How to Apply

Upcoming Undergraduate Deadlines:

  • Christmas Break Proposals w/ International Travel:  November 22, 2019
  • Christmas Break Proposals w/ Domestic Travel:  November 29, 2019
  • Proposal Deadline for Seniors Graduating in May:  January 31, 2020
  • Spring Break Proposals w/ International Travel:  February 20, 2020
  • Academic Year & Summer Grant Proposals: March 16, 2020 (midnight)

Completing a proposal and applying for a grant serves as a valuable experience in itself. It will help you clearly articulate your project objectives, pertinent background information, methods of study, the schedule for the project’s completion, how you will work with your faculty adviser, and how large a budget it will take to accomplish the project’s goals. In so doing, you will hone your planning and presentation skills, an additional benefit to the students whose scholarship ISLA supports. Undergraduates seeking support to present at conferences have different requirements.

After determining the most appropriate type of award, read the following application guidelines below carefully before submitting a project proposal. This Self Editing Checklist might also be helpful to review.  Don't forget to review Post-Award Requirements as well. 

If you would like to pursue a research or creative project but have no idea where to begin, we suggest you attend a workshop at the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Engagement, and/or schedule an appointment with ISLA's Assistant Director of Student Programs, Karla Cruise, Ph.D. 

All proposals for both graduate and undergraduate funding, with the exception of proposals for conference grants, must contain the following elements. However, these elements do not have to be addressed in the order given below.   

I. Abstract 

A 100-200 word abstract describing the proposed project. This abstract should introduce your project and highlight your major goals. If you need assistance in drafting this section, see Purdue Owl's instructions for writing a descriptive abstract. Please note that the entire proposal should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins and a minimum font size of 12. 

II. Project Description

The project description (no more than 3-5 pages double-spaced) should contain sections A-F (G is optional and is not considered in final page count): 

A. Introduction

An introduction that states the proposed work’s objectives and anticipated significance in lay terms. It should describe the problem you wish to investigate, the hypothesis you want to test, and /or the creative endeavor you will undertake.  

B. Background

A background section which provides a brief review of work which has already been done in the area of your project, together with complete references in appropriate professional style. Students should note any previous research they have personally completed or experience they have had that is relevant to their proposal as well as any requisite skills (language, computer, interviewing, etc.).

C. Methodology

A methodology section that gives a detailed description of the research methods or creative techniques you will use and includes a justification for your specific approach. How do these methods answer the questions that have been posed, test your hypothesis, or lead to the realization of a desired goal? 

D. Schedule

A schedule section that includes specific dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. A clear, detailed work schedule is especially important when applying for summer grant funding.

E. Description of Collaboration/Resources

A description of collaboration section that explains how you and your adviser will work together on the stated problem and notes the frequency with which the two of you will meet to assess your progress. This section should also explain how the project relates to the adviser’s work. If you are working entirely independently, you can use this section to explain how you will utilize your own skills and make use of resources on and off campus. 

F. Statement of Research Goals

A clear statement of research goals section that explains what the outcome of your work will be. Will your project contribute to a senior thesis or coursework-related research paper? Do you expect to present your findings at a conference? If so, which one and when? Do you intend to submit your work for publication in a journal? Are you planning a public performance of your work?  

G. Other Potential Sources of Funding

You must list all other institutions, centers, departments, foundations, or organizations to which you have applied or plan to apply for funding. 

G. Appendices (optional)

Figures, photos, or graphics which you feel are relevant to your proposal. These additions may be added in appendices. Not part of final page count. 

III. A Budget 

Please download and fill out the Isla Budget Form and upload it with your application (please make sure to use Excel's "wrap text" feature so all of your information is saved properly). This form will allow you to list all materials, laboratory supplies, equipment, travel, lodging, and meal expenses that will be required to complete the project and the estimated cost of each item.

Notes on budgets:

  • For most projects, ISLA allows a maximum budget of $35/day for meals. Graduate students may choose to calculate their living expenses at 1/3 of per diem cost in recognition of the fact that certain cities are more expensive than others. If an applicant's stay at a given location exceeds 10 days, alternatives should be found to eating out. If alternatives to eating out are not possible, please explain why. 
  • Not necessary to attach screenshots; however, links to sites where cost information was obtained are helpful as are footnotes explaining unusual expenses.
  • Grant funds cannot be used for equipment such as tape recorders, video equipment, or computer equipment. Please itemize your expenses (for example: supplies, computer services, library or laboratory fees, photocopying, telephone, postage, and travel) and justify the need for each expense. 
  • If an item is denominated in a foreign currency, please provide the USD equivalent, including the exchange rate. 
  • If you are driving your own vehicle, please use University guidelines to calculate your mileage. 
  • If you are applying for funding from other sources, you must indicate this in the proposal, specifying the amounts you have requested and the dates by which you expect to know the outcome of those applications. Undergraduates, please note that no one student may be awarded more than $7,000 total in ISLA grant money.
  • Maximum awards for students with access to Glynn awards is $4,500.

IV. A Letter of Recommendation


A letter of recommendation from a supervising faculty member in the College of Arts and Letters. Only DaVinci Grant applicants may accompany their applications with a letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the College of Science. Even if your project is a group effort, each member of the group must have their own letter of recommendation. You should read guidelines for recommenders and share this information with faculty advisors. The Student Grant Network will ask you for your recommender's netID. You may find all netIDs on the ND Directory. Once you have designated a faculty member as a recommender on your Student Grant Network application, that faculty member should receive an email with instructions for uploading their letter. 


V.  Additional Undergraduate and Graduate Student Document Requirements (See Below)



* IRB Approval for Human Subjects


If your research involves interaction with people (e.g., interviews, surveys, or observing non-public behavior), you must submit an application for Internal Review Board (IRB) approval. Please use Notre Dame Research's online application form for Human Subjects (IRB) Approval.


Undergraduates who need help determining if their project requires IRB approval should consult the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement's IRB page for guidance. The University's policies regarding human research are outlined on the Notre Dame Research site.  This IRB Flowchart and Glossary Of Terms may also be helpful in determining whether or not you need such approval.  


If IRB approval is required, grant funding will not be disbursed until Notre Dame Research approves your IRB application. IRB approval must be specifically given to you, the student. If you are working on a project for which your professor has IRB approval, please ask the professor to have your name added to the IRB protocol. Questions regarding IRB approval may be sent to Notre Dame requires all personnel listed on the IRB protocol to complete the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) module. Please refer to the Citi Training Selection Guide for directions. 



 Requirements Specific to Undergraduate Applicants

  • International travel requires a Parental Consent Form and a completed Health Questionnaire; both should be uploaded to the Student Grant Network when complete. To complete the health questionnaire, schedule an appointment for a travel exam with University Health Services (UHS). You will be charged $10 for this visit (a fee will also be assessed for no-shows or late cancellations). Your personal physician can also complete the form if he/she has seen you within the past year. Please note that your physician's office is responsible for returning the signed and completed form to our office via email to, or facsimile to Therese Blacketor at 574-631-9168.  Do not delay scheduling your travel exam. Find out if you need vaccinations before your departure, and, if you do, make sure that you receive them in well enough in advance to be effective.  PLEASE NOTE: University Health Services is not providing travel exams during the fall 2019 semester due to staffing shortages.  Please have your personal physician complete the form and return it to us.
  • Register your travel with Notre Dame International Travel Registry. UROP grants will not be disbursed until international travel registry is completed; registry must be completed within two weeks of receiving your award letter or you will risk the loss of your grant. UROP proposals involving travel to countries for which a State Department travel warning has been issued will not be funded. 

Submit an Application


Requirements Specific to Graduate Student Applicants

  • Graduate proposals should be 3-5 pages long, double-spaced, with one-inch margins and a minimum font size of 12.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Applications must be accompanied by a Graduate Student Cover Sheet  Your advisor must sign off on this cover sheet and indicate if you need IRB approval for your research.
  • Please also include a Curriculum Vitae that describes your education, work experience, etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Graduate funding recipients are required to register INTERNATIONAL travel on the Notre Dame Travel Registry.  Funds will not be disbursed until ALL components of the registry are completed.  

Submit an Application