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By making supportive investments in talks, panels, series, workshops, symposia and, for exceptional cases, conferences, the purpose of the revised DOS Grant fund is to encourage broader collaboration among established student organizations and journals in their work of broadening the perspectives of the HLS community, while simultaneously helping emerging or less visible (sometimes both) student organizations find opportunities to add fresh perspectives to an already vibrant community of conversations.


Officially recognized student organizations and journals may apply. Student Practice Organizations and Harvard University Graduate Student Organizations are not eligible. Any additional questions about eligibility should be directed to

Application Process

Unlike years past, the DOS Grant Fund will grant awards once a year during the fall semester. We will accept applications for the 2018-2019 academic year between August 15, 2018 and September 30, 2018. Failure to submit an application within the deadline will automatically disqualify your application—no exceptions will be made. Because we are expanding the time period when eligible student organizations and journals may apply, we will issue grant decisions on a rolling basis up to the deadline, mindful that some grant fund applications may require funding for events that occur prior to the September 30th deadline.

DOS Grant Fund Awards

Eligible student organizations or journals can apply for grants in the following amounts: $500, $2,000, $3,000, and $4,000. However, there is a rub. There are three of them to be exact:

First, in order to be considered for a grant of $2,000, at least two eligible student organizations or journals must be part of the proposal; to be considered for a $3,000 award, you will need at least three eligible student organizations or journals; to be considered for a $4,000 award, you will need at least four eligible student organizations or journals.

Second, each eligible student organization or journal may only be part of two award proposals as either the primary or as a co-sponsoring applicant. Two is the magic number, so make sure you are deliberate in choosing the organization(s) with which you have the best chance at putting together a thoughtful and compelling proposal.

Of course, you can always take the position that one is actually the magic number and that my organization would rather not collaborate with other organizations, and we will simply use our two bites of the DOS Grant Fund apple to apply for two $500 awards. This is a perfectly reasonable position to take, of course, and all student organizations and journals are certainly welcome to apply for one or even two $500 grants. But be reminded that attention will be paid to the applications of emerging and less visible organizations or journals, in order to assist them with introducing their ideas and perspectives to the HLS community without having to collaborate with more established organizations.

DOS Conference Awards

DOS will give consideration to granting awards in the amount of $10,000 for up to three exceptional proposals that take the form of a conference. We want to underline that the operative words here are give consideration to and exceptional proposals—there may be some years when no conference award is made (nothing really exceptional is proposed) and there may be years when three conference awards are made (look at all these creative minds at work). Exceptional, of course, is not a term of art, we know, so it’s best to think, we’ll know it when we see it—and when your colleagues see it in the event that a conference award(s) is granted!

You might be asking what makes a conference a conference instead of a symposium. Well according to the interwebs, at least, a symposium is akin to a small scale conference, so think big, think numerous speakers, multiple panels, possibly a plenary session or two, breakout sessions, think something that would attract lots of people, create serious intellectual buzz and anticipation, and you might also think about putting together a conference proposal that would take place over the course of at least one day.

DOS Conference Award funding, like DOS Grant Fund Award funding, is conditioned upon the number of student organizations or journals taking part in the proposal. For a conference award to be considered, a minimum of seven student organizations or journals will be required as part of a conference proposal. Additionally, conference award winners will be required to work closely with DOS to create a timeline of deliverables leading up to the date of the conference, and they will also be required to create a check-in calendar to provide updates on conference planning.

Now about that third rub—each eligible student organization or journal may be a part of only one conference award proposal. In other words, no “conference shopping.” We want to see interested organizations working together to develop a conference proposal that each participating applicant organization is equally passionate about and committed to bringing to the HLS community.

Application Guidelines

  • Eligible student organizations or journals may be part of a maximum of two grant applications as either the primary applicant or as a co-sponsoring applicant. This includes Dean’s Grant Awards and Dean’s Conference Awards. Two, to repeat, is the magic number!
  • Eligible organizations may not be part of more than one Dean’s Conference Award application.
  • All applications must be submitted electronically through a Qualtrics survey that will be distributed on August 15th.
  • All applications must include a detailed budget that includes estimated costs for event space, speakers, speaker transportation, lodging and reasonable meal costs, catering/food, and AV/media services.

If you have questions about the DOS Grant Fund, please contact the Student Life Program Manager, Sam Parker (, the Director of Community Engagement and Equity, Mark Jefferson (, or the Senior Director of Student Affairs and Administration, Jeff McNaught (