Graduate Dean's Professional Development Award

In partnership with the Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Dean's Professional Development Award provides funding to current graduate students to attend conferences that are beneficial to professional development and degree advancement. Examples include academic and professional association conferences related to a student's field of study. Training courses or classes are not eligible for the award. The award will only reimburse conference registration fees. Travel and other associated expenses will not be eligible for reimbursement. Graduate students may apply for up to $500 towards conference registration if presenting, and up to $250 for conference registration if only participating. Students may apply for the award once per academic year for one conference, must attend the conference in the same academic year, and must be enrolled as a student at the time of the conference.

Applications are reviewed two times per year. Students are encouraged to submit an application for the award as early as possible in the semester to increase the likelihood of funding.

The award application is closed for the academic year and is anticipated to reopen in September 2024.

Application Deadline Award Notification 
October 27 (Fall deadline) November 17
March 8 (Spring and Summer deadline) March 29* (see below)

*Notifications for ALL SUMMER REQUESTS will be sent by April 16. 

Students attending conferences in spring and summer are not required to wait until that term to apply for an award. Every effort will be made to equitably distribute funds and allow students to get an award offer early to assist in financial planning to attend virtual conferences.

Application & Review

Students must submit an application for the award including information about the conference and a statement about its professional development benefits. The conference must be related to the student’s graduate degree program. This award cannot be applied to study abroad opportunities or other university-sponsored events. Due to limited funding, graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply by the Fall deadline to have the best chance at being awarded the most funding.

Award notification letters will be sent to students' WCU email addresses by the date listed above for each application cycle. 

WCU employees enrolled in graduate programs may be eligible for the Graduate Dean's Professional Development Award if they do not receive a tuition waiver, tuition reimbursement, or departmental funding for professional development.  


Please submit the reimbursement request after you attend the conference. We will only issue reimbursements after the date of the conference. Awardees must submit an original, itemized receipt for the registration fees for the full conference registration amount. Receipts must include the payment method used, the total amount paid, and a zero balance. Credit card statements, screen shots, online banking screens, and reservation confirmations will not be accepted as receipts. This award will not cover any other expenses.

All students must submit the online REIMBURSEMENT FORM
(please use Firefox or Internet Explorer)

Receipt/Proof of Presentation Submission Instructions:
Upload with Online Reimbursement Form (Strongly Recommended)
Must be submitted in PDF or Word format. Screen captures cannot be accepted. Please keep original documents in case they are needed for reference.

All receipts are subject to review and approval. After submission, please allow up to 1 month to receive your check in the mail. The check will be mailed to the address you entered on your Graduate Dean's Professional Development Award application.

NEW: All students must remotely complete and submit a W9 form to be eligible for reimbursement. The form will be sent to your WCU e-mail account after your reimbursement form has been received. Please upload the completed form to The Graduate School through myWCU. For security reasons, forms cannot be accepted through e-mail and must be securely submitted through myWCU.  


For questions about the award, please email