Though the department cannot guarantee that travel expenses will be covered for all students, the Graduate Office does allocate some funds to support travel for our graduate students. Students presenting their results or close to their graduation will receive priority. Typically, we can provide up to $500 per trip, but in specific cases may be able to provide up to $750 for students finishing their PhD (for trips taken in the same year as PhD completion).

Rules Regarding Travel Funding

  1. Travel funding from the department is generally restricted to
    1. students giving talks or presenting a poster on their work; or
    2. students attending summer schools and intensive workshops at national institutes.
  2. Students are also required to request support from their adviser before requesting support from the department. If you are uncertain as to whether your request will qualify, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. Students are encouraged to apply to multiple funding sources. For possible funding sources, please see the “Alternative Funding Sources” section on this page.
  4. When you apply for travel funding, no matter the source, you are implicitly promising that any funds you receive will be used for the purpose for which they were approved, and that you will not be reimbursed from any other source for the covered expenses. You may not be e reimbursed for the same expense by multiple sources.

How to Request Travel Funds from the Graduate Office

If you have been invited to speak or plan to present research at an event that requires you to travel, complete the application form prior to each applicable conference or event. Apply as early as possible before your trip. Retroactive applications will not be considered.

If you have not been invited to speak or are not presenting research, you may still apply for funding. However, you must complete the form and have your advisor write to the current Director of Graduate Studies, explaining how the event will help your research and whether any alternative sources of funding exist. If all your funding comes from alternative sources (typically, your advisor's funds, AWM, or your fellowship) and you do not require additional funds from the Graduate Office, you do not need to fill out the form or seek approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

After Funding Is Approved

Generally, once funding from the Graduate Office is approved, students can be reimbursed for travel expenses up to the amount approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Please check with the Department of Mathematics Business Office about what kinds of documentation you’ll need to provide to their office to be reimbursed for transportation, conference registration, meals, accommodation, or other expenses. Reimbursement of travel expenses is not guaranteed if proper procedures are not adhered to.

If you'd like the Graduate Office to pay for your expenses directly (rather than reimburse you), please talk to the Business Office about the procedure.

After Your Trip

Please adhere to the following procedure(s) upon returning from travel:

  1. Forward all receipts and the approval email from the Director of Graduate Studies to the Business Office.
  2. If your funding was coming from elsewhere, complete and follow the instructions on the reimbursement form.

Important Caveats

The workflow described above pertains only to obtaining approval for the funding from the Department of Mathematics at Illinois. A lot of administrative hurdles might exist entirely independent from our offices: for instance, international travel might require approval from the university. Government agencies may also impose restrictions on international travel. Students are responsible for ensuring that their travel plans comply with any governmental, organizational, or university policy.

International Students

International graduate students can have travel expenses reimbursed by the University of Illinois, but it is sometimes not legal for students to be reimbursed by other institutions for expenses incurred as a speaker or presenter. For example, if you are invited to give a talk at the University of X, then the University of X might not be allowed to pay for your travel expenses, although your adviser at the University of Illinois could pay those expenses. Please contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office (333-1303) before making any travel plans for which you expect another institution to pay. The ISSS can examine your individual situation and determine how the U.S. Government rules apply to you.

Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources regarding academic and travel:


Additional Funding Sources

Graduate College Conference Travel Award

See the Graduate College website for application guidelines. To be considered, complete the application form by one week ahead of the Graduate College deadline. Write "Graduate College Conference Travel Award" in the comments box on the application form.

American Mathematical Society

The AMS provides travel grants to Join Mathematical Meetings in January and AMS Spring Sectional Meetings. Applications for AMS travel grants can be found at AMS :: Travel Grants for Graduate Students, JMM and Sectionals.

Graduate Student Travel Grants

Travel Grants for two types of AMS meetings are available from the AMS. Please visit the AMS website for more information.


SIAM Student Travel Awards are given to help students gain the experience and exposure that comes from attending and presenting at SIAM conferences. Please visit the SIAM website for more information.

Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research

See the Sigma Xi website for application guidelines.


In some cases, the following may be available to help cover travel costs:

  • thesis adviser's internal departmental funds
  • external research grant

Ask your thesis adviser for more information.