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Travel Awards


Are we eligible for travel funds?

As a general rule you are awarded funding for three conference/workshop/research trips during your time in the program (limited to one per year; see detailed information below).

Travel to conferences and research

The Department will provide partial funding for travel to conferences or research sites (such as research trips to investigate new writing subjects, interview people, etc.), limited to one trip per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and limited to three trips total for MFA students. (For students working simultaneously on MFA and PhD degrees, the maximum number of trips shall be three.) You may only use one allotment of funding per trip, even if you take a trip that spans the fiscal year.

Eligibility and application procedures

Nonfiction Writing Program students are eligible for travel support to conduct research, attend AWP, and/or present a paper at a conference. In order to apply for travel support Nonfiction Writing Program students should first submit an English-NWP MFA Travel Funding webform ( for English Department travel funds, outlining the nature of the proposed trip to Cherie. Your request should include the dates and other details of your proposed trip, and an explanation of its importance to your professional development. All travel funding requests must be submitted prior to departure. If approved, Cherie will send you a travel award letter.

How do I receive reimbursement for travel?

When you receive a letter from the English Department Director of Graduate Studies approving your travel request and before you travel, you will need to schedule a meeting with Mandy McAllister ( to complete your pre-travel trip request form. Later, upon completion of your trip, meet with Mandy and provide all Lodging, Transportation, Meal, and misc. receipts from your travel. Mandy will complete a Travel Expense Voucher for reimbursement. Once the TEV is complete you will be paid by direct deposit.

If you intend to travel outside the United States and your trip is partially funded by the English Department, you are required to register your trip online 45 days prior to departure. For additional information, please visit this website: International Trip Insurance ( Once you receive your international insurance card, please forward a copy of the card to Cherie.

Since travel support funds may, in any given year, be limited, students are encouraged to also seek travel support from other sources within the University. See Research Awards ( for a list of additional funding sources. If you receive additional financial support for conference travel or research, this must be disclosed to Mandy so she may help with reimbursing you properly with the departmental MFA Travel Funding.


Every year, The Nonfiction Writing Program and the University of Iowa offer competitive awards to help graduate students pursue their research and writing projects.

The Herodotus Awards

Herodotus was the first writer who became widely known for collecting research material systematically, testing its accuracy (to a certain extent), and arranging it in well-constructed and vivid narratives. Named in his honor, up to three Herodotus Awards are given annually to students in The Nonfiction Writing Program. The awards can be used for research-related travel that results in new work by the end of the spring semester. In previous years, Herodotus recipients were honored at an end-of-year public event at which they presented an excerpt from their research (of at least 1,500 words).

Recipients must complete their research trips before being reimbursed. Typically, the awards may be combined with the annual research travel grants that are offered to each graduate student in the English Department (see TRAVEL FUNDING for details), and all currently registered graduate students of the NWP are eligible to apply.

To apply for an award, compose a 1-page double-spaced proposal that explains your writing project and details specifically how you would use a Herodotus Award, as well as what work if any you have already completed on the project. Specify when exactly your travel research will take place, where you will go, and who (if anyone) you will be meeting on your trip. All proposals will be read and judged blindly by the faculty of The Nonfiction Writing Program. Proposals are generally due at the start of spring semester.