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Graduate Student Awards

University Awards

Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program

Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards are generally assistantships granted to incoming students as part of the University's comprehensive educational opportunity program. The graduate admission application serves as the Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards application. Students must be nominated by their programs for consideration within their college. The Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards Program competition is open to incoming graduate degree candidates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications are evaluated on scholarly promise and require matching commitments of financial support from recipients' graduate major programs.

University Graduate Fellowships

The Graduate School sponsors eighty University Graduate Fellowships. This prestigious fellowship program is available to incoming students and provides payment of tuition and a base stipend of $25,000 for 2014-15, as well as a health insurance subsidy. Some colleges increase the stipend with their own funding.

College of the Liberal Arts Awards

Africana Research Center Grants

Up to $2,000 in support for graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in a program of study at Penn State University, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  Students must have formal project approval from a tenure-line faculty advisor or the head of their major or minor department who can attest to the significance of their research project and confirm that the student has achieved the requisite GPA.

Africana Research Center Dissertation Fellowships

The Africana Research Center (ARC) offers Dissertation Fellow Awards offered in conjunction with the College of the Liberal Arts’ Departmental Dissertation Release Awards. These combined awards are for Humanities graduate students who are working on African Diaspora-related topics in their dissertations. The ARC augments the Department Dissertation Release Award by providing a $1,000 grant to support research and related activities. Awardees will become ARC Dissertation Fellows, and they may engage with ARC Postdoctoral Fellows in professional development workshops and writing-in-progress workshops. ARC fellows profit from a stimulating intellectual environment while gaining practical strategies for negotiating the job market, fine-tuning their pedagogical skills, and preparing their work for publication.

Alumni Association Dissertation Award

The Alumni Association Dissertation Award provides funding and recognition to outstanding full-time doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive exams and have received approval of the dissertation topic, or to M.F.A. students in their final year. This award is considered to be among the most prestigious available to Penn State graduate students and recognizes outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment.

Center for Democratic Deliberation Dissertation Fellowships

Each academic year, the Center selects up to four graduate students for the CDD Dissertation Fellows Program. Fellows must be enrolled in a College of the Liberal Arts department or program and meet the eligibility requirements of the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release program. Their dissertation also must reflect the CDD's concern with civic life and the character and quality of public discourse. CDD Dissertation Fellows Program will receive a one-semester (fall or spring) release from teaching and a $1000 research grant that can be spent on travel, books and supplies, and other expenses related to their research.  They also will participate in a faculty-led Dissertation Writing Group and have access to office space in 210 Sparks Building.  In return, CDD Dissertation Fellows are expected to participate in Center activities and present their research at a public colloquium during the spring semester.

Center for the Humanities and Information Fellowships and Summer Support

Beginning in 2015-16, the Center will offer up to six yearlong fellowships to graduate students in the humanities. Fellows will receive a stipend ($23,000 in 2015-16) and a $1,000 research budget, and will be released from teaching for the year. Their work must reflect the CHI’s interest in information and media, broadly conceived; preference will be given to students who have passed their comprehensive exams. Students participate in CHI’s weekly reading/discussion group, and present their research at a public colloquium during the year. They also participate in organizing and running CHI events and conferences.

CHI also offers summer support grants of $4,000. These grants support projects, research, or learning connected to CHI topics and themes.

Denise Haunani Solomon Liberal Arts Outstanding Teaching Award for Graduate Students

This award recognizes graduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts whose accomplishments in the classroom are deemed to be exceptional and who have thus made a significant contribution to the educations of our undergraduate students. In 2012 this award was named for former associate dean for research and graduate studies and current professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Denise Solomon. Denise is a wonderful teacher and mentor and embodies the excellence in teaching this award recognizes.

Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award

The Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes graduate assistants for outstanding teaching performance.  This award is jointly sponsored by the Graduate School, through the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award endowment, and the Office of the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education.

Humanities Initiative Dissertation Support Semester Release Opportunities

The arrival of Humanities Initiative funds has made it possible for the College of the Liberal Arts (CLA), in cooperation with its affiliated Centers and Institutes, to expand support for dissertation writers.  This program is meant to complement, not replace, existing programs such as the CLA dissertation research support and release awards and Institute for the Arts and Humanities summer residencies.

Institute for the Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Summer Residencies

The Institute for the Arts and Humanities is pleased to sponsor a program of graduate student summer residencies. This program will provide eight advanced students in the arts and humanities with a $4,000 summer stipend and the use of an office in Ihlseng Cottage, enabling them to devote the summer session to work on their theses, dissertations or degree-required final creative projects. Students are required to be in residence at University Park for the duration of the grant period.

Institute for the Arts and Humanities Graduate Residency Awards

This program is open to graduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts who are eligible for the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Support Semester Release. Graduate students whose dissertations are directly related to the humanities and/or the arts can choose to be affiliated with the IAH for a Fall or Spring semester-long fellowship. IAH Dissertation Fellows are an integral part of the Institute’s intellectual community and receive a $1000 research grant. In addition, office space at Ihlseng Cottage will be available to Fellows.

Raymond Lombra Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This award has been named in honor of Ray Lombra’s 18 years of service as an Associate Dean in the College and recognizes high quality contributions to the humanities and the social sciences by enrolled graduate students working toward their advanced degrees.  Two awards are made each year--one in the humanities and one in the social sciences--for the best article or book published or forthcoming by a graduate student registered in the College.

RGSO Dissertation Support Competition

Approximately 15 awards each semester of up to $2,000 each for research-related expenses OR $4,000 for release time. (Students in humanities Ph.D. programs are welcome to apply for a release, which would be in addition to the release they already receive as part of the Humanities Initiative.

Rock Ethics Institute Fellowship

The Rock Ethics Institute is pleased to announce the Rock Ethics Institute Fellow Awards offered in conjunction with the College of the Liberal Arts' Departmental Dissertation Release Awards. These combined awards are for Humanities graduate students who are working on ethics-related topics in their dissertations. The Rock Ethics Institute Award augments the Department Dissertation Release Award by providing a $1000 scholarship to support research and related activities (for the semester in which the student received a Department Dissertation Release Award). In addition, award recipients will have the Institute title of Rock Ethics Institute Fellow.

Summer Tuition Assistance Program

The purpose of this program is to provide tuition assistance to graduate students who have held assistantships or full fellowships for two consecutive semesters (Fall AND Spring) so they can continue graduate studies during the summer.

Students should be registering for 400 level or above required courses; foreign language skills courses; required speech communication courses for international students; and approved by the students’ Graduate Directors .

Superior Teaching and Research (STAR) Award

The STAR award is a scholarship award given to a graduate student in the College of the Liberal Arts. This award is to recognize students who have excelled in all aspects of their graduate program. Funds are provided to support specific projects or activities that will advance the student’s professional and scholarly development)

W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award

The W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Awards are designed to recognize those at Penn State who make extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the international mission of the University. Four awards are given annually in the categories of undergraduate student, graduate student, staff member, and faculty member.

Each award carries a $1,000 cash award and a plaque. Nominees/applicants must be full-time faculty, staff, and students at Penn State University. The awards are presented at the University Awards Convocations in the spring and recipients will be honored at the International Programs International Education and Achievement Reception in April.

Departmental Awards

Bayard Award

This award goes annually to the graduate student who, in the opinion of the graduate committee, best reflects the values and goals of the department as a scholar.

Erasmus Award

Each year the department presents two or more awards for undergraduate student teaching, advising, and support. These awards, which may go to faculty or graduate students, are voted on by the department’s undergraduate committee. 

Travel and Conference Funding

Students apply for funding as needed; in 2014-15 the total graduate travel funding budget is $15,000.