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Frequently Asked Questions

Student Chapter Members

Get answers quickly to some of our most common questions about Student Chapters at SPIE.

Please note: The Officer Travel Grant and Volunteer Travel Grant Programs have been suspended for 2021 SPIE events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can still find information about these grant programs in the Student Chapter Handbook.


SPIE defines a student as someone engaged in full-time studies, who has not yet attained their terminal degree. Post-Docs are not eligible for Student Membership and discounts.

SPIE accepts checks (in USD), money orders, purchase orders, and bankwire transfers. Download an individual membership application for more information.

When renewing online you must make sure to also select your Student Chapter Affiliation from a drop-down menu. If a specific Chapter is not selected, your Chapter Membership will not be renewed. Contact students@spie.org to fix this problem. Please note, it will take at least 24 hours before your name appears on your SPIE Chapter website roster.

US chapters looking to open a bank account must complete and submit IRS Form SS-4 directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to receive their EIN. On an annual basis, US Chapters need to file the 990-N tax form. This form is very short, but if not filed for three consecutive years, the organization will automatically lose its tax-exempt status.

Some chapters may prefer to conduct bulk Memberships instead of individual membership renewals in order to pay for all memberships at once using one payment method. This is an option for all chapters who wish to pay for 10 or more Memberships. In order to do this, please complete our Bulk Membership Renewal Form. You may also include new Members on this form, so long as all fields are completed. Once completed, please send the form to students@spie.org. We will review the information and send an invoice for payment.



Individual Chapter logos should be used to promote events that are run or sponsored by the Chapter. Chapters can use their logo as they see fit to create their identity. If the Chapter sponsors events that they did not organize and/or run, then the logo should only be used to identify the Chapter as a sponsor. Sponsorship may involve monetary funding, donated supplies, or volunteering your time.

It depends. The GIF logos provided by SPIE are small in size (180x50px) but have transparent backgrounds, making them ideal for websites with colored backgrounds. The provided JPG logo is larger (500x160px) but has a white background. For other sizes, we recommend scaling the three color (RGB) EPS file and then saving it as a JPG or GIF.

EPS files were created using Illustrator 11.0 while GIFs and JPGs were created with Photoshop 7.0.

Generally, Chapters are asked not to use the SPIE Corporate logo except to specifically identify the organization. Events organized by our Student Chapters require enormous amounts of time and dedication. These new logos were designed to increase the visibility of our Chapters while giving proper credit where it is due.



The Student Chapter Leadership Workshop is an event during which all Student Chapter Officers can gather to share information, network, and participate in educational and professional development activities. The theme of the Workshop varies each year but topics usually include: Education and Public Outreach, Career Development, and Chapter Building and Management skills. This event features outstanding speakers and a fun-filled atmosphere! For 2020-2021, SCLW events will be virtual and registration is free! Keep an eye out for communications regarding dates and times.

Of course! All Student Chapter Members are welcome at the SCLW. However, we must know who is coming so that we can provide materials for these added students. All extra attendees must be approved by Student Services and we reserve the right to limit the number of participants if necessary. Please email students@spie.org with a list of additional students planning to attend.



SPIE wants to help your chapter stay active. Every year, each chapter in good standing is eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in funding to conduct chapter activities via the Student Chapter Annual Report and Activity Grant Application, which is due on 1 December each year.

This is a competitive grant process wherein chapters must demonstrate a need for the amount requested in the application and the final funding amounts will be decided based on the quality of the report, quality of the funding request, and number of student members affiliated to the chapter. Approved applications submitted by 1 December will be paid out by the following March.

The 2021 activity grant application includes an additional $500 to support virtual or in-person speaker stipends and regional travel. This format replaces the Visiting Lecturer Program you might have been familiar with. It allows more freedom and flexibility for chapters to arrange visits throughout the year directly without requiring pre-approval or for speakers to be selected from a directory. Chapters will manage speaker invitations and any payments or reimbursements directly. In your Annual Report, you will be asked to provide details on events you hosted including name, affiliation, lecture title and if it is a virtual or in person event.

Your Student Chapter is directly responsible for reimbursing the lecturer. You may use funding acquired from the Career Advancement Speaker Program to do this.