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Field Practicum and Conference Funding

Limited funding is available to support MDP students to travel to field sites and to offset major expenses including airfare, lodging, and food. Currently the maximum amount MDP will provide each student is $1,200. This amount could change in the future depending on the availability of funds. Students are strongly encouraged to seek complementary sources of funding, most importantly in-kind support from their host organization in recognition of the contribution the students are making to the organization. Scroll down to see Complementary Sources of Funding at UF for your Field Practicum as well as Conference Travel Funding.

MDP Funding

To apply for field practicum funding from the MDP Program, students should submit the following materials to the MDP Office by the deadlines provided.

1st February

Submit initial proposal to Supervisory Committee for review

19th February

Funding Application to include:

1. An abstract of no more than 250 words explaining the project in non-technical language

2. The Initial Proposal of no more than 4 single-spaced pages. A bibliography should be appended to the proposal. The proposal should include:

    • Brief context and background
    • Proposed placement and description of host institution(s)
    • In-country supervisor
    • How the practicum criteria listed above will be met
    • The proposed development problem/s to be addressed
    • Objectives and methods
    • Proposed activities and anticipated products
    • A timetable for the proposed practicum.

NoteThe proposal should be as specific as possible even though conditions often change in the field.

3. Proposed Budget (Budget Form Provided): Please note that airfare will be purchased according to UF travel guidelines, with preference to lowest itinerary costs appropriate to round-trip travel to practicum destination and back to Gainesville, FL. If airfare is secured for an amount less than that budgeted, the resultant savings will be subtracted from the budget.

4. Copy of submitted Institutional Review Board (IRB) application

As indicated, students should submit the initial proposal to their supervisory committee in advance of February 20th deadline in order to incorporate important feedback. Please note that the IRB application requires review and the approval signature of the student’s committee chair. The MDP Funding Applications committee will evaluate and make funding decisions based on the quality of the initial proposal. The committee may ask the student to clarify or improve some sections of the proposal. Students who have been asked to revise their initial proposal are strongly encouraged to do so within one week.

7th March

Submit important travel, health insurance and identification information

After the committee has approved funding, the fiscal department within the Center for Latin American Studies or the Center for African Studies will purchase airfare for students in March. In order to purchase tickets, students must submit the following to the MDP Program Coordinator in one email:

  • Proposed itinerary: Please search for and provide an actual itinerary that includes all flight information. There is no guarantee this will be the exact itinerary purchased, but every effort will be made to purchase flights on the communicated departure and arrival dates. All students will have an opportunity to confirm their approval of the reserved itinerary prior to purchase.
  • UFIC Travel Registration: All students must register with UFIC, enrolling inTeamAssist Emergency Assistance Program
  • CISI International Insurance or Gator Grad Care: Students who have Gator Grad Care will be covered internationally, and must provide a copy of their card. Students without this coverage will receive CISI insurance through UFIC for free when they register with the TeamAssist Emergency Assistance Program above.
  • UFIC Checklist for International Travel (found at the website link above or in MDP Office)
  • IRB submission status
  • Passport/Travel Information

14th – 24th March

Copy of IRB approval letter, Letter of endorsement, signing of MDP Award Letter, and signing of other fiscal forms.

Upon submission, IRB approval typically takes up to to 10 business days.  In some cases, applications receive approval pending minor changes or questions, to which the student can respond to the IRB by email.  If IRB submission occurs by February 20th, students should be able to receive IRB approval by March 14th.  Every effort should be made to quickly address any questions or pending changes to the IRB office. A copy of the IRB approval letter is required in order to facilitate the release of any approved budget funds for the field practicum.

Paperwork to process student funding will not be submitted to the fiscal department unless students have IRB approval or an indication from the IRB office that they do not need IRB approval.

A letter of endorsement indicating agreed terms of reference with host institution(s) is required. A template will be provided, however the content of this letter will vary depending on the agreed deliverables with the practicum host organization. In many cases, it may be quite helpful to draft a terms of reference letter yourself for the host organization, which they will be able to review, edit and approve.

An award letter will be prepared for students to sign, indicating the amount of award as well as terms and conditions for funding. Funding will not be disbursed until the student is within 10 days of their departure date. However, as indicated above, tickets will be purchased in March.

Upon return to the United States (not Gainesville), funding must be reconciled within 10 days. This requires the review and signing of an expense report provided by the fiscal department.

11th April

Additional Requirements before funding is processed.

  • Final approval by the student’s committee chair indicating that the proposal meets MDP Field Practicum guidelines. An approval form will be provided.
  • Attendance at pre-departure meeting.

Beginning May

Proposal, travel and funding all finalized. Students depart on field practicums.


Complementary Funding at UF


Practical experience is an integral component of preparing for work in the field of tropical conservation and development. The TCD Practitioner Experience Program assists students in gaining practical experience by providing funds to support short-term professional activities that complement academic training. Unlike traditional internships, TCD Practitioner Experiences require that there be a partnership between the student and the host organization. The student will learn from the host organization and actively contribute to its efforts. Sample practitioner experiences might include: organize and/or present a workshop with a partner organization; return research results to a host organization and/or community; assist in project planning, implementation, or evaluation; among other possibilities.

Application Deadline: Around April 16 (Spring) & September 24 (Fall)


CLAS Graduate Student Travel Grant

Students are encouraged to consult with MDP Graduate Coordinator Renata Serra or MDP Coordinator Andrew Noss about this grant. Normally MDP can nominate up to four candidates per semester.


Graduate Student Travel Funds

Highest priority will be given to doctoral level students and students in other terminal degree programs who are invited to give major talks, are in their final year of their programs and are presenting work at a national meeting, or have a unique research or collaborative opportunity at an off-site location. These one-time awards are limited to $400 per trip and require a dollar for dollar match from the college and/or department. Review the Graduate Student Request for Travel Funds to access the guidelines and forms. Requests should be submitted a minimum of one month in advance of the desired travel date.


Conference Travel Funding at UF

Center for African Studies Graduate Travel Awards

Center for African Studies Travel Awards support conference travel for MDP students whose regional focus is Africa. If funds are available, the call for applications for this award is in the Fall semester every year.

For more information about application forms and deadlines, please contact:

Dr. Todd Leedy, Associate Director, Email:


TCD Conference Funding

The TCD Program announces a competition for Conference Funding for TCD students presenting a paper or poster at an academic conference or meeting. The semi-annual competition is held each Fall and Spring semester. Awards of $350 or less will be given each semester.

Application Deadline: Around April 16 (Spring) & September 24 (Fall).

Patricia Sampaio, Program Coordinator, 343 Grinter Hall,


Graduate Student Council Travel Grants

Graduate Student Council Travel Grants are reimbursement-based grants may be used to cover travel-related expenses for presenting research or participating in professional development at a professional conference. Reimbursement may cover conference registration, transportation, and lodging, but not food, entertainment, or purchases made on department Pcards. Grants are provided to half-fund travel, so your expenses must be twice as much as the amount requested. The maximum grant is $350. For more information, including departmental eligibility, please visit the Graduate Student Council website. One MDP student representative is required to attend GSC meetings in order to maintain eligibility of MDP students. Please contact MDP Graduate Coordinator Renata Serra or MDP Coordinator Andy Noss for more information.