University Graduate Fellowship


The University Graduate Fellowship (UGF) is a competitive two-year funding program for excellent graduate students whose faculty mentor(s) have successfully attained external funding to support their students. Across both years, the student is appointed as an SDSU Research Fellow with a minimum stipend of $30,000. In one year, the student is supported by the College of Graduate Studies (CGS), with the faculty mentor matching this level of support with external funding through the SDSU Research Foundation*. During the CGS-supported year, Research Fellows will also receive a $3,200 UGF Scholarship that can be used towards tuition, fees, health insurance, etc. Faculty mentors are encouraged to commit to the UGF Scholarship during their match year. Key details regarding the program, including nomination instructions, are outlined or linked below. 

* Effective 2024 - For continuity purposes, awardees will be appointed as Research Fellows for both years of the fellowship. CGS can only recover matching funds from the SDSU Research Foundation, thus the restriction in funding sources. 


The UGF directs institutional funding to support recruitment, retention, and timely degree completion for outstanding graduate students who are engaged in scholarship advancing the university's goals for research and creative activity. Fellowships are awarded through a merit-based, competitive process. A faculty advisory committee will review nominations according to a scoring rubric developed by the committee along with the College of Graduate Studies. 

Matching Commitment 

The UGF invests institutional funding that is intended to supplement, not displace, external sources of support for graduate students. Therefore, a matching requirement is included in the design of the program. The faculty match should cover the minimum $30,000 student stipend for the entire matching year. Competitive nominations will also include a match for the UGF Scholarship.

As part of the nomination, the faculty mentor (known as the co-sponsor) will submit a narrative that commits external funding for support during one of two fellowship years. External sources can be extramural funding or philanthropy that is managed through the SDSU Research Foundation. Importantly, the match cannot be made from state funds or partner campus funding sources.

For flexibility, the matching year can be the first or the second year of the fellowship with the other year funded by the College of Graduate Studies as described above. Teaching responsibilities are not permitted during the year on fellowship, nor as part of the matching commitment.

The graduate program director may serve as the faculty co-sponsor in circumstances where a well-qualified nominee does not yet have a faculty mentor with financial responsibility but does have a readily identified source of external funding. For example, the program director may nominate an incoming student supported by a training grant, endowed scholarship, or external fellowship. 

Nomination Process

Faculty co-sponsors will need to send the completed co-sponsor form and a copy of their nominee’s CV to the student’s program advisor/director before the deadline. Nominations that are not submitted by a graduate program advisor/director will not be considered. 

The 2023-2024 UGF award cycle is open and applications are due March 31, 2023.

2023-2024 UGF Advisor/Director Nomination Google Form

2023-2024 UGF Advisor/Director Nomination Form pdf (for reference only)

2023-2024 UGF Rubric

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to [email protected]