R1 Advanced Opportunity Program 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 R1 Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship (R1AOP), funded by the State of Wisconsin, is intended to support PhD students who are eligible for AOP funds and who plan to finish and defend their dissertations, complete all the requirements for the PhD degree during the 2021-22 award year, and graduate by the end of that year. The R1AOP Fellowship is a one-year, non-renewable fellowship. Students are nominated for this award by their programs and compete with other nominees from across the university.

Major advisors must certify that their nominees are expected to complete the degree by the end of the award year. Fellowship award decisions are made by a university faculty committee. Fellows will receive a stipend of $16,500, full coverage of resident tuition and remission of non-resident tuition, and low-cost comprehensive health insurance.

AOP fellowship applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Note: Graduate School/AOP Fellowship stipends count as financial aid.


  1. Status: R1AOP Fellowship recipients must be enrolled in a PhD degree program at UWM and must be able to finish their dissertation and complete the degree program during the award period.
  2. Concurrent Fellowship/Scholarship Support: No other scholarship or fellowship may be held concurrently with the R1AOP Fellowship with the exception of small monetary awards, the UWM Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award, or a philanthropic award.
  3. Maximum Dissertation Support: An R1AOP Fellowship may be held for a maximum of one academic year.
  4. Concurrent Employment: Concurrent employment of R1AOP Fellowship recipients is limited to the following:
    • University employment of a maximum of 25% TA, PA, or RA.
    • Student hourly of up to 15 hours per week.

To be eligible for R1AOP Fellowship funding, candidates must also be at least one of the following:

  1. Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minority:
    •   African American or Black
    •   Hispanic/Latino/a/x
    •   American Indian
    •   Alaskan Native
    •   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 or 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 evidence 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 UW-Milwaukee Graduate School. This Fee Waiver will be reviewed by the Office of Graduate Diversity & Inclusion for AOP Fellowship eligibility.

**Applicants identifying eligibility for the R1AOP 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 UW-Milwaukee Financial Aid Office. This FAFSA will be reviewed by Financial Aid for AOP Fellowship eligibility. All information will be kept confidential.

R1AOP Fellowship nominees/awardees must maintain a 3.0 GPA and make reasonable progress toward their degree. R1AOP 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 R1AOP Fellowship nominee/awardee becomes ineligible, the graduate fellowship award/offer is forfeited, effective the date that the sanctions are implemented.

Applicants shall be considered in their entirety and reviewed individually, and no applicant shall receive a R1AOP Fellowship simply by fulfilling one or more of the above-listed classifications.

Selection of Nominees

Each eligible PhD program may nominate its best student. For the purposes of these R1AOP awards, an eligible program must be a PhD granting program in which students spend their final year primarily finishing writing a dissertation.

Selection Criteria

The R1AOP Fellowship will be awarded on the basis of the applicant’s eligibility for AOP funding and of how well the combination of the applicant’s academic record, scholarly and other achievements, dissertation abstract, and advisor’s recommendation supports the expectation that the applicant will complete all requirements (including finishing and defending the dissertation) for the PhD by the end of the award year, 2021-22.

View rubric for the AOP/R1AOP Fellowship (PDF).

Graduate Program Nomination Instructions

Because funding is very limited and fellowships are extremely competitive, graduate programs are asked to be highly selective in nominating only one student for a R1AOP award. (This is in addition to the three allowed AOP Fellowship nominations.) Nominees should represent exceptional students in your graduate program and align with the mission of the Advanced Opportunity Program.

  1. Verify all information submitted by each nominee:
    • Application. This should be filled out completely. Information requested of students appears on the Types of Funding page. Under Fellowships, select R1 Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship (R1AOP), then Application.
    • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members—including one written by the student’s major professor, who will certify that the student is expected to complete all degree requirements by the end of the award year.
    • After the applicant’s academic information has been verified, use the online application to submit a summary statement explaining why the nominee is your best candidate for the R1AOP Fellowship and to certify that the student will finish by the end of the award year.
  2. A student with all completed documents will be considered nominated for your degree program.

Program nominations for the 2021-2022 award year must be submitted online no later than 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday January 13, 2021. THIS IS THE DEADLINE DATE. No nominations will be accepted after this date and time.

Degree Program Follow-Up to Applicants

After you submit your nominated applicant to the competition, please notify any and all other 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 Office of Graduate Diversity & Inclusion at gs-fellowships-aop@uwm.edu.

Important Dates

October 14, 2020 Application opens online
January 13, 2021 Graduate program nominations due to the Graduate School by 4:30 p.m. (CST)
Early March 2021 Announcement of awards
April 15, 2021 Deadline to accept any awarded AOP Fellowship