Carnegie Mellon University

GuSH Research Grant Support

Graduate small project help (GuSH) Research Grant Program is designed to provide financial support to graduate students for forwarding their research related to their programs of study. These funds are intended to be used against costs incurred in the completion of research required for a graduate degree at CMU and for students whose personal or departmental resources have been exhausted.

GuSH research grants provide small grants of $750 to graduate students. These grants are provided by the Graduate Student Assembly and the Office of the Provost and managed by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs.

  • Students are limited to one grant per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) in which they are enrolled as a graduate student. 
  • Students must be enrolled during the semesters they use the funding. 
  • Doctoral students in "In Absentia" status are not eligible for funding.
  • Both the Student Application Form and Advisor Support Form must be completed as outlined in the Application and Awards Process and Evaluation Criteria sections to be considered. Emailed submissions are not accepted.
  • The project, research, or product in question must be at least a portion of a graduate degree requirement. 
  • The work in question must be scheduled for start-up within one semester of application for the award.
  • Funds must be used for those items listed in the submitted proposal budget. If the nature of the research changes and an adjustment to the budget is needed, the awardee must contact the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs to request a variance, prior to spending the funds. 
  • Awardees must complete all post-award requirements outlined in the After the Award section
  • Eligible expenses include: 
    • books
    • travel to archives, labs, clients and research subjects, which includes transportation and lodging
    • software and datasets
    • lab equipment
    • art supplies
    • human subject fees and/or incentives (view Human Subject Payment Guidelines [pdf] for more information)
    • programmer fees in multi-disciplinary projects
    • equipment and/or usage fees 
  • Ineligible expenses include:
    • computers
    • travel to conferences
    • meals
    • stipends
    • tuition
  1. Applicants should complete the Student Application Form by the deadline outlined in the Application Periods section. It is recommended that students meet with their advisor to prepare and complete this form, to provide them with a research statement so they know what the funding request is for, and to coordinate the completion of the Advisor Support Form that is outlined in the next step. Please see the Evaluation Criteria section for more information on the requirements of the abstract, proposal and budget information that is submitted as part of this form.
    • Note: Members of Phi Kappa Phi must add “PKP” on the application form following the name of the program in the Graduate Program field.
  2. Advisors should complete the Advisor Support Form by the deadline outlined in the Application Periods section. See the Evaluation Criteria section for more information on the requirements of the supporting statement that is submitted as part of this form. 
    • Note: Applicants must provide their advisors with a link to this form, and it is recommended to do so several weeks before the close of the application period to allow sufficient time for completion. It is the responsibility of the applicant to have this submitted on time, as late Advisor Support Forms will not be accepted and the student's application for funding cannot be considered. 
  3. Applications are ranked by an interdisciplinary faculty and graduate student selection committee according to how well they meet the Evaluation Criteria outlined below. 
  4. Once selected, the funds are transferred to an account in the awardee’s department. Awardees can access the funds following departmental requirements through their business manager.

All graduate students who accept research grant funding support from the Graduate Student Assembly and the Provost's Office commit to the following:

  1. Awardee must submit a one-page report summarizing the work they undertook with the funding and a finalized budget. This should be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs at within two semesters of receiving the funding. 
  2. Awardees must work with their department business manager to follow all requirements for submitting receipts for reimbursement of expenses, which must be submitted within 30 days of purchase or service date. Receipts turned in after 30 days may not be reimbursable. Please see the Eligibility section for more information on eligible expenses.

Each application will be evaluated in the following three areas.


  • Clarity: First, indicate (very briefly) the degree requirement being satisfied, then describe in detail the project to be funded. Both the abstract and proposal sections must be written in clear, nonspecialized, generalist language as members of the review committee represent departments across the campus. Proposals that do not meet this criteria will not be considered for review.  It must be original, not quoted from a graduate student handbook or course syllabus. It is best to be specific about the substance of your (hypo)thesis and its relation to existing literature on your topic.
  • Relevance of project to field/discipline: How was your research problem selected? What are the major questions and terms in your field related to your project and what are you doing in response to them? How is the project goal important? How can it contribute to advancing knowledge or the state of the art in your area of study?
  • Focused process/outcome: There must be a clear and focused work process in mind. Costs do not have to be clearly linked to the final product/outcome, but they must be linked to part of a process clearly leading to that final product/outcome.


  • Structure: Include a well-developed plan for structuring your work and the costs associated with it.
  • Demonstrated financial need: Directly address this criterion in your budget justification by showing all associated costs and where funding is being provided or the sources it is being sought from. 

Advisor Support Letter

Your advisor’s support letter is required for the proposal to be considered by the review committee.  If it is not received by the deadline, your proposal will not be considered - follow up with your advisor before the deadline.  It should address the merits of the research work you are doing, how the proposal fits into the departmental requirements, and should also provide background information on the need for GuSH funding indicating why this funding is not available to you from other resources. Please provide a copy of your proposal to your advisor so he/she is familiar with your request and can support it appropriately.

You should apply for GuSH research grant funding if:

  • Your project has started or will start within one semester of the award
  • You will be an enrolled student when you receive the award
  • Your project is a crucial part of your thesis, capstone, or other critical component of your degree program
  • You have exhausted the funding available from your program
  • You have a detailed budget, timeline, and plan for obtaining additional funding needed to complete the project

Application Periods (2023 - 2024)


You may apply between*

Application Forms

Fall 2023

Sept. 19 - 29, 2023

Student Form

Advisor Form

Spring 2024

Jan. 22 - Feb. 5, 2024

Student Form

Advisor Form

Summer 2024

April 8 - 19, 2024

Student Form

Advisor Form

*Both the student form and the advisor form must be submitted during this timeframe.