Graduate School Exploration Program (GRADx)

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The Graduate School Exploration (GRADx) program provides students from underrepresented backgrounds an immersive opportunity to learn about graduate study. GRADx is a year-long program that consists of two forums hosted at partner Big Ten Academic Alliance campuses.


  • Enrichment workshops and activities that provide valuable insights about graduate study,
  • Participation in two forums at Big Ten Academic Alliance research universities, and
  • Networking with currents graduate students & faculty from Big Ten Academic Alliance universities, and other GRADx students from all 14 ACM colleges.

Eligibility and Requirements

The GRADx program is designed for students interested in pursuing study and research in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and arts. Students at ACM colleges who are interested in applying for the program should consult the  2024-25 GRADx Application Guide and their campus contact.

All qualified first-year, sophomore, and junior students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply for GRADx, including:

      • African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders;
      • DACA students
      • International students
      • First-generation college students; and
      • Individuals who have followed non-traditional pathways to college due to exceptional talent and motivation in the face of adversity, such as societal, economic, or academic disadvantages.

Applicants should show an interest in pursuing graduate study in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, or arts. Please note that this does NOT include programs leading to professional degrees, e.g. medical school (M.D.), law school (J.D.), or business school (MBA).

Participation in GRADx Forums

All GRADx students must attend two forums hosted by the ACM and the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The Fall forum will be September 2024 at Indiana University and the Spring forum will be in April 2025 at University of Illinois.


For questions about the GRADx program, contact Allen Linton II, ACM Senior Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, or visit the FAQ page.

These programs and the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate are supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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