Professional Development Award

2023-2024 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: 

COGS thanks The Graduate School for their generous funding of this award.

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 opportunities, 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 student account. Only enrolled graduate/professional students can receive this award.) These awards may not be used for tuition based programs such as study abroad.  Please be sure to check all financial aid options through those programs.

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.

After each stated deadline, applications are reviewed at Finance Committee meetings and awarded by approval by vote at full council. Number of awards approved depends on  available funds for the current semester award budget. Once applications pass the initial review process, Finance Committee may apply randomized lottery for selection of final awardees if eligible 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 CONFERENCE.  ONLY IF funds remain after the first review period, will applications  be reviewed for subsequent posted deadline(s) for that semester. Once no more funds remain for a given semester, then no further applications for conferences taking place for that semester will be considered. (You may apply early for the next semester’s conference, 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.

Fall 2023  (Events from July 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023)  – First deadline is September 28, 2023. Notifications of awards will be sent after the October 18th full council meeting. Depending on funds available, the FINAL FALL SEMESTER  deadline is: November 22, 2023. Notifications will go out to applicants after December 6th full council meeting. *FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE for FINAL DEADLINE OF 11/22.  Please note that a blind lottery may be needed if more eligible applications are received than can be covered by the remaining funds. 

Spring 2024 (Events from January 1, 2024 through June 30, 2024) – First deadline is February 1, 2024. Notifications will go out to applicants after Feb. 21st full council meeting.

FINAL DEADLINE (depending on available funds): March 28, 2024*. Notifications would then go out to applicants after  April 17th full council meeting.

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

NOTE: Do not apply for events that take place AFTER June 30, 2024 until the FY 24-25 Applications are posted, sometime after July 1, 2024.

*Number of awards approved depends on  available funds for the current semester award budget. Once applications pass the initial review process, Finance Committee may apply randomized lottery for selection of final awardees, if eligible applications exceed available funds.

Please check with your department, and The Graduate School if you need additional funding sources for attending a conference:

Please call the COGS office with any questions: (517) 353-9189 or email: