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The Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund was established in 2012 thanks to the generosity of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust in support of the graduate students and graduate program in musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. This fund is administered by the Chair of the Department of Music, acting on recommendations made by the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee.

The Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund supports academic activities broadly conceived. The list below of areas that the Kenan Fund supports is not comprehensive but is intended to serve as a guide. Proposals not falling squarely in one of these categories will still be considered.

  • Academic events, such as conferences or lectures outside of the Carolina Symposia in Music and Culture (CSMC), organized by graduate students. Evidence of support sought from other internal or external sources will weigh heavily in approving these requests.
  • Research connected to the completion of a master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or scholarly publication.
  • Conference participation. Preference will be given to students presenting a paper or participating in a programmed event. Requests to attend specialized conferences by students who are not participating in an official way will also be considered.
  • Professional development activities. Students must make a compelling case as to how the activity serves their careers in music studies, whether they plan to pursue employment within the professoriate or utilize their graduate degrees in music for other professional opportunities.
  • Collaborative scholarly work between students and faculty at UNC-CH and beyond.
  • Supplementary support for existing departmental-based graduate student programs to include the James W. Pruett Summer Research Fellowships in Music at the Library of Congress and the King’s College partnership.

Award Stipulations

The maximum amount of an award will depend on the nature of the activity. The Committee will give priority to students who have applied for funding from other, non-departmental sources.

Airfare must be for economy only and at competitive rates.

Funds to reimburse hotel costs for attending conferences will normally amount to one quarter the cost of the room for national conferences (e.g., AMS, IASPM-US, SAM, SEM, SMT) and usually no more than one-half for specialized and/or international conferences. Funds can also be used to offset registration costs. The Kenan Fund does not provide per diems.

Application Procedure

Submissions to the Director of Graduate Studies (for the Graduate Admission and Financial Aid Committee) must include the following:

  1. A project proposal (1 page maximum), with a specific statement of the activity’s significance to the student’s research and/or professional development and outcome (e.g., symposium, conference paper, MA thesis, article, workshop, etc.);
  2. Documentation about funding from other sources, if available (e.g., a copy of the letter or email concerning the award);
  3. The applicant’s c.v. (2 pages maximum) (for multiple application submissions, one copy of the c.v. is sufficient);
  4. A detailed budget with amounts for each line item (per diem requests will not be funded).

These four items must be emailed to the Director of Graduate Studies as an attachment in a single PDF.


The Director of Graduate Studies, on behalf of the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid committee, accepts applications on a rolling basis. It is recommended that applications be submitted well ahead of any relevant deadlines or conference dates. Please be advised that outside of the time of the semester, review of applications will be slower in accordance with committee members’ availability.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by the Director of Graduate Studies. Funds will be distributed by the department’s business manager via GradStar upon the notification of the award (see Reimbursement below).

Applications not funded will only rarely be reconsidered, and then only when revised in response to feedback from the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid committee, as conveyed by the Director of Graduate Studies. Partially funded applications will not be reconsidered for full funding.


Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria (in no order of priority):

  1. Academic good standing of the student;
  2. Clarity, specificity of the proposal including budget;
  3. Likelihood that the activity will enhance a student’s scholarly or professional development or provide a valuable service to the department, university, profession, or public;
  4. Relevance of the activity to the student’s course of study.


After the applicant is notified of the amount of their financial award, the department’s business manager will initiate reimbursement through GradStar. Disbursement usually takes one week to process.

Please note: disbursements cannot be made in the summer when graduate students are not enrolled. In the case of awards made during the summer, reimbursement is made at the beginning of the fall semester.


All recipients of the Kenan Graduate Student Activities Fund are required to submit a final report (1–2 pages maximum PDF) summarizing the activity’s outcomes to the Director of Graduate Studies. The report should be submitted no later than the end of the semester (or summer) in which the funded activity concludes. Further applications to the Kenan Fund will not be considered until report(s) for previous awards have been submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies.

The purpose of this report is to detail the importance that this funding has had on the student’s work in the short and long term. Thus, in addition to summarizing the work that was supported by the fund, students should indicate how that work has advanced their progress through the graduate program and has served to prepare them for careers. Students may also be asked to publicly present their funded work on behalf of the Graduate Program in Musicology and the Kenan Trust.

(Updated September 2022)