Promising Scholar Award


The purpose of the Promising Scholar Awards is to recruit outstanding new graduate students of diverse backgrounds and experiences to advance the inclusive excellence of graduate programs and the institution as a whole.

The award program is administered by the Graduate School in partnership with departments, schools and colleges, the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation (VPRI), the Division of Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and 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.  

Student Eligibility and Preferred Criteria

Nominations on behalf of master’s and doctoral students will be considered. However, because the UO is a public research university where excellence in graduate education, particularly doctoral study, is a key distinguishing feature, award priority preference will be given in the following order to recruits who are from underrepresented populations; women pursuing degrees in STEM fields in which women are underrepresented; or economically disadvantaged. Additionally, recruits should (1) enhance the number of students pursuing UO doctoral degrees (including in those programs that initially classify their doctoral students as master’s students); or (2) be seeking admittance into master’s programs in fields in which the UO does not offer a doctoral degree.

While the majority of these awards will be given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in order to increase the diversity of students from underrepresented domestic populations, a small number of these awards will be awarded to international students, consistent with previous practice. All students receiving this award, both domestic and international, are known as Promising Scholars.

Students who have already accepted an offer of admission or who are currently enrolled in a UO graduate degree program are not eligible for award nomination.

Components of Support

Graduate Employee (GE) Appointment: REQUIRED Departmental Match

The department/graduate program is required to commit to supporting the Promising Scholar with at least two academic years (6 terms) of a guaranteed GE appointment. The department/program is responsible for providing the salary portion of the GE appointment for all corresponding terms for both of the options listed below. For option 2 the Graduate School will provide the tuition and benefits portion of the GE appointment for the student during the first year. The salary provided must be at a minimum of a .40 FTE or the standard departmental GE appointment if higher than a .40 FTE. 

Award of $6,000

The $6,000 award can be distributed in one of the following ways:

Option 1: Direct Student Award of $6,000

The $6,000 award is allocated directly to the student by the Graduate School within their first two years of study. Departments indicate to the Graduate School how the award should be distributed. The department can specify one of the following options:

  • 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


Option 2: Department Research GE Appointment (these positions were formerly called “non-service GE” positions)

The $6,000 is given to the department/graduate program to offset payroll costs during the student’s first year. The Research GE (previously called non-service GE) appointment requires that the only work obligation is to the student’s own research. The Research GE appointment support level must be consistent with those of the department’s standard GE salary, and the department pays for any part of the GE stipend that exceeds $6,000. As part of the award, the Graduate School will provide the tuition and benefits portion of the GE appointment for the student during appointment terms for the first year. The tuition and benefits support specifically includes:

  • 100% tuition remission for full-time enrollment 
  • Mandatory fee support during the first three terms of support leaving just $61 for the student to pay
  • Access to the GE insurance plan, with 95% of the premiums paid on the student’s behalf


Nomination Deadline:

Notification by:

Round 1

1:00 pm, Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

Round 2

1:00 pm, Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019


Consideration of Multiple Nominations and Number of Awards

Departments can nominate up to six students, which must be ranked in order of preferred consideration.

Any nominee not selected for funding in the first round may be resubmitted agaon for consideration in the second round. We encourage departments/graduate 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.”

If, after April 15 (the earliest date by which prospective students may be required to decide upon funded offers- see CGS Resolution), 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 Process

The portal for nominations can be accessed via Grad Web . Submission instructions.


Graduate School Review

The Graduate School’s review will take into account funding available during each nomination cycle, priority preference (i.e., doctoral students and master’s students in fields in which there is no doctoral program), and diversity criteria as outlined above, as well as the academic promise of the student and the nature of the matching support as described in the nomination packet. Notification, which may include further negotiation on the proposed support described in the nomination, will be made on the timeline above.


Department’s Obligation

Once the Graduate School has approved the award, it is the department’s responsibility to:  

  1. Inform the student, department head, faculty mentor/assigned advisory, and Hannah Schneider-Lynch ( of the Promising Scholar Award via email, using the template provided at the end of this document. The notification must clearly identify all aspects of support and note that subsequent years/terms of support are contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree as published by the department and the Graduate School.
  2. Once the student has accepted admission and the Promising Scholar Award, the department must submit a copy of the written acceptance to the Graduate School. Please email this to Hannah Schneider-Lynch (
  3. Name and provide a faculty advisor who agrees to mentor the incoming student during their first year in the graduate program. Name the departmental Budget Manager and Graduate Coordinator/Secretary.
  4. If your department is receiving a tuition remission and benefits package, you must provide Lisa Howard ( with a general fund index.
  5. Obtain specific written approval from the Dean of the Graduate School prior to implementation if circumstances arise where the department must alter the amount or schedule of matched support for stipend, tuition or benefits. Note that if approval is unable to be granted, increased department obligations may result.
  6. Return any funding not awarded to the student as outlined in the approved financial summary to the Graduate School within one term of its non-use. 

Graduate School Obligation

  1. The Graduate School will offer PSA training for all departments intending to put forth nominations.
  2. Prior to the term of approved tuition package support and after receiving the student’s written acceptance and information, the Graduate School and VPRI financial staff will work with the department’s budget/office manager and graduate coordinator on the process for allocating and distributing funds.
  3. If your department is receiving a tuition remission and benefits package, a budget change will be done in Fall term for that student.
  4. Promising Scholars will receive a welcome message from the Dean of the Graduate School and will be invited to the Graduate School’s Fall Awards reception. First-year Promising Scholars will be recognized at the event.
  5. All incoming Promising Scholars will be invited to attend a fall orientation
  6. Quarterly Professional Development Opportunities will be made available for all Promising Scholars
  7. Quarterly Socials will be offered for all incoming Promising Scholars
  8. Faculty Mentor/Assigned Advisor will receive notification via email with the name(s) of their Promising Scholar(s) and their obligations as a mentor.
  9. The Graduate School will provide a mentoring training for all Faculty Mentor/Assigned Advisors


For questions about the submission process, contact Hannah Schneider-Lynch,

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

Eligibility Criteria: 
Departments may nominate students admitted to either master’s or doctoral degree programs.
Department Nomination Required: 
Award Amount: 
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