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Graduate Dean's Recruitment Fellowship

The University of California, Merced is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a high quality graduate student population. The prestigious Graduate Dean’s Recruitment Fellowship (GDRF) is intended to help awardees focus on their graduate research and scholarship in their first year of study, and thereby accelerate progress towards achieving their doctoral degrees.

Eligibility Requirments & Standards  

  • Ph.D. applicants entering their first year of graduate study.
  • Submit a graduate admissions application by January 15, 2020.
  • All Ph.D. applicants are eligible, regardless of citizenship.
  • Undergraduate GPA above 3.0.
  • Must be offered with an offer of multi-year financial support.
  • May be offered to the applicant for the first or second year, as most appropriate for the program. All offers are conditional on maintaining good academic standing.
  • Fellows are not permitted to hold employment during the tenure of this award.
  • Recipients must maintain a GPA greater than 3.0.
  • Recipients must be enrolled in 12 units per semester.
  • For each nominee, the faculty mentor should be listed, along with 3-4 sentences highlighting the nominee’s qualifications for the non-expert reviewer, plus any information not in the Ph.D. admissions applications that might help the review committee evaluate the nominees and their fellowship qualifications.
  • In consultation with their faculty mentor, recipients must submit a brief plan before the end of their first semester of graduate study for how they will make degree progress in their first two years.  Then by the end of their fourth semester they must submit an assessment of their academic work, along with research and training accomplishments.

Financial Support

  • Up to two awards will be made each academic year
  • Recipients will receive a fellowship of $22,005, paid monthly over a 9-month academic year period plus payment of Graduate Fees (Resident Tuition, Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (if applicable), Student Services Fee and Health Services Fee), excluding Campus Based Fees.
  • Recipient will also receive a summer award of $7,335 directly following the 9-month academic year.

Student Loan Impact

  • Per federal guidelines, all fellowship and tuition support is taken into consideration when determining student loan eligibility.  If the student will receive federal student loans during the same academic year as this award, please note that this award could, and most likely will, reduce their student loan eligibility.

Nomination & Review Procedures

  • Each graduate group offering a doctoral degree is eligible to nominate up to two Ph.D. applicants each year. Any applicant meeting the criteria above is eligible; applicants do not need to apply. Graduate Group Chairs should submit their nominations directly to the Graduate Division. If two nominees are submitted, they must be ranked.
  • This fellowship will follow a multiple step review process that considers all applicants. Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines, intellectual merit and academic qualifications of the applicant.
    • First Review - Graduate groups should nominate applicants based on a set of factors likely to predict success in graduate school, including but not limited to: undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, TOEFL score (if applicable), applicant’s research experience, strength of reference letters, writing sample (if applicable), quality of undergraduate institution. Nominations submitted by the Graduate Group Chairs should include a brief description of the process and criteria that the graduate group used to choose nominees. If nominations do not indicate a preferred award year (first or second), the award offer will automatically default to the student’s first year.
    • Second Review - Nominee admissions applications are provided to the review committee, and the committee then makes recommendations to the Graduate Division.  Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines and the academic qualifications of the nominee.
    • Third Review - Final award decisions will be made by the Graduate Dean.

* The Graduate Division reserves the right not to make an award in any given year for which a call for applications/nominations has been issued.



Admissions Application:
January 15, 2020

Graduate Group Rank List:
January 31, 2020

Graduate Dean's Recruitment Fellows


Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling
Environmental Systems


Jose Millan-Higuera
Mechanical Engineering

Shannon Proksch
Cognitive & Information Sciences



Maria Camila Alviar Guzman
Cognitive & Information Sciences

Palak Dugar

Hamed Gharibi
Public Health

Natasha Hagaman-Cummi

Xuan Wei
Biological Engineering & Small-Scale Technologies


Daniel Comstock
Cognitive & Information Sciences