Big Ten Academic Alliance Benefits for Graduate Students

Published: Tues., October 16

In 2011, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln became a member of the Big Ten conference. Aside from competing in another athletic conference, many students may not be aware that this transition also came with unique benefits for them as well. Included in that membership was the ability to participate in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). Two years ago, the CIC became the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). The Alliance has built “powerful academic and research connections” for its member institutions’ faculty and students.

What does this mean for you as a graduate student? The Big Ten Academic Alliance allows students from member institutions to have access to millions of library volumes, resources and materials, collaboration opportunities in a national and international scope, as well as the ability to share “massive research data” made possible by the BTAA internet connections. Below are some of the opportunities available to students through the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

Smithsonian Institution Fellowship

This fellowship supports doctoral students interested in conducting research at Smithsonian Institution facilities. It’s available to doctoral students in candidacy who have completed all requirements except the dissertation. The one-year fellowship carries a stipend of $36,000. This is a great opportunity for students in disciplines like art, history, or the sciences that might want to make use of the resources and experts in your field located at the Smithsonian Institution's many museums and research facilities. Applications are due November 1st. More information on the Smithsonian Fellowship is available at this website.

Traveling Scholar Program

This program allows doctoral students to spend up to a full academic year working on a specialized course of study, researching unique library collections and working in advanced laboratories or facilities at other BTAA institutions with no change in registration procedures from their home university or additional tuition. This is beneficial for students who want to participate in opportunities for learning and research not available at UNL. For more information:

Course Sharing

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were unable to take a class perhaps because it wasn't current offered by your department? Perhaps, there is a specialty class is advanced statistics that your department is not currently able to offer. BTAA offers a course sharing program for students to take courses from a distance at other Big Ten institutions. Faculty advisers and/or departments must contact the BTAA and the partner institutions; students can't arrange this without faculty support. Look here to learn about how to share course between two institutions.

Library Borrowing

This opportunity allows students to optimize access to collections of its member libraries through some specific services. While this may sound similar to the Interlibrary Loan program, the BTAA’s program is more extensive and includes special collections and some resources that might not ordinarily be available to those not connected with that university. For more information, check out: or

For more information about the Big Ten Academic Alliance: