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Fellowship Office

209 Coble Hall, GradFellowships@illinois.edu, (217) 333-0036

Tips on Submitting Nominations for Graduate College Fellowships and Grants

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The Graduate College provides support to outstanding graduate students through a number of fellowship programs. For all of the Graduate College awards, the students' departments must submit a nomination packet to the Graduate College. Some of the awards are only available for incoming students, while some of them are available for current students. The list below provides some general tips for departments and students to assist in the nomination process.

  • Read the competition guidelines posted at Graduate College Fellowship Opportunities.
    • The Graduate College has developed a comprehensive, searchable listing of University and external fellowship opportunities.
  • Make certain that the submission is complete, internally consistent, and arrives on or before the deadline.
    • The program guidelines of the major Graduate College competitions summarize the nature of the program and provide information about how the nomination packets will be evaluated. The descriptions also list the materials that must be submitted for each competition. Questions about eligibility or the requirements for submission may be directed to the Graduate College Fellowship Office (GradFellowships@illinois.edu or 333-0036). Late or incomplete nominations or proposals will not be considered unless extensions are granted prior to the deadline. Because the Fellowship Board tries to expedite its decision-making, extensions of more than 24 hours are rarely granted.
    • Students, advisers, and departments should work together to ensure that the nominations or applications are internally consistent and accurately reflect the student's research project (where required) and academic progress.
    • For research-related proposals, sufficient information should be provided about students' research projects so that readers can judge their significance, coherence, and feasibility.
    • Questions about the mechanics of the proposal submission may be directed to the Graduate College Fellowship Office at 333-0036 or GradFellowships@illinois.edu.
  • Make the case for the nominees.
    • Nominations may first be read by one of the Fellowship Board area committees, which are composed of faculty members from the disciplinary areas: Humanities and Creative Arts; Biological and Agricultural Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Engineering and Physical Sciences. These committees select the finalists, whose files are forwarded to the Fellowship Board Executive Committee, where the actual selections are made. The Fellowship Board Executive Committee consists of the chairs of the area committees, two graduate students, and the chair of the Fellowship Board.
    • Nominations for Graduate College Fellowships for Underrepresented Students are evaluated by a Fellowship Board Committee that is composed of faculty members from graduate programs in various disciplines.
    • Departments can greatly strengthen their nominations by providing a cover letter from the unit executive officer, graduate program director, or other appropriate person to explain why the department is excited about nominating this individual, why the project is important, or why the proposal is important. Explain any aspects of a student's record that are esoteric or could be perceived as weak (low GRE scores, low grades at a particular time or in a particular subject, and so forth).