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Graduate School College-Level Fellowship Awards


The Graduate School allocates approximately one-half of its first-year fellowship awards for distribution at the college-level. The purpose of this decentralization is to give graduate programs flexibility when they may want to make early offers in order to recruit top students.

Interdisciplinary graduate programs that cut across colleges and programs that do not report to a specific college dean are allocated awards directly from the Graduate School. This number is based on their performance in the past five years. College deans have the discretion to award additional fellowships from their total to the interdisciplinary graduate programs in which their colleges participate.


The Graduate School determines the number of college-level fellowship awards that each college will receive. This number is based on the average number of awards won by the college’s graduate programs during the last five-year period. Each college determines how these fellowships are allocated to its graduate programs and sets its own internal review process for approving which college-level awards may be entered into the Graduate School’s Nomination System. Although a college may require programs to submit application materials for its internal review, the Graduate School does not require the submission of materials with a college-level award unless a waiver is requested.

Post-award assessment

The Graduate School requires each college dean to submit a memo by the end of the academic year documenting both the procedures that were established in the college for the allocation of fellowship awards to the graduate programs and the outcomes from these award offers. The Graduate School is interested in whether these awards increased the college’s success in converting fellowship offers to student acceptances and the degree to which these awards enhanced the quality of the graduate students in the college’s programs.


  • U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents, and international students who have been admitted to a graduate program.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.6 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on another scale, such as 4.5 on a 5.0 scale, 5.4 on a 6.0 scale, etc.); OR First Class rank in a British-based grading system; or overall percentage of at least 88% for other international percentage graded systems.
  • GRE: Students taking the GRE test must achieve a 75th percentile average of the combined total of the general exam’s Verbal and Quantitative components and a 4.0 on the Analytical Writing component. (Students in tagged degree programs—i.e., MFA, MM, DMA in Art, Dance, Design, English, Music and Theatre—are exempt from submitting GRE scores.)
  • GMAT: Students taking the GMAT must achieve a 75th percentile on the GMAT (650 and above) total score

All college level awards must be submitted online by the deadline indicated on the Fellowship Calendar.

Petitions to the Eligibility Requirements

In general, awards made through the college-level process must meet all of the existing University Fellowship criteria. To allow for some flexibility, the Graduate School will review petitions from the college under the following circumstances:

GPA and GRE criteria

  • Each graduate program can petition to make one college-level award to a program admittee who fails to meet the GPA or GRE criteria (but not both).
  • Graduate programs with six or more college-level awards in its allotment can petition to grant awards to two admittees who fail to meet the GPA or GRE criteria (but not both).
  • Graduate programs with 11 or more college-level awards in its allotment can petition to grant awards to three admittees who fail to meet the GPA or GRE criteria (but not both).
  • Graduate programs with 16 or more college-level awards in its allotment can petition to grant awards to four admittees who fail to meet the GPA or GRE criteria (but not both).

Petition process

  1. Each college first reviews these petitions from its graduate programs. Those it approves are sent to the Graduate School for final review. It is within the colleges’ purview to not allow any college-level awards to be offered to students who do not meet the fellowship nomination criteria.
  2. The petition to the Graduate School must be in the form of a written request addressed to the associate dean. This request must 1) identify the waiver category and 2) provide a detailed justification for granting a waiver to the nominee. Petitions must be approved prior to the online submission of the college-level award.

College-Level Award Process

Procedures established to distribute awards to programs or to individual students at the college level are subject to the discretion of the college’s dean. The Graduate School monitors all nominees to ensure that they meet the threshold requirements for awarding fellowships.

Awards made at the college level may be a UF, DUF, or DDU. For each year of fellowship support offered, one year of fellowship support allocated to the college is spent. For example, offering a two-year DUF through a college-level award will cost that college two of its allocated fellowships.

Notifying Awardees

All college-level fellowship awardees receive their award letters from the Graduate School on or after March 5, 2018. The Graduate School prepares and sends the letters as it receives college approved nominations in the Nomination System. Programs that want to ensure their college-level notification letters are sent on March 5, 2018 must submit their awards online by February 22. Programs that wish to make offers earlier than March 6 using college-level fellowships must receive approval from the Fellowship Office before sending an award letter.

Programs may supplement the Graduate School’s award offer and must specify the details of such a supplement in their own award letter. Programs are encouraged to reference and attach the Graduate School’s award letter with their offer and to inform the student that their award is in addition to the Graduate School's. The Graduate School’s official offer letter will be available on the Nomination System.

Awards made through the college-level fellowship process, no matter how early in the academic year, are subject to the Council of Graduate School’s Resolution regarding financial aid offers. No representation may be made to awardees suggesting that they are obligated to respond to University Fellowship offers prior to April 15, 5 p.m.. Any acceptance or declination received prior to that date is non-binding on the part of the student (see CGS's April 15 Resolution). Programs that become aware of violations to this resolution from Ohio State or other universities should report this to the fellowship office.

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