Proposal Submission Process

Students are not eligible to serve as principal investigator (PI) on sponsored research projects. Exceptions can be made for students to submit proposals for fellowships, dissertation research grants, or field research grants to be awarded to The Regents, when an extramural funding agency requires that the student originating a project also be the individual who initiates the application for funding, but only if a member of the Academic Senate or separately approved individual is identified as the student's Sponsoring Principal Investigator.

For fellowship, field work, or dissertation projects only: signature of a department chair or ORU director on the Office of Research proposal approval form (Data Sheet) shall constitute evidence of approval for graduate students to serve as Co-Principal Investigator. See full policy.

Some graduate student awards and fellowships must be processed through the Office of Research, including, but not limited to:

You may apply directly to the following awards and fellowships:

If in doubt, contact your department's contract and grant administrator. 

Proposal Writing

There are several resources on campus to assist graduate students with proposal writing:

  • INT201GW: Grant Writing for the Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts covers the fundamentals of funding searches, research design, and grant writing for students in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It is offered annually in winter quarter — contact Barbara Walker for more information.
  • The Professional Development Program for Graduate Students program presents several writing workshops each quarter for students in science, engineering, and mathematics.

Looking for funding?

Searchable Funding Databases

COS Pivot: Offers a searchable database of 25,000 records representing over 400,000 individual funding opportunities from numerous sponsors across all disciplines. UCSB faculty, students, and staff can create accounts and sign up for personalized e-mail funding alerts based on previously specified criteria provided by the individual COS user. Use the links below for instant search results (via domain or proxy server).

  • Search for Graduate Student Fellowships in COS
  • Search for Conference Support in COS
  • Search for Dissertation Support in COS
  • Seach for General Research Grants in COS

IRIS: Contains over 9,000 active federal and private funding opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The alert service enables students, staff, and researchers to create their own search profiles and delivers the search results automatically via e-mail.

GRAPES: Contains information on over 500 private and publicly funded awards, fellowships, and internships for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

The Source: Listserv of graduate student funding opportunities from Graduate Division.

Funding Resources

Graduate Division Financial SupportandStudent Life

Graduate Student Resource Center and Peer Advisors: The Resource Center offers sample proposals, one-on-one consultations with peer advisors, and workshops.

For central fellowship or graduate student questions, contact Financial Support & Academic Appointments Staff at


Involved in Human Subjects Research?

Please contact the faculty mentor who is supervising your research and request an 'associate' account for ORahs, the online human subjects application. 

Involved in Animal Subjects Research?

If you will be working with vertebrate animals, you must complete all required training before beginning any research. See the IACUC training page for more information.

Are you supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?

All students supported by funds from the NSF and students supported by some NIH grants must complete training in the responsible conduct of research. See more information here.

Conflict of Interest

The Policy on Conflict of Interest in Graduate Education affirms joint student and faculty responsibilities in relationship to potential conflicts of interest and provides mechanisms to ensure that outside activities are consistent with University policy. Graduate students should read the policy in the Graduate Student Handbook and adhere to the prescribed practices and procedures.

General Resources

Graduate Division: UCSB's central graduate student office including information on admissions, diversity, outreach, financial support, academic services, and student life

Professional Development Program for Graduate Students: A new program for graduate students with workshops on skills like writing, time management, science presentation, networking, CV-building, interviewing, teaching, and grant writing

GradPost: A resource for graduate students on campus including funding opportunities, event notices, and general advice