Funding Advice from Department Chair Sally Sedgwick

March 15, 2023

Dear Philosophy Graduate Students,

This message provides tips concerning applying for various sources of funding: to support dissertation or post-doc work, to participate in workshops and conferences, to pay for language study.

Why should you go to the trouble to apply?

The most obvious reason is that you might succeed! But even if you don’t, applying is good practice. In some cases, too, doing so may introduce interesting and maybe even influential people to your work.

Psychological preconditions

1. Only apply if you are going to put your all into the application process. Halfhearted efforts waste your time. Make sure you are ready and willing to do the work.

2. Before you apply, don’t hesitate to get advice from those who know your work.

-Maybe you’re not far enough along to apply.

-Maybe you aren’t yet in a position to line up faculty to write strong letters for you.

-Maybe the grant you have your heart set on isn’t a good fit.

3. Don’t be timid about asking others (including faculty) to comment on your applications before you send them out.

-The Department wants you to succeed; we’re here to help you do so.

4. Be prepared for rejection.

-There are always far more applicants than grants, which means that even excellent applications get rejected.

-Remember that few successful people have entirely escaped failure and disappointment.

Further suggestions

1. Do your homework.

-There are the grant agencies everyone knows about, but there are also lesser known grant agencies. It’s a good idea to invest significant time on the internet fishing around for them.

-Before applying for grant X, make sure your project really fits grant X’s description.

2. Apply for as many (appropriate) grants at the same time as you can.

-Applying is a bit of a crapshoot. Why not increase your odds of success?

3. Join the APA. The APA keeps a database of grants, some of which the APA itself awards.

4. Last but not least, see our Department Website for links to specific grant agencies (as well as to BU grants).

Click here for the 2021 List of Grants available to graduate students in the Department of Philosophy.