Funding Opportunities for Transportation Students at PSU

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Our Portland State University students conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of the world’s foremost transportation research faculty in planning and engineering. With an emphasis on learning by doing, students work on real transportation system projects with partners in our community. These partnerships lead to internships and rewarding careers after graduation. Below you'll find a variety of scholarships, fellowships, and other awards offered through our programs, PSU, or partners. Meet all of PSU's past transportation scholars dating back to 2006!

The best way to learn about the new GRA positions, local internships, PSU scholarships, award opportunities, and more is to join the PSU listserv for our student group ITE-STEP (Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning).

Graduate Research Assistants

Each year, 15–30 graduate students from engineering, urban studies & planning, and other fields are hired as graduate research assistants for PSU faculty. These students are often co-authors on project final reports and journal articles. TREC hires undergraduate student workers as well, who may work at processing data or similar tasks. Learn more about the assistantships at College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA): Graduate Student Financial Resources and at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Students from any college or university can join the Transportation Undergraduate Research Fellowship (TURF) program: a unique ten-week summer fellowship for undergraduates to get experience in transportation research. Hosted by the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, a hub of transportation innovation and expertise, fellows will work on research projects under the guidance of a research mentor.

TREC Foundation

Help the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State fund the future of active transportation with your donation! Applications for the 2022-2023 TREC Foundation Scholarships closed on March 2, 2022.


Walter H. Kramer Fellowship ($2,000)

Dr. Walter H. Kramer founded the first transportation studies center in the Department of Marketing (now School of Business Administration). Focusing on transportation research and education, Dr. Kramer believed that "the actions of an individual, of a college, can determine the future of our cities, our society," and devoted himself toward bringing "the resources of the faculty to bear on the problems of the community." This fellowship is aimed at providing financial support to PSU graduate students enrolled in transportation-related graduate programs and working on multi-disciplinary, multi-modal research connected with making a difference in "our cities, our society, and the community."

IBPI Active Transportation Scholarship ($3,000)

Through a generous donation from Alta Planning + Design, we are awarding a $3,000 scholarship to a PSU graduate student who is highly motivated to focus their studies on bicycling and walking as mainstream forms of transportation. The successful applicant will be seeking to better understand how communities integrate bicycling and walking through their planning and design processes. This scholarship is supported by our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) program.

IBPI Excellence in Active Transportation Scholarship ($4,000)

Funded by a generous donation from local transportation professional Mia Birk. This scholarship will be awarded to one or more graduate student who is highly motivated to focus their studies on bicycling and walking as mainstream forms of transportation. The successful applicant will be seeking to better understand how communities integrate bicycling and walking through their planning and design processes. The scholarship is a total of $4,000 and may be split between students. This scholarship is supported by our Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) program.

National Institute for Transportation and Communities

A program of TREC, the U.S. DOT funded National Institute for Transportation & Communities (NITC) offers annual scholarships to current and incoming PSU students in transportation as well as dissertation fellowships for Ph.D. candidates.

NITC Scholarships
If you are selected as a NITC Scholar, you will be expected to actively participate in TREC and NITC-sponsored activities on the PSU campus, such as the STEP student group events (join listserv to be notified when scholarship applications open) and the TREC Friday Transportation Seminars.
  • Awards will be $1,000-$3,000 and will be made in Winter/Spring. 
  • Students who received NITC Scholar funding in past years are eligible. 
  • Due to federal funding limitations, awards for students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be in the form of domestic travel funds to attend a transportation or professional development conference.

NITC Dissertation Fellowships
Open three times annually, we offer Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships of up to $15,000 to cover expenses for the recipient while working on a dissertation consistent with NITC's theme of improving the mobility of people and goods to build strong communities.

Local Awards

Portland State University
College of Urban and Public Affairs - a wide range of scholarships open to undergraduate and graduate planning students.
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science - a wide range of scholarships open to undergraduate and graduate students in civil engineering.

Coral Sales Company
Coral Sales Company of Portland, Oregon is pleased to offer two scholarships for the current school year of $1,000 each to outstanding individuals pursuing Civil Engineering studies or Construction Engineering studies in the School of Engineering.

Oregon Chapter American Public Works Association (APWA)
The Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation offers a variety of scholarships intended to promote and expand educational opportunities and vocational skills in public works and to support the development of public works professionals. Two scholarships are reserved for PSU students: $1,000 Michael Lindberg and $3,000 Civil Engineering.

Oregon Institute of Transportation Engineers (Oregon ITE)
Bill Kloos Scholarship (varies)
Oregon ITE Scholarship ($2,500)

Women in Transportation - Portland Chapter (WTS Portland)
Shelley Holley Transportation YOU Scholarship for High School Girls ($2,000)
Junior College/Trade School Scholarship ($1,500)
Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship ($4,500)
Helene M. Overly Memorial Graduate Scholarship ($4,500)
Leadership Legacy Scholarship Graduate Scholarship ($4,500)
Gail Achterman Leadership Scholarship Graduates & Undergraduates ($7,000)

National Awards

GIS for Transportation (GIS-T) Symposium (AASHTO)
The GIS-T Symposium would like to encourage GIS students, undergraduate and graduate, with an emphasis on transportation to submit their research to the GIS-T Symposium’s Student Paper Contest. The contest is designed to encourage university students to develop solutions to current GIS-T issues. Award includes $100, travel and registration to the GIS-T Symposium.

American Public Transportation Foundation (APTA)
Funding for this annual scholarship program ranges from $5,000 - 10,000 and requires an endorsement from a current APTA member. Contact TREC at for support on acquiring the endorsement.

Student Video Contest (ARTBA)
The Student Video Contest is aimed at helping students gain a better understanding of the importance of transportation infrastructure investment to the U.S. economy and quality of life, and to learn more about the industry and potential transportation construction career opportunities. $250 - 500 awards.

National Scholarship (COMTO)
The Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials annually awards multiple national academic scholarships, ranging from $500 to $6,000 each to minority graduate and undergraduate students from across the country. Scholarship awardees are represented in all academic backgrounds and pursuing various careers in the transportation industry.

Diversity Scholarship (DJ&A)
Qualified women and minority-status students (as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Program) who are pursuing or intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in our firm’s areas of practice, including engineering, surveying, GIS, landscape architecture, and environmental sciences.

Future Leaders Development Conference (Eno)
Each year, the Eno Future Leaders Development Conference (LDC) gives 20 of the nation’s top graduate students in transportation a first-hand look at how national transportation policies are developed. Students apply to the program early in the year, and those selected as “Eno Fellows” come to Washington, DC for a weeklong intensive program each spring.

Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (FHWA)
Awarded by FHWA, fellowships are granted to students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines. DDETFP awards are merit-based and generally result in 150-200 grants annually. Meet past PSU Eisenhowers here.

Meddin Emerging Researcher Scholarship (NABSA)
One year of access to members-only Knowledge Share database and webinars, and ticket to annual conference for the North American Bicycle Share and Scootershare Association.

Connect with Local Transportation Professionals

As soon as you are accepted into your program at PSU, students can begin developing their academic and professional lives through forging relationships between transportation students and professionals. Participate in events, apply for scholarships, and engage in mentorship programs through local chapters of professional development organizations.