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College of Engineering

Western Transportation Institute
P.O. Box 174250
Bozeman, MT 59717-4250

Physical Address:
2327 University Way #6
Bozeman, MT 59715

Tel: (406) 994-6114
Fax: (406) 994-1697
E-mail: WTI Office


Steve Albert



Student Funding Opportunities

Student Funding Opportunities

The Western Transportation Institute currently offers a number of research awards to promising graduate and undergraduate students to pursue transportation research work. Graduate Transportation Awards support students' research activities on transportation projects as they work toward an advanced degree. The Undergraduate Research Experience Program provides undergraduate students with paid hands-on research experience and one-on-one mentoring with a professional researcher at WTI. In addition to annual research awards, WTI and the Wildlife Conservation Society jointly initiated a two-year graduate fellowship in 2003 for a Native American student interested in studying wildlife and transportation issues. Information on student research and funding opportunities at WTI are provided in more detail below.

Graduate Transportation Awards

In order to strengthen the nation's pool of transportation professionals, WTI provides graduate assistantship awards each year to students pursuing a master's or other advanced degree with a transportation focus. Two types of awards are currently available:

1. Transportation Award A

(for students completing a Plan A (Thesis) master's degree or doctorate)

Award amounts:
  • $18,000 annual stipend ($1,200/month during academic year; $2,400/month over summer)
  • A tuition waiver for up to nine credit hours per semester of approved graduate coursework

Transportation Award A covers up to two years of graduate work for master's students and up to three years for Ph.D. students. Research award recipients will work 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters and 40 hours per week during the summer performing research activities at WTI. Awardees must produce an approved thesis or dissertation on a transportation-related topic. Research work performed may count towards thesis/dissertation with the approval of the academic advisor.

2. Transportation Award B

(for students completing a Plan B (Professional Paper) master's degree)

Award amounts:
  • $12,000 annual stipend ($700/month stipend during academic year; $1,900/month over summers)
  • A $2,000 tuition and fee waiver each semester for up to three semesters of academic coursework (fall, spring, and summer)

Transportation Award B is intended for students interested in completing a professional paper for their master's degree. Award recipients will receive a 12-month appointment and will work 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and 40 hours per week during the summer performing research activities at WTI.

Eligibility and Selection:

All award recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, must be formally admitted into a graduate program at Montana State University, and must be enrolled full-time in an academic program leading to an advanced degree.

A review committee comprised of WTI researchers and MSU faculty will evaluate applicants based on academic performance, related work experience and performance, academic or professional recommendations, and compatibility of research goals and interests with the resources of WTI.

Terms and Conditions:

After an award is made, the award recipient is required to meet with a WTI researcher and an academic advisor to discuss required coursework and research activities. Award recipients may not hold combined appointments (including research or teaching assistantships) that exceed 20 hours per week. Therefore, Award A recipients may not hold a second appointment.

All awards are contingent upon the recipient's academic and research performance.

The application deadline each academic year is March 1.

download Graduate Transportation Award Application Form

acrobat To view the application you need Adobe Reader, download.

Undergraduate Research Experience Program (URE)

The Western Transportation Institute offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to gain significant transportation research experience. The Undergraduate Research Experience Program (URE) is year-long research program for advanced undergraduate students at MSU. Successful applicants will develop a research work plan on a transportation problem of interest and will work together with a professional researcher at WTI to execute their research plan, to produce a final report, and to present their results to staff and peers at the end of the program.

Careers and graduate programs in science and engineering require demonstrable analytical and communication skills. To be competitive, students must be able to show that they are capable of independent and creative thinking in their fields. The URE provides a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a professional researcher at WTI, paid hands-on research experience, assistance in developing valuable skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation and in communicating research results to a broader public. Students will also receive paid travel opportunities for successful paper submissions to professional conferences.

Award Amounts:

Students will receive $13 an hour for their research work and are eligible for student travel funds to present at a professional conference, pending successful paper submission. Participants will be expected to work 15-20 hours per week on their projects during the Fall and Spring semesters.

The application deadline each academic year is September 15.

For further information and application procedures, download the announcement below:

download Undergraduate Research Experience Application Form

acrobat To view the application you need Adobe Reader, download.

Graduate Fellowship for Native Americans in Wildlife and Transportation

The Western Transportation Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have pooled available resources to make a graduate fellowship opportunity available to a Native American student interested in pursuing research on wildlife and transportation issues.

The goal of the WTI/WCS Graduate Fellowship is to provide an opportunity to a tribal member to study the interaction of transportation infrastructure on wildlife. The 2003-2005 fellowship award recipient conducted research on animal-vehicle collisions and highway fragmentation of wildlife habitat on U.S. Highway 93 on the Flathead Reservation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana. The highway is slated for a reconstruction project that includes 42 fish and wildlife crossing structures as well as the installation of wildlife-proof fencing. The magnitude of this project is unprecedented in Montana and offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife crossing structures. The fellowship recipient was a recognized member of a North American tribe and successfully completed a Masters degree in Ecology at Montana State University.

Continuation of the WTI/WCS Graduate Fellowship will be contingent on future availability of funds.