UC Dissertation-Year Fellowship

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 $23,000 stipend, payment of in-state fees, travel allowance and $3,000 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).
  • 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.
  • Students who have activated their Doctoral Completion Fellowship must be within one academic year beyond their degree program’s total “Normative Time to Degree” (NT+1) by the end of spring 2021.
  • 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 her/his dissertation research, one on the Berkeley campus and one at another university in California
  • 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)
  • Fellows may work during one semester only, in a GSI, AI-GS, GSR, Reader, or Tutor appointment of 25% time or less.
  • Forego Graduate Division funding after fellowship tenure. (This includes departmental block grants, Conference Travel Grants, Summer Grants, and Berkeley Connect Fellowships; awards from departmental endowments are permitted, as is university employment and loan funding.)

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):

Student Nominee

  1. Inquire with your department regarding its internal competition for attaining a nomination.
  2. If you are selected by your department as a nominee, you will receive an email inviting you to submit an online application. Applications must be submitted by the stated deadline. 

Department Nominator

  1. Submit your student nomination(s) via the GSAO Slate Portal. Students will receive an invitation to apply within 90 minutes of submission of the form. Please keep in mind that the student will need additional time to complete and submit their application by the deadline.
  2. Upload letters of support from the Department Chair and the student’s faculty adviser.
    Letters can be provided in one of two ways:
    1. Via the Slate nomination form at the time of nomination
    2. After the nomination is submitted, locate the student’s record in Slate and upload letters directly to the student’s application. Please select Fellowship Nomination Memo for the Department Chair's letter and Fellowship Supporting Letter for the Adviser's letter.

Application must include:

From Student Nominee

  • 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)

From Department (to be submitted via online nomination/Slate)

  • 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 the reviewed two dissertation chapters or the equivalent.

For more information, contact Michael Sacramento by phone at (510) 642-7739 or by email at msacram@berkeley.edu.

Contact Us

Michael Sacramento
Fellowships Administrator
Phone: (510) 642-7739