Professional Development Exploration Grant


The Professional Development Exploration (PDE) Grant is designed to support MIT graduate students from all schools and departments in their pursuit of local professional development opportunities outside their area of study or research. Specifically, this fund is allocated to cover registration fees that are not currently funded by the student’s advisor or other funding sources. Registration would be covered, up to the $200 cap, for professional development activities including but not limited to seminars, workshops, conferences, and meetings.

NOTE: Travel, food, and lodging are not reimbursable from the PDE grant. You may apply to attend an event outside the Boston area, but the GSC will only reimburse for registration expenses. To apply for the GSC travel grant, which has a higher cap and reimburses travel and lodging expenses, click here. Also note that the travel grant is for conferences at which you will present your own research, so it is much less of an opportunity to explore new opportunities than the PDE grant.

Before applying to the PDE Fund, check your eligibility and apply for other programs, such as:


The Professional Development Exploration Grant was established with the following guidelines:

  • Grants cover registration for a professional development event, whether for training, education, or networking, outside the student’s area of research or study.
  • A short writeup (<300 words) will be required for students after the event to demonstrate to the GSC how the event was important to the recipient’s professional development.
  • Up to one grant will be awarded per graduate student per academic year, with a cap of $200.
  • Recipients must agree to serve as graders for future rounds of applications for which they do not apply.

If you are a recipient of a Professional Development Grant, you will be directed to contact the GSC Financial Administrator for reimbursement of your expenses. You will be required to submit original receipts and a copy of the conference proceedings.

We review proposals on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The extent to which this pursuit is outside the student’s area of research or study
  • The degree to which the activity will enhance the professional development of the MIT graduate student and/or expand his/her network (i.e. industry, academia, entrepreneurship, teaching, writing, etc).
  • The academic and professional merit of the candidate.
  • The extent to which the program is currently unfunded or unsupported by the applicant’s advisor, department, the larger Institute, or other sources of funding (e.g.

Cycle Deadlines

Professional Development grant proposals are evaluated in three cycles each year. Please apply to the correct cycle according to the dates of the event:

Grant Period Application Deadline Notification Event Period Covered
Fall October 1 October 15 November 1 – January 15
Winter December 1 December 15 January 1 – April 15
Spring March 1 March 15 April 1 – June 30
Summer June 1 June 15 July 1 – October 15

Apply now!

Reimbursement Process

Please file an RFP on Atlas ( to request reimbursement for your registration fee. Once the reimbursement is approved, you will receive funds in direct deposit* (if information is on file at HR/payroll).

*Not sure if you’ve set up direct deposit? See the travel grant page for detailed information!

Filing a Reimbursement Request (no travel, please!)

  1. Go to ATLAS (
  2. Under the left hand menu bar, select “My Reimbursements”, and click “Request a Reimbursement for Me.”
  3. Please name this RFP “Professional Development Grant”, followed by the semester, year, & your first and last name. (ex. Professional Development Grant Summer 2016 Jane Doe)
  4. Use the starting date of the conference as the “date of service.”
  5. Enter 420344 Seminar/Workshop/Conference for the G/L account.
  6. Enter 1735210 (GSC ARC Committee) for the Cost Object.
  7. Enter amount approved from application in the Amount field.  If you spent less than your approved amount, enter the amount actually spent.
  8. Under explanation, enter the name of the event, date and location.
  9. Please attach the receipt and/or appropriate support documents.
  10. Send request to Lauren McLean (
  11. Submit!


You’ve submitted your reimbursement online. Now what?

Submit a hardcopy of your event report & the original, detailed receipt to Lauren McLean (, at 50-220.

Want to know the status of your reimbursement? Set up email notifications on ATLAS (A) or check directly (B). Instructions for both options are below.

(A) Email Notification Set-up

  1. Go to ATLAS homepage (
  2. Click on upper tab “ABOUT ME”
  3. Under “My Profile”, click “Settings & Authorizations”
  4. Select your preferences under “Email Notification Settings”

(B) Directly Checking Reimbursement Status

  1. Go to ATLAS homepage (
  2. Under Menu, go to “My Reimbursements”, and click “Track My Reimbursements”
  3. Under “Details” tab, click “Comments”. Lauren leaves notes here if there are any issues regarding your reimbursement.


Questions? Please contact Meicen Sun and Sridipta Ghatak at

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