University Fellows Award

The University Fellows Award is a prestigious fellowship offered only to the University of Arizona's highest-ranked incoming graduate students. The Graduate College and Graduate Center administer the award.

The Program consists of a competitive financial package, professional development, mentoring, and community engagement opportunities.

  • In year 1         
    • $37,000 fellowship for the year - $15,000 of which will be disbursed in the fall, $15,000 in the spring, and $7,000 in the summer. The award will be deposited in the Fellow’s bursar's account upon successful enrollment as a full-time student at the beginning of the term of award. Any outstanding UA expenses will automatically be deducted.
    • A Graduate Tuition Scholarship (GTS) that covers base graduate tuition in fall and spring for courses taken through main campus in the first year (excludes program fees, differential tuition, and mandatory registration fees)
    • Coverage under the UArizona Student Health Insurance Plan
  • In year 2         
    • $500 for attending conferences or other professional development activities
  • College and departmental support in years 2 through 5, typically a 0.50 FTE Graduate Assistantship, although rarely the department support might be equal to or greater than what is consistent with a 0.25 FTE Graduate Assistantship (stipend, healthcare, and 0.5 base graduate tuition coverage) and full tuition coverage.

Professional development workshops that include

  • Grant-writing 
  • Inclusive leadership and diversity
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Educational debt management and financial literacy
  • Responsible Conduct of Research and professional integrity
  • Building interdisciplinary collaborations 
  • Mentoring
  • Mental health and wellness 
  • Conflict negotiation 
  • Ethical innovation
  • Identifying and navigating multiple career pathways
  • Strategies for publication

Cohort dinners during which Fellows can interact with one another, past Fellows, and workshop facilitators

Group community engagement projects with local organizations

Networking and Social Activities

Community collaborations

Interdisciplinary research and engagement

  • Any newly admitted doctoral student who will matriculate in the fall semester (Outstanding recruits from Master’s programs that require a minimum of 60 units are also eligible.)
  • Students with stellar undergraduate or Master’s academic/creative records
  • Students who are accepted to programs that are primarily on campus, and who will reside in the Tucson metropolitan area during their first year (Distance and UA Online programs are not eligible.)
  • Students interested in interdisciplinary exchange, collaboration, mentoring, leadership, and engaging with multiple communities
  • Students entering Professional degree programs such as MBA, Master of Architecture, Juris Doctorate, Medical Doctorate, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) are not eligible.

To ensure that Fellows benefit from the program, they

  • Do not engage in other paid work in their first year. Programs should exempt Fellows from first-year teaching responsibilities or research assistantships. If programs require such work, it will be limited to a 0.25 FTE position and will require approval from the Faculty Director.
  • Participate for an average of 3 hours per week in programming, including enrollment in a 1-unit colloquium that takes place on Thursdays from 5 to 7:30 PM in fall and spring semesters of the first year of studies. Attend the required overnight orientation in late August.
  • Serve as a mentor in their first year for either a K-12 student, an Honors student, a refugee, immigrant, or an undergraduate recruited through a diversity program; in their second year, Fellows will mentor the new cohort.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Enroll as a full-time student in the fall and spring semesters (at least 9 units per semester).

To facilitate the Fellows’ success, home departments are required to collaborate with the UA Graduate Center in the following ways:

  • Provide support for years 2-5 of the Fellow’s degree program, pending academic performance and availability of funds. In the vast majority of participating colleges, support is in the form of a 0.50 FTE Graduate Assistantship each semester. The bare minimum of departments' financial assistance is the equivalent of a 0.25 FTE Graduate Assistantship and full tuition coverage each semester. (Support can be in the form of tuition waivers, scholarships, assistantships, etc.) If a Fellow is awarded external funding, such as an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the program’s financial commitment can be met by the external funding source.
  • Exempt Fellows in their first year from serving as teaching or research assistants and from other paid work. Any participation in paid work during the first year requires approval by the Graduate Center Faculty Director.
  • Maintain open communication with the Graduate Center. This communication is crucial to ensuring that the University Fellow completes academic requirements and fellowship programming through the first year.
  • Encourage the student to attend all University Fellows programming. Fellows’ experiences augment their skills in leadership, communication, community engagement, interdisciplinary research, and collaboration. Such development enriches the students’ academic performance and professional standing, thereby enhancing their department’s success.
  • Excuse Fellows from attending activities during the University Fellows colloquium, which is a central component of the first-year cohort experience.

In order to make it as simple as possible for departments, the Graduate Center takes responsibility for

  • Administering the financial award associated with the University Fellows Program. The Graduate College, the institutional home of the Graduate Center, will disburse fellowship funds.
  • Ensuring that University Fellows attend programs and other fellowship events. The Graduate Center provides an added level of mentoring and support for each Fellow. We work with the home department to maximize engagement in both academic and fellowship programming.

For additional information about the award, please email