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Graduate School

The Proposal Project

The Deadline to submit a letter of intent has been extended to February 3 at noon.

“The Proposal Project,” funded by the Southern Miss Fund, aims to: 1) strengthen grant-writing skills of graduate students through training and practice; and 2) increase the number of externally-funded fellowships and traineeships awarded to graduate students at Southern Miss. In partnership with the Center for Faculty Development, grant-writing workshops will be held twice per semester, providing training to enable students to identify potential funding sources, to prepare competitive proposals, and to navigate the submission process.  Eligible students (as determined by the ranking committee) who submit an approved proposal will receive a cash award of $500 whether the proposal is funded or not. During this inaugural year (academic year 2019-20), awards will be limited to five recipients in fall 2019 and five recipients in spring/summer 2020.

Student Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a master’s, specialist, or doctoral student in good academic standing.
  • Must be enrolled at the time of submission of the proposal, and must remain enrolled throughout the project period if proposal is funded.
  • May receive only one award per academic year


6 Steps to Receive the $500 Award:

Step 1: Attend one or more grant-writing workshops (led by Marcia Landen, Associate Vice President for Research)

January 21:  Proposal Writing Basics

January 28: Identifying Potential Sources for Grant Support

Step 2: Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Graduate School (see contact information at end of this announcement).

Spring/summer letter of intent deadline extended: noon, February 3

The LOI (limited to one page) must include the following elements:

  • Student’s name, ID number, degree program, and school
  • Name of student’s advisor/committee chair
  • Proposed title of the project
  • Brief description of the project
  • Brief project budget description
  • Name of agency to which the proposal will be submitted (include URL)
  • Deadline for submission of the proposal

 Purpose of the LOI:

The LOI will be used to pre-screen intended proposals for student eligibility, adherence to expectations for funding source and budget, and quality of the project.

Step 3: Earn a top five ranking in committee

LOI’s will be ranked by a committee representing all colleges, and the student will be informed of the ranking the LOI receives. Those receiving top five rankings will be eligible for the cash award following submission of the approved proposal. If a top 5-ranked student fails to submit an approved proposal, the next person in line will be eligible for the award.

Step 4: Prepare and submit the proposal


  • The proposal must be submitted to an external funding agency (government, private agency/foundation, or business/industry) or fellowship program.
  • The proposal must comply with all relevant university, state, and federal policies and regulations, and it must meet all requirements of the funding agency.
  • The proposal must be reviewed and approved by the major advisor/committee chair and submitted according to the normal submission process for the discipline.  (For example, most proposals require pre-submission consultation with an Office of Research Administration (ORA) administrator for guidance on budget development, agency’s forms, and internal approval).

 Minimum expectations of the proposed budget:

  • The fellowship/traineeship will provide full stipend support at or above the USM base level plus fringe benefits for one or more terms; or
  • The fellowship/traineeship will provide full-time tuition plus fees for one or more terms.

Step 5: Obtain a letter of verification from advisor/committee chair

Following final submission of the approved proposal, the student’s major advisor or committee chair must provide a letter to the Dean of the Graduate School affirming support of the project, acknowledging review and approval of the submitted proposal, and confirming submission of the proposal.

Step 6: Receive cash award

A $500 check will be mailed (or direct deposited) to the student upon receipt of the letter of verification.



Graduate School contact:

Ms. Lindsey Jones | Lindsey.garrityFREEMississippi | Ph: 601.266.6567

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