Applying for Grants

Dear Philosophy Graduate Students,

This message gives you guidance in applying for various sources of funding: to support dissertation 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, interesting and maybe even influential people will be introduced to your work.

Psychological Preconditions

1. Only apply if you are going to put your all into the application process. Half-hearted efforts simply waste your time. Make sure you are ready and willing to put in 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 applicants 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. It’s a bit of a crapshoot. Why not increase your odds of success?
  3. Join the American Philosophical Association. The APA keeps a database of grants, some of which the APA itself awards.
  4. Think about attending the series of Grant Writing Workshops offered by BU this July. The first of these is on July 22, and you must register for it.
  5. Last but not least, see below for links to specific grant agencies as well as University grants.

Professor Sally Sedgwick, Chair, 7/09/2021

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