Chelsea Segal
Chelsea Segal MPA ‘19 participating in a summer of 2018 program in India sponsored by Duke Sanford and IIM Udaipur studying international development in the context of India.

Thinking about attending a conference, networking event or participating in a competition? Apply for Student Council professional development funding to offset the cost of participation.

The Student Council endeavors to support the needs of the student body by providing the opportunity to apply for financial support when attending or presenting at professional events both domestically and abroad. Funds will be awarded to qualifying students upon submission of a satisfactory application to the Professional Development Funding (PDF) Committee. Once the professional development event has occurred, students who have been approved for funding will be instructed to submit a payment request and any required deliverable(s) for reimbursement up to the awarded amount.


Current degree-seeking students who are in good academic and financial standing and who have paid the student activity fee are eligible to apply. Due to the high demand for funding, the applicant pool is competitive. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and are likely to run out before the end of each academic year.

  • Applicants may receive funding once per academic year to fund participation in a single professional development event.
  • Consideration is given to applicants who apply for professional development funding related to an event taking place in the same academic year through July.
  • Applications may be submitted from August through April or until funds are depleted. The PDF Committee generally meets the last Friday of every month (September–April) to review applications. 
    • Please note: students may apply for Professional Development Funding for events that occur during the months of August and September by the first review deadline with the understanding that they will not be notified of the PDF committee’s decision until after that deadline.
  • Funding can be used toward conference registration, travel and transportation and lodging.
  • Funding is not guaranteed.
  • Amount awarded is at the discretion of the Professional Development Funding Committee.
  • If recipients are unhappy with the awarded amount, they may deny the offer of funding and apply for a later event in the same academic year. No re-review of application materials is permitted.
  • All payment paperwork, including a required deliverable in the form of a slide deck, must be submitted within two weeks after the last day of the event. Failure to do so will cause the student to lose funds allocated by the Committee. Full instructions for the reimbursement process are included in the confirmation email from the PDF Committee.

To Apply

Submit a completed Professional Development Funding Application. Applications may be submitted any time prior to the conference/event date and before the end of April or until funds run out and the application closes. Applications will be reviewed on the last Friday of the month by the PDF Committee. 

Application Tip: It may take up to two weeks for the PDF Committee to review applications submitted by the end of each month. If you would like to know if you are eligible for PDF prior to your event, we suggest applying at least a month early (i.e. if attending a conference in November, submit your application by the end of September).  

Students will be notified of their award via email within one to two weeks of the closest review date following their submission. For example, if a student submits an application on October 15, they should expect to hear the PDF Committee’s decision 1-2 weeks after the October review date.

2021-2022 Committee Review Dates

October 1st
October 29th
November 19th
December 17th
February 25th
March 18th
April 29th

Retroactive applications will not be reviewed. 

Application Process

Award amounts are:

  • up to $350 for an attendee
  • up to $750 for a presenter

Given that online conferences have less expense than in-person events, students are eligible for one or more PDF award(s) per academic year within the limits listed above. For example, a student could apply for $350 as an attendee one time, or could apply for two conferences that each add up to no more than $350.

To apply, complete the Professional Development Funding Application.

Additional Information

  • PDF recipients will be awarded the amount offered once conference attendance is completed.
  • Students may decline the funding award offered to them in lieu of applying for a future professional development event in the same academic year by responding to the PDF Committee’s decision email.
  • Students applying for PDF must read and agree to these terms and guidelines.
  • The PDF Committee reserves the right to request additional documentation regarding attendance/participation, including but not limited to receipts, registration forms, and proof of participation.