Promising Scholar Award


ProcessNomination DeadlineNotification by
Round 1February 3, 2021February 12, 2021
Round 2March 3, 2021 | 3PM PSTMarch 12, 2021


The purpose of the Promising Scholar Award is to recruit highly qualified incoming graduate students from diverse backgrounds who add to the academic and scholarly excellence of the university.

The award is administered by the Graduate School in partnership with departments, schools and colleges, the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation, the Division of Equity and Inclusion, and the Office of the Provost to leverage our collective resources in support of our shared goals to increase the number of outstanding UO graduate students of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Please download the Promising Scholars Award guidelines.

Award Details

Benefits to Students

  • $6,000 top off stipend
  • GE support, or comparable funding, for 2 years of study
  • Invitation to participate in the Graduate School's fall awards reception
  • Quarterly socials and professional development opportunities

Finances of Award

Top Off Stipend

$6,000 stipend from the Graduate School, distributed to the student in one of several options detailed on the application. 

  • In three installments (i.e., $2,000 in three consecutive terms) in the student’s first year in the program
  • Provided at once in a single term (e.g., the first fall term to defray the cost of relocating)
  • As a single summer research or travel award/supplement
  • Divided in half and provided during the summer after their first and second years as a research or travel award/supplement


GE Support or Comparable Funding

At least two years of GE support or comparable funding is required. The GE support must be at a minimum .40 FTE appointment, or the typical FTE in the department, if higher.

Options for the first year are listed below. Regardless of option 1 or 2 in first year, the department is fully responsible for funding the GE in year 2.

  • Option 1: GE position fully supported by department or comparable funding. GE support could be a teaching, research or administrative appointment.
  • Option 2: Research GE position. Salary paid by the department and GE remissions (tuition, fee subsidy, insurance) provided by the Graduate School/VPRI.  Note that the Graduate School can only support a limited number of awards with this option. 

Eligibility and Criteria

The following criteria will be considered as part of the evaluation process:

  1. Students with strong academic promise that have been offered admission.
  2. Underrepresented populations, such as:
    • Female-identifying students pursuing degrees in STEM fields
    • Economically disadvantaged students
    • Underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities
    • Students with disabilities
    • First-generation students
  3. Students pursuing doctoral degrees, including in those programs that initially classify their doctoral students as master’s students.
    • However, students seeking admittance into master’s programs in fields where doctoral degrees are not offered will also be considered.
  4. Departments are also welcome to nominate international students.

Consideration of Multiple Nominations and Number of Awards

Departments can nominate up to 6 admitted applicants per round, who must be ranked in order of preferred consideration. Any nominee not selected for funding in the first round may be resubmitted again for consideration in the second round.

We encourage programs to keep their recruit apprised of their award status via a notification such as: “You’ve been nominated for a prestigious Graduate School award. We will alert you as soon as a decision about that nomination has been communicated to us.”

Awards are not transferable to other admitted students to same program.

If, after April 15 (the earliest date by which prospective students may be required to decide upon funded offers), awards remain uncommitted as a result of students’ declining the award, a new deadline will be set and additional nominations will be reviewed with as quick a turnaround as possible.

Nomination Instructions

Access to Awards Portal in GradWeb

In order to submit a nomination in GradWeb, you must have access to the awards module. The awards module can be accessed through two different GradWeb portals: the departmental portal and the faculty portal.

InformationDepartmental PortalFaculty Portal
Who has this type of access?Departmental staff who have submitted a GradWeb Access Form (typically graduate coordinators).All faculty have access to the faculty portal, though only directors of graduate studies, department heads, and two additional faculty can have access to the additional department view that includes the awards module.
Link to login
Location of awards moduleNavigate to “Awards” on the top toolbarNavigate to “Departmental View” on the top toolbar, then navigate to “Awards” in the top toolbar
I do not have access to the awards module

Submit a GradWeb access form requesting access to the awards module

Contact your graduate coordinator and ask them to follow the following steps to update department head/directors of graduate studies/additional faculty access

Instructions for coordinators: In GradWeb, navigate to: Admin ⇒ Head/Director Access ⇒ Make Updates ⇒ Submit

Submitting the Nomination in GradWeb

  1. Navigate to: Awards ⇒ Recruitment Awards ⇒ Submit application.

  2. Choose Promising Scholar Award. Enter the last name to find the student’s application for admission. Once you have selected an applicant, click “Start Application.”

  3. You will only be able to search for applicants who have been marked as “Admission Offered” or "Accepted Offer" in the Admissions module of GradWeb.

  4. Complete each of the four pages (student information, additional documents, letters of recommendation, and funding). Parts of the application including common fields (non-editable) are pulled from the application for admission and linked to the award application.

    • The "Save" button on any page will just save the information without attempting to validate that all the required information has been provided.

    • The "Save and continue" button will validate that all required information has been provided and will take you to a confirmation page.

    • The "Confirm" button on that page will mark that page as complete and take you to the next page in the process.

  5. Once these four pages (student information, additional documents, letters of recommendation, and funding) are complete (indicated by green check marks on the page names at the top), navigate to the "Complete App" page and submit the application.

Required and optional fields that are not pulled in from the applicant’s application for admission:

Student Information Page

Required Fields

  • Promising Scholar Round 1 (Deadline TBA) or Round 2 (Deadline TBA)
  • McNair Scholar: yes or no
  • National Name Exchange: yes or no
  • UO ID (95xxxxxxx)
  • Department Rank of Applicant (1-6)
  • Program Name
  • Assigned Advisor
  • Advisor Email
  • Department Director of Graduate Studies
  • Director of Graduate Studies Email
  • Financial Contact
  • Financial Contact Email
  • Graduate Coordinator
  • Graduate Coordinator Email

Optional Fields

  • GRE Scores: Verbal, quantitative reasoning and analytical percentiles
  • Undergraduate Cumulative GPA
  • Master's Cumulative GPA

Additional Documents Page

Required Fields

  • Unofficial transcripts.
  • Letter from Department Head in support of the student — please download the Promising Scholars Award guidelines.
  • Statement of Purpose – if there is already a statement of purpose attached to this section, it was pulled from the applicant’s application. If it was not pulled from the applicant’s application, upload in the Additional Supporting Documents section.

Optional Fields

  • Additional Supporting Documents:
    • If the applicant's statement of purpose is not uploaded in the Statement of Purpose field at the bottom of the Additional Documents page, upload it here.
    • If your program uses other systems (outside of the GradWeb application) to collect letters of recommendation for incoming students, please upload a PDF of the recommendations here.

Letters of Recommendation Page

For programs who use other systems (outside of the GradWeb application) to collect letters of recommendation for incoming students, please upload a PDF of the recommendations in the Additional Supporting Documents section.

Funding Page

The Promising Scholar Award consists of $6,000 disbursed directly to the student by the Graduate School and a GE appointment at a minimum .40 FTE, or the typical FTE in the department, if higher.

In the first year, the department can fully fund the GE (Option 1) or request Graduate School support (Option 2). In either case, the departments are fully responsible for funding the GE in year 2.

  • Option 1: GE position fully supported by department or comparable funding. This could be a teaching, research, or administrative GE appointment.

  • Option 2: Research GE position. Salary paid by the department and GE remissions (tuition, fee subsidy, insurance) provided by the Graduate School/VPRI.

Departments select option 1 or 2 on this page.

For questions about the submission process, contact Padma Akkaraju.

For questions about the Promising Scholar funding components, contact Lisa Howard.