The University of Iowa

Graduate and Professional Students FAQs

What is a grant?

A grant is a form of funding that can be used for research, travel, creative, experimental, or innovative projects. Here in the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) we use the term grant loosely to include fellowships, scholarships, prizes, and awards.

When should I start looking for grants?

In your senior year of  undergraduate studies, you should apply for grant opportunities to fund your graduate education.  In your 1st year of graduate studies, you should familiarize your self with internal and external grant sources here at the University. In your 2nd and 3rd years, you should apply for pre-dissertation grant funding for travel, pilot study, research, etc. In your 4th year, you should apply for dissertation funding. It is important to map out your timeline for your academic requirements, and then plan what funding opportunities you will seek at each point in your graduate experience. 

Can I access the subscription funding databases from my home computer?

Yes. You simply enter your HawkID and password to get access to Community of Science (COS) and the Sponsored Programs Info Network (SPIN). These are comprehensive sites that gather funding information from all over the world and present it in easily searchable formats. SPIN and Community of Science (despite it name), include relevant sources across the disciplines, including Education, Law, Health and Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Business, Engineering, Area Studies, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences and more.

Are the services for graduate and professional students free?

Yes, they are paid for by a combination of funds from the Graduate College and the Division of Sponsored Programs.  Specific free services  include: training on the databases, help in interpreting grant guidelines, offering students individual grant writing consultations and critiques, reviewing application packets to ensure completeness prior to sending to the funding organization, free shipping and copying for proposals and helping with any other questions or problems that may arise in the process. Additionally, we can assist you with the University's UIRIS-based electronic routing form which is required for all external funding applications.

How long does it take to receive a grant?

External grants usually take longer to receive than internal sources of funding.  You should allow three to nine months from the time you submit your grant proposal/application packet to the time you receive funding. For many dissertation support opportunities, you must apply early in the academic year before the year for which you need the funding. 

Are there international studies and travel opportunities?

There are grants that fund research abroad and/or travel expenses.  Some grants, like the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, are specifically used for dissertation research abroad; however, other grants are not so specific.  Many grants offer money that can be used for research/ travel abroad but don't specify this use.  The ways you may use your funding are dependent upon the type of grant you are applying for. It is best to check the guidelines of the specific grant you are interested in.  More information regarding internal funding for international studies is available at the International Programs Office.

Can I use your services if I was nominated for an external grant through my department?

We can help any graduate/professional student who is applying for an external grant even if they have been nominated through their departments.

How do I get recognition for applying for a grant?

The first step is to create a UIRIS-based UI Routing Form for each external application. Then inform DSP once you know the results of your application regardless of outcome.  If successful, DSP can help you with any administrative details required by the funding organization. If you do not receive the grant, we can help you with reviewer comments and revisions for resubmission or for other competitions.