Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship Guidelines

2021-22 Fellowships

  • Fellowship Applicants: Submission deadlines vary by program. Contact your graduate representative for your internal application deadline.
  • Graduate Program Representatives: Submit your program’s nominations to the Graduate School by 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

Description of Award

The Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship recognizes and supports the most academically excellent master’s and doctoral students enrolled at UW-Milwaukee. (Only doctoral students who have not achieved dissertator status by the application deadline for the award are eligible for the award. Programs can nominate incoming students for the award, understanding that incoming students are rarely as competitive for this award as enrolled students.) Students are nominated for this award by their programs and compete with other nominees from across the university. Fellowship decisions are made by a university committee.

The academic year stipend is $15,000. In addition, Fellowship recipients will benefit from a $1,000 travel award that will accompany each fellowship award. The money should be spent in accordance with UWM travel regulations by the end of the fiscal year following the year in which the fellowship award is held. The money will be spent on travel to present at a major national or international conference in the student’s discipline. DGSF also pays the in-state tuition rate and remits the out-of-state portion of tuition (if applicable); all Fellowship recipients are eligible for State health benefits. Awardees are responsible for mandatory fees and additional instructional/course fees (including distance education) above basic graduate tuition levels.


Fellowship recipients must comply with the following regulations:

  1. Be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program.
  2. Be registered for full-time study during the entire award period.
  3. Hold no other scholarship or fellowship concurrent with a DGSF (with the exception of small monetary awards, the UWM Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award, or a philanthropic award.).
  4. Have not previously been awarded a DGSF.
  5. (Doctoral students only) Will not achieve dissertator status by the application deadline for the award.

Concurrent Employment

Concurrent employment of Fellowship recipients is limited to the following:

  1. University employment of a maximum of 25% TA, PA, or RA.
  2. Student hourly or outside employment of up to 15 hours per week.

Selection of Nominees

For the sake of these fellowships, a “graduate degree program” is defined more broadly than the UW System definition to include any graduate program that meets both of the following criteria:

  1. Students must make specific application to the degree program on their applications to the Graduate School or department.
  2. Students cannot transfer out of the program without making explicit application to another program, even within the same department or unit.

If a program offers both the master’s and doctoral degrees, it is considered a single graduate program and can nominate only two students.

Selection Criteria

Fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement as reflected by:

  1. Undergraduate/graduate grade point averages.
  2. Letters of recommendation.
  3. Graduate degree program evaluation (assessment of academic achievements and potential).
  4. Standardized test scores.
  5. Scholarly progress, e.g. publications, presentations, creative activities.

View rubric for the DGSF (PDF).

As funding is very limited and fellowships are extremely competitive, programs are asked to be highly selective in nominating no more than two students for a DGSF. Nominees should represent exceptional students in your programs.

  • Evaluation is based on the totality of information available. No single factor is decisive.
  • It is understood that excellence takes many forms across disciplines.
  • Each application is considered holistically, and factors such as academic background, experiences, perspectives, aspirations, values, and accomplishments are taken into account.

In most cases, your nominees will be currently enrolled or newly admitted graduate students. If you are nominating a student who has not yet been admitted into your graduate program, please note the following:

  • DGSF applicants must have a completed application on file in the Graduate School.
  • DGSF nominees who are not formally admitted into your graduate program at the time of nomination for the 2021-22 award year MUST BE FORMALLY ADMITTED BY Friday, February 5, 2021.

Graduate Degree Program Nomination Instructions

Note: Both the students’ applications and your program’s nominations are submitted entirely online.

Before submitting your degree program’s online nomination, please make sure that you have followed the instructions and have included all the necessary documentation.

  1. Verify all information submitted by your nominee:
    • Application. This should be filled out completely. To see what information is requested of students, see Required Application Information.
    • Two letters of recommendation
  2. After the applicant’s information has been verified, use the online application to submit a summary statement explaining why the nominee is a good candidate for the Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship and verify the student’s status in your graduate program.
  3. Students with all completed documents will be considered nominated for your degree program.

Program nominations for the 2021-22 award year must be submitted online no later than 4:30 p.m. (CST) on January 13, 2021. THIS IS THE DEADLINE DATE. No nominations will be accepted after this date and time. See programs for internal deadlines.

Degree Program Follow-Up to Applicants

After you submit your nominated applicants to the Graduate School, please notify all of your degree program’s fellowship applicants (non-nominated as well as nominated applicants) of the status of their fellowship applications.

For questions regarding any of these procedures, please contact the Graduate School at (414) 229-7177 or gs-fellowships-distinguished@uwm.edu.

Award Caps

DGSF awards are capped at three awards per degree-granting program as recognized by the UW System.