Professional Development Grant (PDG)

Professional Development Grant applications are back online!

We are also pleased to announce that students attending but not presenting at conferences are once again eligible to apply to PDG’s for a maximum $250 reimbursement.

Application Fact Sheet

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is dedicated to enhancing the academic development of graduate students at UMASS Boston. The Professional Development Grant (PDG) program’s goal is to assist with the economic burden of attending academic and professional conferences. This is a post-travel reimbursement program. However, approval occurs prior to travel.

Overview of Process

**Please note that all conference travel and all receipt submission must be completed by 1 pm on Friday, June 9, 2017. 

1. Submit a completed online application no less than 30 days prior to your departure date. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and to provide all of the required information.  Follow the link below to access the online application:

2. The GSA will notify you of the status of your application within approximately one week via email to the email address provided on your application.

3. If accepted, attend your conference and keep all of your receipts for any transportation, accommodation, poster/paper printing, registration, or meal expenses. You will need to submit original receipts to the GSA for reimbursement. Print outs of digital receipts are fine, but photocopied receipts will not be accepted.

Receipts must also include the last 4 digits of the credit/debit card number or account number that the transaction was paid with. If paid for in cash, the receipts must specify this. If any of your receipts do not include this information, you will need to submit a bank statement with all info besides the last 4 digits of your card number and the individual transaction blacked out for security purposes.

4. Submit your receipts, (a bank statement if necessary), and a completed PDG Receipt Summary Form to the Office of Student Activities and Leadership located on the 3rd floor of the Campus Center in suite 3400. Give your paperwork to a student working the Student Activities desk (right side of the front desk), and ask for your paperwork to be timestamped and placed in the GSA mailbox.

5. Please allow 6 weeks for your reimbursement to be posted to your student account in WISER. The GSA doesn’t handle the reimbursements directly. Once we submit your paperwork, it is out of our hands and is processed by other offices. The reimbursement will go into your student account and will be labeled as “Student Activities Reimbursement”. The best way to monitor the status of your reimbursement is to check your student account periodically via WISER.

6. Because the GSA takes pride in sending graduate students to prestigious conferences, nationally and internationally, we encourage those who receive funding to contact the UMB Office of Communications upon returning. Please submit a small blurb discussing your conference and academic contributions. This is an excellent opportunity to share your accomplishments outside of your respective programs. The link can be accessed at this address:

Who can participate?

Degree seeking Masters and Doctoral students presenting work at or attending the requested conference.

Students enrolled in the following College of Advancing and Professional Studies programs are NOT eligible:

Degree Programs (Online):

MA Applied Linguistics: ESL
Foreign Language Pedagogy
M.Ed. Counseling: School Guidance
M.Ed. Counseling: Mental Health
M.Ed. Instructional Design
MS Gerontology, Management of Aging Services Track

Certificate Programs:

Adapting Curriculum Frameworks for All Learners
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Critical and Creative Thinking
Database Technology
Dispute Resolution (K-12)
Forensic Services
Gerontology – Management of Aging Services
Instructional Technology Design
Instructional Technology for Educators
Nurse Practitioner: Family or Gerontology/Adult Orientation and Mobility
Teaching of Spanish
Teaching of Writing
Women in Politics and Public Policy

Students who attend conferences post graduation date are also ineligible.

What is the PDG dollar amount?

The maximum grant for students presenting a paper or poster is $400.00
Students not presenting a paper or poster are no longer eligible for PDG travel funds. The maximum grant for students attending a conference and NOT presenting a paper or a poster is $250.

How many PDGs can I receive?

Students are permitted to receive a maximum of 1 PDG per academic year.  This rule applies to both Master’s and Doctoral students regardless of years of study. PDG’s cannot be accumulated, for example, a 4th year PhD student cannot request multiple PDG’s in one year because he/she did not apply PDG’s in prior years.
It is subject to:

(1) filling out the application

(2) presenting request at a GSA meeting

(3) GSA approval (which will be contingent on the organization’s current budgetary situation)

What kinds of events is a PDG for?

The PDG grant is intended to support students attending or presenting at academic or professional conferences. The GSA views conferences as consisting of events in which researchers or professionals in a particular discipline come together to share knowledge. Conferences must have a website detailing the event (beyond a Facebook page), a sponsoring organization, and some level of peer review submission process for presentations.
The purpose of the above requirements is to differentiate conferences from workshops, training events, or brief courses. GSA cannot subsidize student education. Using PDG’s for workshops or other such training events blurs this stipulation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

Are PDGs considered taxable income?

Yes! All grants count as income, and as such are subject to taxation, as appropriate. Applicants are responsible for contacting University Financial Aid and the Bursar’s Office if they need information on how grants will affect their finances.
The maximum grant amount for students presenting a paper or a poster at a conference is $400.

Can PDGs affect my financial aid?

Possibly.  Please visit the UMB Financial Aid webpage at

The following information is especially important:

If you receive any form of aid from sources other than Financial Aid Services, your aid may be adjusted.  Contact the Financial Aid office to determine the impact of outside awards.  Examples of other sources of aid include scholarships, veteran’s benefits, employee reimbursement and tuition waivers (Massachusetts Rehab, veteran’s state employee, graduate assistantships).

Please note that “outside awards” includes any money awarded by the Graduate Student Assembly.

To find out if a GSA award will affect your financial aid and if so, how much, please contact the financial aid office at:

Financial Aid Office
Campus Center, 04, 04300

7 thoughts on “Professional Development Grant (PDG)”

  1. Hello, I am Chae Man Lee, Gerontology PhD student. Last month, I applied for Professional Development Grant (PDG). I went to the Gerontological Society of America conference from Nov 20th to 23rd. Now, I came back to Boston. I wonder how I reimburse mt travel budget for the conference. Do you have a another application for after traveling?

    Thank you,

    1. Thanks for your question! We do not have another application for after traveling. You will only need to submit the receipts to our office within the 30-day time-frame. Some people mail their receipts, but many find it is more convenient to bring them to campus, get them timestamped on the 3rd floor Office of Student Activities, and drop them in our mailbox (in the same area). We look forward to receiving your receipts!

  2. I would like to apply for a PDG grant. I will be presenting a poster at the AANP conference in June 2011. However, the link to apply on online is no available. Are the grants still avaialble? The link does not open up the application. Thank you

    1. Hello Anne-Naomi,
      The links opens the application you just have to create a username first in order to use the system. This way we elliminate the paper form of applications. You can sign into the application with your gmail/ yahoo/ hotmail/ facebook/ twitter/ etc. accounts and complete the application the link is at the top… . Please email us if you continue to have problems at Hope to receive your application soon.

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