2015-2016 Dissertation Research Award (DRA) - Guidelines


Awards are made competitively to doctoral students to pursue dissertation research.  Support is not available from the Office of Research for master's thesis research or alternative exit projects. Proposals must focus on dissertation research that requires funding in excess of what can be supported through normal academic program operating budgets. Successful applicants must submit a clear and well-organized application that provides evidence of the proposed research problem’s significance and use of appropriate research methods. The maximum possible Dissertation Research Award (DRA) is $5,000.  From among these awardees, those who have submitted through the university an external grant proposal in response to an established research funding opportunity and subjected to a competitive review process within the preceding year will also be eligible for an additional $500, if unfunded, or an additional $5,000, if funded.

Eligibility Requirements

(The two requirements below must be met prior to submitting an application.)

A doctoral student may receive only one DRA during her or his tenure at Cleveland State University. An award is made with the understanding that:

  1. The student is a full-time graduate student enrolled in one of the University's doctoral programs at the time of application, and the student will remain enrolled with a minimum of 8 credits each semester during the period in which funds are to be expended;
  2. The student must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and must have successfully completed more than 34 semester credit hours of graduate work at the time of application; and

Prior to Awarding Funds

(The deadline for the three requirements below is November 30, 2015)

  1. The student must have successfully completed the appropriate comprehensive examination(s) for advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree;
  2. The student must have on file with the Graduate College Office a Dissertation Proposal Approval form, with the required signatures; and
  3. Students with full-time status who provide documentation of the submission of an external grant proposal within the preceding year may receive additional funds up $500, if unfunded, or up to $5,000, if funded.

Terms of Award

Acceptance of an award signifies the intent of the doctoral student to complete his or her doctoral degree at Cleveland State University. The awarded funds must be expended within the 12 months following the date the funds are awarded.  Before work can begin on projects that involve the study of humans or animals, awardees must obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The University Research Council exercises no direction or supervision over the details of the activities to be performed, but it does require adherence to the original objectives and purposes of the proposal and submission of a final report. No later than 30 days after the termination date of the award, the awardee must submit a final report as a pdf-attachment to The report should present in detail the accomplishments of the project including a summary of findings as well as all dissemination activities, such as articles, presentations, etc. Finally, the awardee needs to assess the extent to which the outcomes and expectations indicated in the proposal were met.

Any publication (dissertation, report, journal article, etc.) resulting from a DRA must carry an acknowledgment that the project was carried out with support from the Cleveland State University Dissertation Research Award Program.

Any publication (dissertation, report, journal article, etc.) resulting from a DRA must carry an acknowledgment that the project was carried out with support from the Cleveland State University Dissertation Research Award Program. All equipment purchased under the DRA becomes the sole property of the University and, for property control purposes, is assigned to the department in which the awardee holds his or her appointment. All awards are administered through the Office of Research. Award funds must be expended for the purposes described in the proposal and in accordance with applicable University regulations and procedures.  All award funds remaining unspent one year after the funds are awarded will revert back to the Office of Research for redistribution. A one-time no-cost extension of no longer than six months may be approved only in exceptional cases, and must be requested at least one month in advance of the deadline.  

Proposal Preparation Guidelines

Submission Deadlines:

  1. March 06, 2015 - submission to Doctoral Program Director: Using the five-page proposal application that is posted on the Office of Research website under Internal Funding Programs, a doctoral student seeking funding under this program must submit a proposal to his or her doctoral program director on or before March 06, 2015. A student is encouraged to consult his or her Graduate Program Director prior to proposal preparation to determine whether the student meets eligibility/nomination requirements. The selection criteria for nominations are to be determined by the appropriate graduate committee. At the time of submission to the Office of Research, each proposal must include a letter of support signed by the faculty research advisor (See the Required Endorsements section of these guidelines).
  2. March 20, 2015 - submission to the Office of Research: The proposal, with the required signatures and nomination letter of support from the faculty research advisor, must be sent via email as a single pdf-formatted attachment to no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 20, 2015.

Award decisions, and notification of the outcome of the review, are expected by April 30, 2015.  Awarded funds will be available beginning June 1, 2015 and will be awarded upon documentation of meeting the three criteria under "Prior to Awarding Funds" listed above.

Proposal Format:

The format given in the attached proposal form must be observed rigorously; non-compliance with the format will result in the disqualification of a proposal. The proposal must be typewritten or word-processed, and the text must be within the printed margins of the proposal form. The proposal form provided must be used unless the applicant has obtained prior permission from the Office of Research to submit a proposal in an alternative format.  The proposal must include a current copy of the student's curriculum vitae (please include the submission date on the vitae). With faculty reviewers from many different fields across the University, the proposal should be written in plain English that is clear and unambiguous so that the proposal is understandable to readers completely outside the discipline. Nonetheless, the intellectual underpinnings of the research should be clear.

Required Endorsements:

The following signatures on the application cover page are required in order for a proposal to be eligible for consideration:

  1. Student Investigator--certifying agreement to the terms contained within these guidelines;
  2. Doctoral Program Director--verifying that the student has met (or is on track to meet) departmental/college comprehensive examination requirement(s) and endorsement of the nomination by the graduate faculty committee;
  3. Department Chair--verifying that the student is making satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements, and that the support requested is not available through the regular departmental operating budget;

In addition, a letter of support from the student’s faculty research advisor must be part of the single pdf-formatted attachment. The letter of support must describe the significance of the potential funding, potential benefits to CSU, and probability for successful completion of the research. The letter of support should also comment on the credentials of the student relative to the standards of his or her discipline.


Allowable expenses include: supply items related to the proposed research project; survey costs; computer time, where necessary, at locations other than Cleveland State University; purchase of library and testing materials; tuition expenses for attending a workshop or short course at another institution when required to gain skills integral to the research effort; travel related to the collection of data; and travel expenses related to presentation of dissertation research (including poster presentation) by the student investigator at a national meeting.  Travel expenses related to presentation of dissertation research are limited to a maximum of $1,200.00. If additional funds are awarded for the submission of an external grant proposal within the preceding year (up to $500, if unfunded, or up to $5,000, if funded), these funds may be used to supplement the doctoral stipend.

Non-allowable expenses include: word processing and reproduction costs for a dissertation; graphics, photographs or photocopying to be included in a dissertation; stipend or salary for the student’s academic advisor; salary for data input/keypunch operator; salary for a statistical consultant; travel to attend (but not present at) professional meetings; laptop; iPad (or any other tablet); ipod; iphone (or any other cell phone); and graduate tuition.

The Colleges will be responsible for monitoring the account for adherence to Cleveland State University’s accounting policies and practices.  Over-expenditure of the account(s) will be charged back to the College(s).

If questions arise concerning the acceptability of anticipated costs for support, they should be directed to Joy Yard, 687-9364,

Selection Criteria:

The purpose of the DRA is to make selective investments in doctoral students that will advance significant scholarship. The AY 2015-2016 DRA Evaluation Form that will be used by the University Research Council is provided below.

Notification of Award:

Applicants will be notified via email of funding decisions no later than May 1, 2015.

The evaluation form is attached to the end of the PDF version of the guidelines below.

Click here for a printable PDF version of these guidelines.