Graduate Research Travel Grants

The Center for African Studies offers funding to Harvard graduate students traveling to Africa for thesis or dissertation research or for fieldwork connected to an academic project. Internships, conference travel, or research related to a start-up/business are not eligible for funding. While there is no minimum travel duration requirement, preference is given to applicants who can provide a well-organized itinerary/schedule that demonstrates how their travel is necessary to complete components of their research. Grant awards range from $1,500 to $5,000 and are intended to cover otherwise unfunded costs of round-trip economy travel and modest accommodation. Award amounts will be based on budgets, length of stay, and available funding for the award period. Research travel grants are highly competitive, and we encourage students to apply for multiple funding sources.  

Estimated Funding Ranges Based on Travel Duration 
1-3 Weeks: $1,500-$3,000 
3-6 Weeks: $3,000-$4,000 
6-8+ Weeks: $4,000-$5,000 

Students have two opportunities to apply during the academic year:
Round 1 Deadline: October 15th. Grantees may use funding awarded during the October application cycle for travel during winter break, J-Term, or the spring semester. Application opens September 1st.
Round 2 Deadline:  March 1st. Grantees may use funding awarded during the March application cycle during the summer or upcoming fall semester. Application opens December 1st.
All applicants must be continuing Harvard University students.  


  • Applicant must be a full-time, continuing graduate student at Harvard. 
  • Applicant’s purpose of travel must be for academic research. Internships and conference travel are not eligible for funding. Preference will be given to applicants traveling for thesis or dissertation research. 
  • Research/work/study must take place in any African country (check Harvard student travel policies and current COVID-19 travel guidance for any restrictions). 
  • While there is no minimum stay requirement, preference will be given to applicants who provide a well-organized itinerary that will demonstrate how they plan to accomplish their research goals during their stay. 
  • Preference will go to applicants who have completed at least two African Studies courses, have experience in the region, and/or have language experience related to Africa.  


Deadlines to Apply:  
Round 1: October 15, 2022 (For travel during Winter Break, J-Term, or the Spring 2023 Semester)
Round 2: March 1st, 2023 (For travel during Summer 2023 or the Fall 2023 Semester. 

  • CARAT online application form  
  • Current unofficial transcript 
  • Current resume/CV 
  • 750-word proposal, including a description of the research/project you are planning to work on and whether it is continued research from prior time spent in Africa. 
  • Detailed itinerary, including expected flight dates and plans for use of time while in Africa.  
  • Detailed budget for all expenses while traveling. CAS will not pay you an hourly rate for time spent conducting research. You cannot list taxation on the grant as an expense. Funding is meant to cover expenses only. If your budget exceeds the $5,000 maximum, please describe how you plan to fund the excess expenses (i.e. Weatherhead Center grant, personal funds, etc.). Be sure to list all other grants to which you have applied and your award status. Please note that grant funds cannot be used to pay research assistants.  
  • Two letters of recommendation: Letters of recommendation should be submitted through CARAT by the grant deadline. Simply notifying references through CARAT will allow you to submit your application but will not mark your application as complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all letters are submitted by the deadline. CAS does not follow up with references on your behalf. One letter of recommendation should be from the Harvard faculty member advising your project. If references have difficulty submitting their recommendations via CARAT, they may email their letters directly to Lindsay Moats at Any applicant who may be unable to request a letter from a faculty member for any reason may reach out to Lindsay Moats. Recommendation letter waivers can be granted on a case-by-case basis.