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Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant

The Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant is designed to support Rackham graduate students who need assistance to carry out research that advances their progress toward their degree.

The grant is intended to defray costs of conducting clearly defined research projects including:

  • Research related expenses (for example, subject fees, access to specialized data sets, purchase of archival materials or images, laboratory supplies that will be consumed in the course of the project)
  • Temporary research assistants or transcribers (Note: Requests for this type of expense must include a compelling explanation of why the student cannot perform the work him or herself.)
  • Research-based travel not associated with a course (for example, off-campus data collection, access to libraries, archives, or historical sites)
  • Purchasing laboratory equipment, field work equipment, or specialized computer software (Note: This type of expense has some special limitations. Please note, the university owns and controls all equipment purchased with U-M funds unless otherwise stipulated by the funding source.)
  • Off-campus study of foreign languages needed for research. Proposals will be considered only if the instruction is not available on the U-M Ann Arbor campus. The relevance of the language studied to the student’s research must be explained in the proposal.
  • Off-campus study of specialized methodologies or techniques needed for research. Proposals will be considered only if instruction in the methodologies and/or techniques is not available on the U-M Ann Arbor campus. (Note: An explicit paragraph explaining the relevance of the methodologies and/or techniques to the student’s research must be included in the proposal.)
  • M.F.A. and D.M.A. students in Dance, Art and Design, and Music are eligible for this funding to support a performance or exhibition as required by their graduate program. The presentation or performance must be central to the student’s graduate studies and serve to satisfy the requirements of his or her degree.


Graduate students are eligible to apply for a Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant if:

  • The graduate student is in good academic standing in a Rackham degree granting program
  • The proposed research project or activity directly relates to and helps achieve progress towards his or her degree.

A master’s student is eligible for one Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant during his or her graduate program. A doctoral student is eligible for two Rackham Graduate Student Research Grants during his or her graduate program, one before candidacy and one as a candidate. Students who receive a master’s award will not be eligible for a Precandidate award.

Selection Criteria

Criteria for funding will include the clarity and coherence of the rationale for the project, the significance of the research question being addressed, the value of the project for the student’s graduate school and career goals, the qualifications of the student to carry out the proposed research, and the relevance and reasonableness of the budget request for the activities proposed.


Applications are accepted at any time and reviewed individually on a rolling basis by faculty reviewers. The processing time varies depending on the volume of applications and typically takes about eight weeks. Once approved, funds will be transferred to your graduate program.

Award Description

For students who qualify for need-based financial aid (including the child care subsidy), receipt of this Rackham award may reduce the original loan amount or subsidy. Please contact the U-M Office of Financial Aid for help evaluating your individual circumstances.

  • Master’s students are eligible for an award up to $1,500
  • Precandidates are eligible for an award up to $1,500
  • Candidates are eligible for an award up to $3,000

Application Procedures

Students must submit a research proposal, budget, and letter of support. The research proposal is limited to 1,500 words. Please be sure to include selected citations to relevant literature that will be helpful in understanding how your proposal fits into the scholarly literature. (Proposals from M.F.A. and D.M.A. students need not provide citations, except where they will be helpful in understanding the rationale for the proposal.)

The research budget should match the activities described in the proposal. It should explain in detail the costs associated with each of the activities. Note that research assistance or transcription of notes or recordings will not normally be allowed unless there is a compelling explanation as to why the student cannot accomplish the task. If the anticipated costs are greater than the amount requested, explain what other resources are already available to support the remaining expenses. If funding is being requested from multiple sources, list those sources. A budget template has been included in the itemized budget section in the online application for your use.

Applications are reviewed only after they have been submitted online. The student will receive an email notifying him or her of the award decision. If a grant is awarded, procedures for payment will be outlined in the email.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Personal emergency situations—see the Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Fund
  • Attending a conference when making a presentation (e.g., fees, travel costs)—see the Rackham Conference Travel Grant
  • Attending a conference without making a presentation (e.g., fees, travel costs)
  • Research unrelated to the graduate program, or conducted following the completion of degree requirements
  • Research that has already been completed, with research expenses incurred prior to the submission date
  • Travel or other research expenses associated with a course or a course related project taken for academic credit
  • University of Michigan tuition or fees
  • Normal living expenses such as rent, car repairs, child care, and utilities
  • Materials to prepare for program requirement or milestones (e.g., courses, orals, preliminary examinations, qualifying examinations, comprehensive examinations)
  • Books that are available through the University of Michigan library or inter-library loan
  • Computers, computer equipment, cameras, or camera equipment
  • Copying, binding, publication costs, or presentations associated with a thesis or dissertation

The dissertation chair, faculty advisor, or graduate chair listed on the application may submit their letter of support online at

Apply for the Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant