Dean’s Scholar Fellowship
The Dean’s Scholar Fellowship is a one-year, non-renewable award presented by the Dean of the Graduate College in recognition of a student’s scholarly achievement. The award is intended to provide the most distinguished, advanced-level graduate students with a period of time dedicated solely to the completion of their programs. The Dean’s Scholar competition is open to doctoral students who have passed the Graduate College-required Preliminary Examination and are well into their dissertation work, and also to MFA students who have passed second-semester review. Nominations must come from the program. A maximum of ONE student may be nominated by each program. (A second nomination may be allowed from large programs; see “eligibility.”) Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate College Awards Committee and winners announced after April 15th.
The Dean’s Scholar competition is open to doctoral students who have passed the Graduate College-required Preliminary Examination and are well into their dissertation work, and also to MFA students who have passed second-semester review. Nominations must come from the program. A maximum of ONE student may be nominated by each program. (A second nomination may be allowed from doctoral programs with a five-year average enrollment over 100, i.e., 100 doctoral students–NOT master’s + doctoral. Enrollment data can be found by visiting the “Faculty/Staff” tab of the Graduate College website (grad.uic.edu). Go to “Program Data” and then find the program.)
The new limit is to reduce the workload for members of the Awards Committee.
Recipients of the Dean’s Scholar Fellowship will receive a fellowship stipend of $25,000 for a twelve-month academic year. (The appointment period will be August 16th-August 15th with monthly payments September 16th-August 16th.) The recipients also receive a tuition and partial 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 for fall and spring semester towards CampusCare, if applicable. All other fees are the responsibility of the student.
A recipient may not accept a teaching or general graduate assistantship while on a Dean’s Scholar, but may accept a Research Assistantship for no more than 50% FTE in their research field, or external support in the form of a fellowship for work directly related to the dissertation (see Policies below for further restrictions). The Dean’s Scholar Award is designed to allow the student to work full-time to complete their degree. Any distraction from that goal is considered incompatible with the spirit of the award. Graduate hourly appointments are also not permitted.
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 program. Fellows are not required to register for the summer session by the Graduate College (unless defending); 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 their department regarding summer registration requirements.
The Graduate College has established 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 deferments of fourth-year Graduate College funding.
The stipend portion of the award is taxable income, although, per guidelines set by the Internal Revue Services (IRS), the University is not responsible for withholding or reporting income taxes on fellowship payments.
Fellows do not receive a Form W-2 on their fellowship income nor does the University report the fellowship payment as taxable income to either the state or federal government. However, the University is required to report fellowships to the IRS for informational purposes only on Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement. Taxability of the fellowship payment is a matter between the Fellow and the IRS.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the fellowship may be subject to income tax. The IRS requires a taxpayer owing at least $1,000 in taxes in a given calendar year after subtracting withholdings and credits to file estimated quarterly tax returns. Additional information about estimated tax payments can be found in Form 1040-ES(PDF). Penalties may be assessed for incorrect filing and underpayment of taxes. When students file their income tax returns, they should remember that a portion of the fellowship may be exempt from tax. Students are advised to keep receipts in case they are audited at some point in the future. The tuition waiver that comes with the fellowship may be exempt from tax.
More information on taxation of fellowships can be found in IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education (PDF), or by calling 1-800-829-3676.
Students who are obtaining federal loans from Financial Aid: Obtaining a fellowship WILL significantly affect your financial aid eligibility. Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid on eligibility requirements and 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.
To be considered for nomination, applicants/students should consult with their Director of Graduate Studies.
The DS application process has been streamlined. There are six elements. The Director of Graduate Studies completes the:
(1) Transmittal form and writes the
(2) nomination letter (on letterhead) and then includes the following documents (in order) secured by the student nominee:
(3) A statement of research plans of no more than 750 words describing the student’s dissertation or MFA project, the current status of the student’s project, and the expected date of completion (references will not count toward the word limit);
(4) Three letters of recommendation written within the last twelve months, one of which must be from the nominee’s principal advisor/mentor;
(5) A copy of the UIC transcript (An unofficial transcript from Student Self Service, if unedited and complete, is permissible. Alternatively, your program may provide complete printouts from Banner, the administrative student database.);
(6) A list of professional accomplishments including awards, honors, publications, and presentations (3-page maximum)
Graduate programs are encouraged to set an earlier internal deadline to ensure time for any internal selection process and timely submission to the Graduate College.
selectionSection criteria for the Dean’s Scholar Fellowship (DS) are academic achievement and likelihood of degree completion.Winners are selected by the Graduate Awards Committee, which is composed of elected and appointed UIC faculty from across the disciplinary colleges.
The Director of Graduate Studies assembles the application package– transmittal as cover page; nomination letter; statement of research plans; three LORs; UIC transcripts; and list of accomplishments — and saves the documents as one PDF (Tips on combining multiple PDF documents) using the following naming convention: DS_YearofCompetition_DepartmentName_NomineeLastNameFirstInitial.pdf. Do not use spaces in the pdf name.
Here is an example of Chuck Baudelaire’s application from History: DS_2020_Hist_BaudelaireC.pdf.
The PDF file must be emailed to the Graduate College using the relevant secure Box folder:
frequently asked questions
Currently unavailable. Please contact Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)