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Central Valley Graduate Fellowship

The UC Merced Central Valley Fellowship is intended for doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy, attended High School in the Central Valley, and whose research will benefit the California Central Valley. The California Central Valley encompasses all or parts of 18 counties: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Shasta, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yuba, and Yola. A list of cities that are eligible can be found here:

This award is intended to assist Ph.D. students with the completion of their degree. It will provide students with a one semester fellowship, including tuition and fees. It will be expected that the awardee will present their work to the donor by the end of the academic year. The donor may be provided the awardee’s application information.

Eligibility Requirements & Standards

  • Must be a Ph.D. student who has advanced to candidacy prior to receipt of the award.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or AB540 student.
  • Must demonstrate satisfactory progress toward degree, have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their graduate studies at UC Merced, and be enrolled in 12 units during the award period.
  • Must have attended High School in the Central Valley.
  • Must be conducting dissertation research that will be of benefit to residents of the Central Valley.
  • Awardee information may be shared with donors, including but not limited to: name, award amount, UC Merced email address, application materials and/or summary of program/research interest.


  • One award will be given per year.

  • A full fellowship will be awarded in the fall (after review of the application in the spring).

Student Loan Impact

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

Application & Review Procedures

  • Apply by completing an online application.  Please note, the fellowship application is built within the admissions system, so you might see some items that reference admissions.
  • During the application process you will be able to select this fellowship among others, if it is currently open.
  • Please include the following items with your application:
    • General Statement - 1-2 pages that describe your research area(s) of interest, accomplishments to date and long-term academic goals.
    • Project Plan/Timeline - 1-2 pages that describe your academic goals that will be supported by the fellowship(s), including a plan for training and research activities for the time period of fellowship support. The plan may include professional meetings, courses, workshops, seminars, and professional development activities for pursuing an academic career.
    • For your statement and plan if applicable, write for a general academic audience, i.e. a faculty reviewer who does not necessarily have expertise in your area of research.
    • Unofficial up-to-date UCM transcript.
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • One letter of recommendation from a UCM faculty member.
  • The fellowship committee will review all complete applications. Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines, the academic qualifications of the applicant, and the letter of recommendation. Please note, incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

* 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.


Nomination Deadline

See the Internal Fellowships page for current deadlines associated with this fellowship.