Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship Guidelines

Graduate School Fellowship Application Review Timeline

Applications are received and reviewed during the 2022-23 academic year to support graduate studies during the 2023-24 academic year.

Wednesday October 12, 2022 The UWM Graduate School Fellowship application system will open to receive applications for consideration, to be awarded for graduate studies during the 2023-24 academic year.
December 2022/early January 2023 Student application deadline (varies by program). Contact your Graduate Program Representative for your program’s internal fellowship application deadline and letter of recommendation deadline.
Tuesday January 17, 2023 (4:30 p.m. CST) Graduate programs’ deadline to submit fellowship nominations to application system.
Tuesday January 24, 2023 Graduate programs’ deadline to admit fellowship nominees to graduate program for the award year.
Late February 2023 through early March 2023 Announcement of all 2023-24 UWM Graduate School Fellowship awards
Sunday April 15, 2023 Deadline for all fellowship recipients to accept any UWM Graduate School Fellowship offer, per the Council of Graduate Schools April 15 Resolution .

AOP Fellowship Guidelines

The Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) Fellowship is funded by the State of Wisconsin. AOP Fellowships are designed to assist underrepresented racial/ethnic minority as well as disadvantaged non-minority students in graduate study to enter and complete a graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Awards are granted to newly admitted or currently enrolled UWM graduate students. Prospective graduate students may apply for the AOP Fellowship, though each program determines internal eligibility for nomination to committee review. The AOP Fellowship is meant to provide recipients with the opportunity to fund their education without the constraints of working while attending graduate school.

Approximately 30 academic-year (Fall/Spring) AOP Fellowships are awarded annually to qualified graduate students. Awards are for full-time study only. Awards should be limited to members of racial/ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and other non-minority disadvantaged graduate students. Nominees for the AOP Fellowship must be United States citizens or Permanent Residents. Applicants shall be considered in their entirety and reviewed individually, and no applicant shall receive an AOP Fellowship simply because they fulfil one or more of the listed eligible classifications.

  1. Underrepresented racial/ethnic minority:
    •   African American
    •   American Indian
    •   Alaskan Native
    •   Black
    •   Hispanic
    •   Latino/a/x
    •   Statutorily defined Southeast Asian (Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese, or Cambodian)
  2. TRIO or TRIO-like pre-college program participant:
    •   Alumni or participant of The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program*
    •   Alumni of a TRIO/TRIO-like Pre-College Program (Upward Bound, Student Support Services, GEAR UP)
  3. Disadvantaged non-minority:
    •   First-generation college student with high financial need as evidenced by a current and completed FAFSA**
    •   Recipient of childhood public assistance (must explain current eligibility for AOP in application)
    •   Otherwise disadvantaged (must explain current eligibility for AOP in application)

*Applicants identifying eligibility for the AOP Fellowship as “Participant of The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program” must have a signed and completed COE McNair Fee Waiver on file with the UWM Graduate School. This fee waiver will be reviewed to confirm AOP Fellowship eligibility.
**Applicants identifying eligibility for the AOP Fellowship as “First-generation college student with high financial need as evidenced by a current and completed FAFSA” must have a current and completed FAFSA on file with the UWM Financial Aid Office. This FAFSA will be reviewed by Financial Aid for AOP Fellowship eligibility.

The AOP Fellowship 2023-2024 academic-year stipend is $16,000 for recipients in a master’s program and $18,000 for recipients in a doctoral-level program. In addition, AOP Fellowship recipients benefit from full coverage of resident tuition, a remission of the out-of-state portion of the tuition (if applicable), low-cost comprehensive health benefits, and a $1,000 travel award. Awardees retain full responsibility for segregated fees and additional instructional/course fees (including distance education) above basic graduate tuition levels. These fees are to be paid by the AOP Fellowship recipient and are due at the start of each enrollment term.

AOP Fellowships are renewable for a maximum of two academic years (or four AOP-funded semesters total) for Master’s students and three academic years (a maximum of six AOP-funded semesters) for PhD and MFA students. Renewal is contingent on meeting course and program requirements and level of academic progress toward degree as determined by each fellow’s advisor. No student may qualify for more than three years (six semesters) of combined support in their master’s and doctoral studies. For questions regarding the AOP Fellowship, please email

AOP Fellowship Application Requirements

  1. Contact information and identification
  2. Residency
  3. Academic history details and transcripts
  4. UWM graduate program information
  5. Eligibility selection
  6. Personal statement prompts:
    1. Statement of academic and career goals
    2. Contribution to diversity in higher education
    3. Scholarly and creative accomplishments
  7. Two letters of recommendation

Submission & Selection Process

The applicant’s complete AOP Fellowship application, including the two letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the graduate program’s internal deadline. Contact your graduate program representative for internal application deadlines.

Following the internal application deadline, each program evaluates all applications received, selects applicants for nomination, completes all nomination procedures, and forwards nominations to the formal competition. The Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship Selection Committee reviews nominations and selects recipients based on application requirements and departmental assessment, through use of the AOP Fellowship Application Rubric.

UWM Graduate School Fellowship Compliance

All fellowship recipients must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at UWM during the award period. Fellows must meet the Graduate School continuation requirements each semester and comply with the following UWM Graduate Faculty Committee regulations:

  1. Fellowship nominees/awardees must maintain a 3.0 GPA and make reasonable progress toward their UWM graduate degree. Fellowship nominees/awardees cannot be on academic probation and cannot have engaged in academic or non-academic misconduct during their current graduate program, based on transcript notations at the time of nomination/award. If the fellowship nominees/awardees become ineligible, the graduate fellowship award/offer is forfeited, effective the date that the sanctions are implemented.
  2. Fellowship recipients must carry and complete a full load of 8-12 graduate credits each semester during the academic year and a minimum of 5 graduate credits if the fellowship is held during the summer session.
  3. Doctoral candidates who have attained dissertator status must carry three dissertator credits per semester. Doctoral students who are in preliminary status must carry one research credit during their prelim semester.
  4. Fellowship recipients may not hold any other external or internal fellowship or scholarship concurrently with a Graduate School award, except for small monetary awards under $10,000; the UWM Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award; or a philanthropic award.
  5. Fellowship recipients may not accept full-time employment. University appointments (maximum of 25% TA, PA, or RA), or other student outside employment of up to 15 hours per week, are allowable.

Note: Fellowships are factored in determining eligibility for federal student aid. Please know that a fellowship stipend and tuition waiver may significantly reduce a student’s financial aid loan eligibility.

Nominations Instructions for Graduate Program Reps

Funding is very limited and AOP Fellowships are extremely competitive. Therefore graduate programs are asked to be highly selective in nominating no more than three (3) students for an AOP Fellowship. Nominees should represent exceptional students in your graduate program. Only students with all completed answers and documents will be considered nominated. Please verify all information in the application submitted by each nominee, confirming application status as complete with two letters of recommendation.

After the applicant’s information has been verified, use the online application to submit a summary statement detailing why the nominee is a strong candidate for the AOP Fellowship.

Program nominations for the 2023-24 award year must be submitted online no later than 4:30 p.m. (CST) January 17, 2023. No nominations will be accepted after 4:30 p.m. on this date. THIS IS THE DEADLINE DATE AND TIME.

After submitting nomination materials, please notify all of your program’s AOP Fellowship applicants (non-nominated as well as nominated) regarding the status of their fellowship application.

In many cases, your nominees will be currently enrolled or newly admitted UWM graduate students. If you are nominating a prospective graduate student who has not yet been admitted into your graduate program, please be aware that all AOP Fellowship nominees must 1) have a completed application on file with the UWM Graduate School and 2) be formally admitted to the graduate program providing nomination no later than Tuesday, January 24, 2023.