UC Dissertation-Year Fellowship

Deadline: March 1, 2024

UC Berkeley is committed to recognizing and rewarding student’s contributions to diversifying the academy during their graduate careers and beyond. The purpose of this fellowship award is to provide funding to diverse doctoral students that allow them to prioritize and focus on completing the dissertation. Fellows will receive a $30,000 stipend, payment of in-state fees, travel allowance ($1,000 maximum) and $6,000 bonus for early dissertation filing.

NOTE: UC Dissertation-Year fellowships are for doctoral students in academic programs only. Professional programs are not eligible. Preference will be given to nominees who have not received other major fellowships.

To be eligible:

  • Student must have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Student may be undocumented (AB540, Non-AB540 with DACA).
  • Student must have advanced to doctoral candidacy and completed two dissertation chapters or the equivalent, as confirmed by dissertation chair.
  • Student must be making adequate progress towards degree, as certified by their dissertation chair.
  • Student must be in an academic program. Professional programs are not eligible.

Selection will be based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Preference will be given to nominees who have not received other major fellowships.
  • Evidence of capacity to file one’s dissertation by the end of fellowship tenure
  • Experience of situations or conditions which were an impediment to advancing to graduate study, such as the absence of a family member who attended college; matriculation at a school or schools with poor financial or curricular support; having a physical or learning disability; or having worked long hours while attending school; or academic research interests focusing on cultural, societal or educational problems as they affect educationally disadvantaged segments of society; or evidence of an intention to use the doctoral degree toward serving educationally underrepresented segments of society

Additional criteria to be considered:

  • Research interests focusing on underserved populations and understanding issues of racial or gender inequalities
  • Academic service advancing equitable access to higher education for women and racial minorities in the fields where they are underrepresented
  • Evidence of an intention to use the doctoral degree toward serving marginalized and underrepresented populations

Requirements of UC Dissertation Fellows:

  • Present two seminars on their dissertation research, one on the Berkeley campus and one at another university in California. Fellows are also encouraged to present their research at relevant academic conferences.
  • Attend University events, as selected by the Office of the President and Office of Graduate Diversity, such as the Fall Diversity Reception, UC Dissertation Orientation Meetings and others (TBD)
  • Attend at least 3 dissertation completion workshops as designated by the Graduate Division and/or the Office for Graduate Diversity
  • Attend check-in sessions once each semester with the Graduate Division and/or the Office for Graduate Diversity to discuss progress of the dissertation
  • Accept no employment other than a GSI, AI-GS, GSR, Reader, or Tutor appointment no more than 25% time across the two semesters of funding (e.g., 50% during one of the two semesters or 25% during both). No other positions or appointments may be held. 

Faculty Adviser Responsibilities:

  • Provide direct support in overcoming academic obstacles
  • Assist in ensuring dissertation completion by the end of the year
  • Assess and suggest valuable opportunities to present research
  • Assist in preparing for postdoctoral/teaching positions (interviewing, writing letters of reference) 

APPLICATION PROCESS (TWO-STEP process which includes a NOMINATION by the student’s DEPARTMENT):

1. Department Nominator
Submit your student nomination(s) via the GSAO Slate Portal. Students will receive an invitation to apply within 90 minutes of submission of the nomination form. Please keep in mind that the student will need additional time to complete and submit their application by the deadline.

Nomination must include:
  • A letter from the Department Chair supporting the nomination and confirming the nominee’s eligibility. The letter should address how the nominee meets the selection criteria. This letter must also be signed by the department’s Equity Adviser.
  • A letter from the nominee’s adviser describing the dissertation project and its importance, and attesting that they have read and reviewed two dissertation chapters or the equivalent.
2. Student Nominee
If you are selected by your department as a nominee, you will receive an email inviting you to submit an online application by the deadline. 
Note: To attain a nomination, inquire with your department regarding its internal competition.

Application must include:
  • One page Personal Statement which addresses how the nominee’s background, including financial need, fits within the criteria
  • One page summary of the dissertation written in non-technical language
  • Detailed outline of the dissertation (not to exceed four pages)
  • Unofficial graduate transcript(s)
For more information, contact Michael Sacramento by email at msacram@berkeley.edu.

Contact Us

Michael Sacramento
Fellowships Administrator