Year 3 plus

Students in the Atmospheric Science, Chemical Oceanography, Physical Oceanography, and Climate Physics and Chemistry programs, and who are in their 3rd and subsequent years of graduate study may apply to the Houghton Fund for a variety of purposes. Most grants made from the Houghton Fund support student travel to scientific meetings, but students may apply for any support of other educational and research activities.


The application process is detailed below. All applications must be accompanied by a note from the student’s advisor explaining why the request is reasonable and an itemized budget. In most circumstances, the student is expected to obtain one-half of the necessary funding from other sources (usually the advisor's research grants), but special cases will be considered. If the remainder of the funding is to come from the advisor's funds, the note from the advisor should indicate their willingness to provide this funding. If the student has applied or plans to apply to additional sources of funding, this information must also be included in the request. Requests that include support from multiple sources of funding with EAPS and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program are likely to be denied to be fair to students enrolled in different programs. Computers and hardware are no longer covered. 

Requests and faculty endorsements must be received at least one month before any conference. There are no hard and fast rules (with one exception, noted below) covering applications to the Fund--the Houghton Fund Committee will consider each case on its merits. The following guidelines apply.


In the case of students seeking assistance with travel to conferences and workshops, the committee will consider all requests, but requests, where the student is presenting a talk, poster or equivalent, are favored.

Allowable expenses include accommodation, transportation, and meals. Car rental is not normally approved, unless there are special reasons for requiring it. While students may use (e.g.) government per diem rates in order to estimate likely expenses, reimbursement will be based on actual expenditure, not per diem rates. Experience indicates that actual expenses are usually considerably lower than published per diem rates.

It is expected that students will travel by the cheapest available means, and will take advantage of any savings requiring (e.g.) advance purchase or a Saturday night stay. It should be noted that processing of requests by the Houghton Fund usually takes 1-2 weeks, and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the committee receives the application in full (including the advisor’s note of support) in sufficient time to permit this.

The Committee must have the complete request at least one month in advance of actual travel. No retroactive or late requests will be considered: they are automatically declined. 


The Houghton Fund Committee will consider requests from students, individually or collectively, for support of legitimate educational or research matters. The Committee will assess each such application on its merits, taking into account the likely benefit of the proposed activity to the student's intellectual and professional development or to the PAOC student body as a whole. 

Note that a student's mainstream PhD research is expected to be funded through the advisor's grants and the Committee will not normally approve requests to support such research. However, in circumstances when the student's research departs substantially from the original purview of the advisor's grants, the Committee will consider requests but will normally require that the advisor provides matching funds to cover one-half of the necessary support.


  1. Fill out and have your advisor sign the linked faculty advisor approval form. 
  2. Fill out the linked application form; within the form, you will upload the advisor approval form (above) and the advisor note regarding 50% of expenses (if applicable). 
  3. The application form will automatically be sent to the Houghton Committee and Kayla. You will be informed of your application status within one week from your application date. After approval, make the purchases, and bring/send the receipts to Kayla for reimbursement.


**Please note that reimbursements for travel cannot be made until the travel has occurred. 

Updated, September 19th 2022.