Master’s Student Professional Development Fund

Participating in developmental conferences and workshops is important to master’s students' growth as professionals, and is relevant experience for all career paths.

Master's students participating in professional development conferences, workshops, or training, whether in person or virtually, can apply to the School of Professional Studies for up to $500 to cover registration, travel, and other related expenses through the Master’s Student Professional Development Fund. Students do not need to be presenting in order to be eligible and all master’s students, including students studying fully online or in low-residency programs, are encouraged to apply. 

All applications and associated documentation must be submitted online through UFunds. Given funding limitations, an application does not guarantee support. Some departments may have independent funds to support such travel; students should check with their Director of Graduate Study (DGS) of their department for more information. Please email with any questions you may have.

Master's students participating in professional development conferences, workshops, or training, whether in person or virtually, can apply to the School of Professional Studies for up to $500 to cover registration, travel, and other related expenses through the Master’s Student Professional Development Fund. 

Award Eligibility

  • Eligibility is not based on citizenship or visa status. All master’s students are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship status. 
  • Students can receive up to $500 per academic year (June 1 through May 31) as determined by the end date of the travel or virtual conference. This can be used for one conference or split among more than one, but a separate application must be submitted for each trip. Students who apply for funds for a trip and find they do not need to use the full amount for that trip should notify  so that the remaining balance can be made available to them for future applications. There is no limit on the number of times a student can apply for conference funding. However, only $500 can be used per student per year.
  • Apply at least 14 days before the start of your conference or travel. Applications must be submitted through UFunds at least 14 days before the start of travel or the start of the conference. Students not able to make this deadline should email  to see if an exception can be made. This requirement allows the School of Professional Studies time to process applications and notify students whether they will receive funding or not prior to the start of travel or the start of the conference.
  • Provide an approved Safety Plan, if applicable. All students are required to register their travel plans in TravelSafe (for both domestic and international travel). In addition, some international travel destinations require completion of a Safety Plan in TravelSafe and approval from the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC). Find current US DOS travel advisory levels in TravelSafe by clicking on the 'Travel Advisories' tab (destinations at Level 3 or 4 - designated at High Risk - require GTRAC approval). Check Brown’s current travel guidelines and requirements on the International Travel Risk Management webpage. Additionally, transactions with comprehensively embargoed countries, including certain academic collaborations and the exchange of research materials, may require authorization from the government. If you are considering collaborating with or traveling to an embargoed country, you must contact Brown's Export Control Team well in advance.

Using your Master’s Student Professional Development Award:

The Master’s Student Professional Development Fund award can be processed as a reimbursement if expenses are pre-paid at the time of application.

The award you request can go towards:

  • Travel: Airfare, Bus and Train (Car rentals do not qualify)
  • Registration: Purchasing tickets and registering for the conference, workshop or training.
  • Accommodation: Prepaid hotel rooms can be submitted for reimbursement prior to travel. 

All expense receipts and registrations confirmation emails but be attached in a consolidated Pdf form and URL to conferences must be provided on the form for you to be considered. 

Students who do not use the full amount of the Master’s Student Professional Development award for their trip (e.g they applied for $500, but only ended up using $400) should notify so that the remaining funds can be made available to them for a future Master’s Student Professional Development Fund application. Note that a new application should be submitted for each conference.

Guidelines for Reimbursement:

Brown’s Controller’s Office mandates that funding can only be provided on a reimbursement basis (AFTER a purchase has been made), based on submission of appropriate receipts. For travel reimbursements, students do not need to wait until their travel is complete to submit reimbursement requests for airline tickets, train tickets, conference registration, and other pre-paid trip expenses - the Controller allows for reimbursement of these receipts as soon as the purchase is complete. Any remaining receipts should be submitted to the  School of Professional Studies within 30 days of completion of travel to allow time for processing. Delay in submitting receipts can put you in danger of missing the university reimbursement deadline and result in having taxes taken out of the money you receive.

Students must register as an Individual Payee and complete the Brown University Supplier and Individual Payee Registration Form in order to receive reimbursement. There, students may select their preferred option for payment, including Electronic Funds Transfer or paper check.

Brown University is required to comply with United States immigration and tax law when issuing payments to foreign nationals. To comply with these requirements and to process your payment(s) as quickly as possible, you must enter specific data pertaining to your immigration and tax status into FNIS and provide relevant documentation.  Please refer to the FNIS Instructions for further details. 

Please submit receipts via email to within 30 days of travel. If you’ve set up a direct deposit through Brown, your reimbursement will be deposited directly into your account. If you have not set up direct deposit, a check will be mailed to the address you have on file with Brown. You should allow at least 2-3 weeks for processing the reimbursement.

Be sure to review Brown’s travel policies and any additional departmental policies before making travel purchases to ensure that your purchases will be reimbursable! A few limitations are highlighted below.

  • Students must purchase non-refundable, coach class airline tickets and students who are using federal funding for travel must fly on US carriers (see Air Travel Policy for exceptions)
  • Students will not be reimbursed for tickets purchased using frequent flier miles or points
  • Students will not be reimbursed for the purchase of tickets for other students or other travelers (e.g. students all traveling to the same location must each purchase their own flight).
  • Students will not be reimbursed for toiletry items or over-the-counter medication, even if used during travel.
  • If your plans change and you are not able to complete your trip

Brown University reimbursement policy specifies that requests for reimbursement must be submitted in Workday within 60 days of purchase or, if the expense is part of a trip (airline tickets, train tickets, conference registration, etc.), within 60 days of the completion of travel. An expense not submitted in Workday within 60 days is considered gross income subject to tax withholding and will be processed through payroll and reported on the employee's W-2 form.

If you have received an award for travel funding from the School of Professional Studies, but have not used the award, please send an email to to let us know that you will no longer need the award. This allows us to make the funds available for other students in need and will reset your eligibility for receiving the award during that fiscal year.

What you Need to Submit

The School of Professional Studies may request additional information when you are requesting a reimbursement, but you should always submit the following:

  • All receipts as pdfs, ideally combined into one chronological document 
  • An expense spreadsheet totaling costs, if you have more than two items 
  • Currency conversions for any purchases that were not in US dollars (USD) 
  • A copy of the official award confirmation email from UFunds

Receipts: Whenever possible, provide receipts as a single pdf, rather than submitting each receipt individually. The receipt(s) must include a date and show that you have paid (e.g., “Paid by Mastercard: xxxxx1212”).
Airfare: You must provide both the full itinerary AND the receipt that shows payment. If you have purchased plane tickets online through Expedia or other similar sites, it may be necessary to log back into your account and request a receipt for your trip.
Car Rentals: A final receipt is required for reimbursement - agreement estimates (provided when you reserve the car) do not qualify as receipts. *If you're renting in the US, Brown has special deals with preferred rental car providers which you can use for personal rentals.
Hotels: You must provide the detailed hotel bill (folio) or Airbnb confirmation - something that shows where you stayed, how long you stayed, and in the case of hotels, a breakdown of charges. You will also need to provide proof of payment (the receipt) showing the total cost and how it was paid. 

  • If you do not have a receipt (or have a receipt that doesn't show payment) and the purchase is for airfare, hotel, train, or car rental (in any amount) OR is any purchase of $75 or more, you must complete and sign a Missing Receipt Affidavit and provide that in lieu of the receipt. If possible, also provide whatever invoice or other documentation of the purchase you have, even if it does not qualify as a receipt. 
  • If you'd like to be reimbursed for a payment that you've made to an individual (for your share of a hotel room, for example), you can provide a written/email receipt signed by the person you've paid or a payment confirmation from an electronic payment system like Venmo or PayPal. 

Expense Spreadsheet

  • If you are submitting more than two receipts, create an expense spreadsheet totaling your purchases by category (e.g., airfare, hotel, bus, etc.). When your reimbursement information is entered into Workday, it's entered by category (not by date), so having your expenses grouped by category is important for efficient processing! Here is an example of an expense spreadsheet, which you can download and modify with your own expense subtotals: Reimbursement Expense Spreadsheet Template
  • If you're not sure what category to use, provide an explanation of the expense in the Notes column so that your program administrator can determine what category is most appropriate.
  • If all of the expenses you are submitting for your trip are in USD, use the ‘Travel - USD only’ tab. If some or all of your expenses are in a foreign currency, use the ‘Travel with foreign currency’ tab. 

Currency Conversions

  • If expenses have been paid in a currency other than US dollars (USD), you'll need to provide a conversion into USD.  If a credit card was used to pay the expense(s), you can provide a copy of your credit card statement (black out other charges) showing the amount paid in USD. 
  • If you don’t have or don’t want to use a credit card statement, use a currency conversion calculator (the OANDA converter is preferred) to convert the expense to USD and provide a pdf of the conversion with your other documentation. 
  • If you have only one expense to convert, use the date of purchase (as reflected on the receipt) as the currency conversion date.  

If you have multiple expenses to convert, use the last date of the trip as the currency conversion date for all expenses. Find the conversion rate for the last date of the trip using the OANDA calculator and add that rate in your expense spreadsheet to calculate the USD value for each of your purchases. Click the ‘Travel with foreign currency’ tab of the Reimbursement Expense Spreadsheet template to see an example of what the spreadsheet should look like
NOTE: If your foreign currency purchases fall into more than one category (e.g. airfare, hotel, train, taxi/bus, etc), do not just total all foreign currency purchases and then convert that total to USD - expenses are entered into Workday by category and totals for each category must be calculated separately!