no more than $500 worth of  COGS Professional Development Award funds during their MSU academic career. Especially during this time of remote engagement, events may cost less than $500. With that in mind, the committee has updated the guidelines to clarify that students may win a maximum of $500. And you may apply more than once if you have not used the full $500, but any funds will be limited to reaching the total $500 limit per student.   (NOTE: Funds are dispersed as a fellowship award from The Graduate School via the financial aid office to the student’s stu-info account. Only enrolled graduate/professional students can receive this award.)

To submit an online application, you will need:

  • Statement of Justification: In 500 words or less, please explain how you believe the skills, learning, or experience the event offers will be useful to you during your graduate degree or your career thereafter (access guidelines section 3 for more details). You should make technical details of this experience clear to a broad audience. Applicants should clearly identify and explain how their professional development activity honed or improved their skill(s) or developed their knowledge. Attending an event does not guarantee funding. If the event is administered by another institute of higher education, please explain how the event differs from similar events at Michigan State University.
  • Letter of recommendation: Please have your major professor or advisor write a letter (1) confirming your attendance at the event and (2) explaining how this experience will contribute to your academic career. If you professor wishes to submit the letter directly to our office, it can be emailed to  PLEASE NOTE: Letter of Recommendation is part of the application and must be submitted on or before the application deadline to be considered.

Applications are reviewed at Finance Committee meetings and awarded by approval at full council. Number of awards approved depends on  available funds for the current semester award budget. Finance Committee may adjust deadlines in future semesters and/or apply lottery for selection (per funding guidelines) if applications exceed available funding.


Applications are due by 5pm on the stated due date.  Please note: We are unable to consider late applications.

COGS FUNDS ARE LIMITED, SO APPLICANTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY BY THE EARLIEST POSTED DEADLINE FOR THE SEMESTER THEY ARE ATTENDING THEIR EVENT.  ONLY IF funds remain after the first review period, will applications will be reviewed for the 2nd posted deadline for that semester. Once no more funds remain for a given semester, then no further applications for events taking place for that semester will be considered. (You may apply early for the next semester’s event, but your application won’t be reviewed until the posted review period for that semester.)  Website will be updated as to the availability of funds after each initial review period.  Funds are dispersed via financial aid to stu-info account soon after awardees are notified and during the semester for which the event occurs.

Fall 2021  (Events from July 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021)  – First deadline is October 1, 2021. Notifications of awards and remaining funds will be sent & posted after the Oct. 20th full council meeting.  IF funds remain, future rolling deadlines are: 10.29.21 and 11.26.21 (with notifications/posts after subsequent council meetings on November 17 & December 8.). ** *Funding for fall semester events is closed. See deadlines for spring semester events.

Spring 2022 (Events from January 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022) – First deadline is January 7, 2022.  Award Notifications will go out after January 19th council meeting.

FINAL DEADLINE: March 31, 2022. Notifications will go out to applicants after  April 20th council meeting.

ALL AWARD NOTIFICATIONS will be sent following full council meetings. Check for dates here:

Updates on fund availability will be posted after each full council meeting.

NOTE: Do not apply for events that take place AFTER June 30, 2022 until the FY 22-23 Applications are posted, sometime after July 1, 2022.

Please contact the office (517) 353-9189 if you have any questions.