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Abraham Lincoln Fellowship

Rules and Procedures

The goal of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago is to increase the excellence and diversity of the graduate student body by attracting applicants who have overcome obstacles to achieve academic success, like President Lincoln himself, who by his words and actions forged the framework for America's pursuit of freedom, equality and justice.

There are two rounds of competition. The first is the recruitment award. This competition is primarily for graduate students new to UIC. Students previously admitted to the UIC Graduate College may be eligible for recruitment competitions IF they are being actively recruited to a new graduate program. This includes students who have completed a master's program in a discipline and are being recruited to a PhD program in the same discipline. For questions about eligibility, contact the Graduate College.

The second competition is for one-year retention awards for UIC students currently enrolled in a doctoral or terminal master's program who are at the advanced stage of their academic studies.  All applicants must be nominated by their departments. Selection criteria for all Abraham Lincoln Fellowships will be based on academic achievement, promise and alignment with the goals of the fellowship.


Applicants for Recruitment and Retention Fellowships must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States who come from groups that have been historically underrepresented in graduate programs. Applicants must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student in a doctoral or terminal master's program at the University of Illinois at Chicago or must have completed an application for fall admission to the UIC Graduate College.

For the sake of this competition, UIC's terminal master's programs are: Architecture (MArch; MS); Architecture in Health Design (MS); Design Criticism (MA); Moving Image, New Media Arts, Photography, Studio Arts MFA; Museum and Exhibition Studies (MA); Biomedical Visualization (MS); MDes (Graphic and Industrial Design); Environmental & Urban Geography (MA); Forensic Science (MS); Forensic Toxicology (MS); French and Francophone Studies (MA); Health Professions Education (MPHE); Latin American & Latino Studies (MA); Occupational Therapy (MS); Spanish (MAT). 

Recruitment Awards

The first Abraham Lincoln Fellowship competition will be for recruitment. These awards provide up to two years of Graduate College funding for doctoral students and one year for terminal master's students.

Recipients of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship will receive a stipend of $22,000 in the first year, or $1,833.33 per month. Ph.D recipients are eligible for an additional year of support when they begin their dissertation research (after completing their preliminary examination, but not before their fourth year nor after their fifth year of study), providing they meet the following criteria: (1) The student must be making good progress in the program; (2) The student must have received a minimum of two years of support from his or her department. The Graduate College must be informed by April 1 of the year before the renewal year that students have passed their preliminary examination and plan to renew, and are not past the student's fifth year. 

In the second year (for a master's recipient) and the second and third years (for a doctoral recipient), the student’s academic programs must provide a 50% FTE nine-month appointment or the equivalent. Students with a 50% teaching or research assistantships will have their stipends topped off up to $22,000 or by a maximum of $6,000.  Teaching and research assistantship stipends for these students must be equivalent to those provided to other students in the same department. In the event that a doctoral graduate program has a mechanism for financial support for students during years one and two, the Lincoln Fellowship could be deferred to years three and four, provided the student has met the progress requirements described above and the program has communicated with the Fellowships and Awards Coordinator.

During the first and fourth year of funding from the Graduate College, recipients may accept part-time assistantships from UIC only if related to their field of study (i.e., student's own research) up to a total of 50% FTE. Work unrelated to the field of study is not allowed.  Graduate hourly appointments are also not permitted. Recipients may not hold UIC University or Dean's Fellowships simultaneously with the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, nor any external award where it is prohibited by that external funding agency. Other awards may be allowed to be held simultaneously, but must be approved by the Graduate College. It is the student's responsibility to know and understand the regulations of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship and those of any other award (see Policies below).

Abraham Lincoln Fellowship recipients also receive a tuition and fee waiver from the Graduate College. The waiver covers all tuition (including differential, if any) service fee, health service fee, academic facilities maintenance fund assessment, library and information technology assessment, and part of the cost of coverage (see link) for Fall and Spring Semester towards Campus Care, if applicable. All other fees are the responsibility of the student.

Students supported by these fellowships are required to complete at least 12 semester hours each semester unless expressly authorized by the Dean of the Graduate College to carry a reduced course load. Fellows are not required to register for the summer session by the Graduate College; however, individual departments may require summer registration. Fellows who register in the summer must enroll in at least 6 hours to be eligible for a summer tuition waiver. Fellows should check with the department to ensure that summer registration is not required for the degree program.

PIF Program

Outstanding student applicants for University and Abraham Lincoln recruitment fellowships will be considered for the Pipeline to an Inclusive (PIF) Program. For more information, please click here.

Retention Award

During the second competition, terminal master's and doctoral students currently enrolled at UIC may be nominated for a one-year recruitment award. 

The general terms of this award are the same as those of the two-year recruitment award, except that both terminal master's and doctoral students will be eligible for only one year of support from the Graduate College. During this round of competition, one-year retention fellowships will be awarded and departments will not have any financial obligations to the recipients. Continuing terminal master's and doctoral students who are advanced in their academic studies may be nominated. Students may not receive more than two years of Abraham Lincoln Fellowship funding from the Graduate College.

Graduate College Fellowship Policies

The Graduate College has extablished certain fellowship policies regarding external funding, completion of the Preliminary Examination for renewal, top-off funds during the years not directly funded by the Graduate College, and deferrments of fourth-year Graduate College funding. Please carefully read the Graduate College Fellowship Policies.


Please visit the Fellowship and Awards Deadline page for pertinent dates.

NOTE:  The applicant's department/program has to review all requests for fellowships and submit nomination forms and supporting material to the Graduate College by the deadline. Programs tend to have an earlier internal deadline.


To apply for an Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, complete the Application for Graduate Appointment form and submit it to your program.  Be sure to complete the personal statement section of the form.  In addition, see the following for other required documents. Follow the requirements for the category of Lincoln Fellowship to which you are applying.  If you have questions on requirements or documents, consult with your program. 

Information and forms for use by Directors of Graduate Studies/program submitters(Bluestem protected)

Required Documents for Applicants/Students

To be considered for nomination, applicants/students need to submit the following documents to your department/program by the deadlines.  Consult with your Director of Graduate Studies in advance of the deadlines to determine if any other material is required.  Carefully follow the maximum word limits listed for certain documents.

1. Completed Application for Graduate Appointment (with all questions answered, including personal statement) 1. Completed Statement of Research Plan (max. 300 words)
2. Student Statement on How Goals of the Lincoln Fellowship Program are Aligned With Their Own (max. 300 words) 2. Student Statement on How Goals of the Lincoln Fellowship Program are Aligned With Their Own (max. 300 words)
3. Three Letters of Recommendation (written within the last 12 months) 3. Three Letters of Recommendation (written within the last 12 months)
4. Post-Secondary Transcripts (check with your program to determine if already on file) 4. For continuing nominees, current UIC Transcripts (check with your program to determine if already on file; MyUIC student course history is acceptable, or a BANNER listing) are required. 
5. Standardized Test Scores, When Required (e.g. GRE, GMAT, etc.) - (check with your program to determine if already on file) 5. List of Awards, Presentations, and Publications (if any)
6. List of Awards, Presentations, and Publications (if any)  
7. McNair Participation Letter*
(if applicable)

*(7.)  If the student nominee qualifies as a McNair Scholar, s/he must obtain a copy of a letter that verifies their participation in a McNair Program. All verification letters must be written on program/university letterhead and signed by the McNair Program Director or Coordinator at their undergraduate institution. A copy of the letter used to qualify for the UIC Graduate College Application Fee Waiver for McNair Scholars is also acceptable.  

Fellowships and Student Loans  

A fellowship will affect federal student loan or work-study. Typically, students with fellowships may not be permitted to borrow small amounts of federal loans due to cost of attendance regulation. Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid on eligibility requirements.

If you have already received a refund for the current year in federal loans and you accept a fellowship, you may be responsible to return this refund to UIC. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information.

If applying for loans and/or work-study a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed.  See the Graduate Student Guide from the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.

Updated 1/23/18