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Application Guidelines

Goal: To provide young scholars at the beginning of their careers with opportunities for professional exposure in scientific meetings, the WiSE Program will provide travel grants to USC Ph.D. students or postdoctoral fellows in science and engineering departments on the University Park Campus. Support will be approved in cases where either the participation by the candidate or the subject matter of the candidate’s talk or poster serves to increase the representation of women in science and engineering. The primary goal of the program is to benefit the student’s scholarly development through participation in a professional environment.


  • The applicant must be a full-time USC graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in a WiSE-eligible department in the Viterbi School of Engineering or USC Dornsife.
  • Undergraduate students in the same fields are eligible to apply provided they are a co-author on the abstract.
  • Ph.D. student and postdoctoral scholar applicants must be an author on the abstract and present either a talk or a poster at the proposed meeting. (For students/postdocs in the Department of Mathematics, please contact WiSE to discuss amended requirements.)
  • Applicants may only receive one WiSE Travel Grant per fiscal year.
  • The application must be submitted at least one month prior to the proposed travel. No retroactive reimbursements will be authorized.
  • WiSE will provide the student or scholar with up to $300 for travel within the State of California, $500 for travel within the United States, and $700 for international travel, provided their advisor makes an equal contribution of support. The specified dollar amounts or 50% of the travel expenses, whichever is less, will be paid from WiSE. The advisor must pay 50% of the total meeting expenses from their research funds. Only under special circumstances may the Department pay these expenses and these requests must be approved by the WiSE Program Director in advance.
  • The advisor must confirm in writing that: a) the participation of the student at the proposed meeting is important to the student’s educational advancement; b) he or she will pay for 50% of the student’s expenses. If a student receives additional external funds (such as travel assistance from the conference organizers), the faculty advisor must commit to paying half of the remaining expenses.
  • A budget for the trip including reasonable estimates for transportation, accommodation, registration fees, and per diem costs should be submitted.
  • Students who receive an offer for funding from both WiSE and the Graduate Student Government for the same conference MUST choose one award.


Application Process: Applications materials should be submitted electronically to WiSE using the online system. All documents should be in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format. A complete application includes the following required documents:

  • Description of the Meeting: briefly describe the nature of the meeting, the size, the format, the location, and any other relevant information.
  • Budget: provide an estimation of total expenses for attending the meeting including transportation costs, housing, meals, and conference registration fees.
  • Abstract of Presentation: provide the title and a brief description of the accepted paper or poster.
  • Letter of Support from Advisor: a letter from the candidate’s advisor that a) explains how participation of the candidate at the specific meeting is important to the student’s educational advancement; b) guarantees that he or she will pay 50% of the student’s travel expenses; and c) states how participation of the student will further the goals of the WiSE Program to increase the representation of women in science and engineering. The justification should be based only on the candidate’s participation and not on the benefits to the advisor.
  • Students receiving other forms of support most include documentation showing receipt of these funds.


Award Process: The Travel Grant Program is administered by the Manager of the WiSE Program. Reimbursement of the award amount or 50% of the approved travel expenses, whichever is less, will take place after submission of all receipts, according to University regulations.

Applicants will be notified via e-mail as to the status of their application. The e-mail confirmation will serve as official notice of the award and should be included with the request for reimbursement. Requests for reimbursement should be directed to the student’s Home Department Coordinator and processed through the “WiSE Travel Grant Fund” in either USC Dornsife or the Viterbi School of Engineering. No money will be transacted through the WiSE Program Office.