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Graduate School Fellowships

Section 10.1 of the Graduate School Handbook

A Graduate School fellowship is a financial award made by the university directly to a graduate student to provide support during a portion of the graduate degree program. Fellows are selected on the basis of academic merit through a university-wide competition without respect to financial need. Graduate fellows cannot be required to perform a service in return for receiving a stipend.

Two distinct kinds of Graduate School fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis: 1) first-year fellowships (University and Graduate Enrichment) for students applying to begin a graduate program at Ohio State and 2) Presidential Fellowships, which provide support to students completing their dissertation, D.M.A. document, or terminal projects in an M.F.A. program. The purpose of a first-year fellowship is to attract and retain a diverse, high quality graduate student population. Some first-year fellowships include a second and/or dissertation year of support. The Presidential Fellowship provides support to students so that they may complete the dissertation, D.M.A. document, or terminal M.F.A. projects unencumbered by other duties. This award recognizes the student’s demonstrated research potential and scholarly achievements.

Eligibility. Eligibility criteria for a Graduate School fellowship vary by kind of fellowship. However, recipients of all fellowships must meet the following minimal eligibility criteria. The student: 

  1. must be admitted to the Graduate School
  2. must be pursuing a graduate degree at this university on a full-time basis
  3. must maintain good standing in the Graduate School during the period of appointment
  4. must maintain reasonable progress toward a graduate degree as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee
  5. must hold no other appointment or outside employment during the term of appointment as a Graduate School fellow, except for approved supplemental appointments or fellowships

The following additional eligibility criteria apply to the first-year fellowships. The student:

  1. must have no prior graduate enrollment at this university (excluding graduate non-degree status)
  2. must meet minimum undergraduate grade-point average and GRE or GMAT test score requirements as specified for the type of fellowship
  3. if enrolled in combined bachelor's/master's program at the university, is eligible for nomination in the first competition after admission to the combined program

Nomination. Candidates for the first-year and Presidential Fellowships are nominated by the Graduate Studies Committee of the local graduate program. Candidates may not apply directly. Students interested in being considered for the Presidential Fellowship should state their interest to their advisor or Graduate Studies Committee chair.

Procedures have been established for submitting fellowship (first-year and Presidential) nominations to the Graduate School. The dates of each fellowship competition and nomination procedures are communicated to each Graduate Studies Committee prior to each competition and are posted on the Graduate School’s website. Questions about nominating procedures, deadlines, and related matters should be directed to the Graduate School.

Credit hours. Fellows who have not yet completed the candidacy examination must be registered in the Graduate School for at least 12 hours of graduate credit (excluding audited courses) during any semester in which a fellowship appointment is held. Pre-candidacy fellows who maintain their appointments during summer term must enroll in six credit hours. Post-candidacy students must register for at least three credit hours. Any exceptions to these policies must be approved in advance by the Graduate School.

Dissertation Year of Multi-Year Fellowships. Activation of the dissertation year of multi-year fellowships must conform to the following process:

  1. A request for the activation of the dissertation year portion of a Dean’s Graduate Enrichment Fellowship, Susan Huntington Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship, or Distinguished University Fellowship is made with the strong expectation that the fellow will complete all degree requirements and graduate within the dissertation year. The dissertation year must be activated by the student’s sixth year of graduate study. The graduate program is under no obligation to provide funding to the student after the dissertation year if the student does not complete their dissertation and graduate at the end of the dissertation year, or if the student has received a total of six years of support.
  2. Requests to activate the dissertation year portion must be made by the fellow’s Graduate Studies Committee chair to the Graduate School. The request must provide assurance that the fellow 1) has met the minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.6 for Dean’s Distinguished University and Distinguished University fellows or a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 for Dean’s Graduate Enrichment fellows; 2) has successfully completed the candidacy examination and is within the five-year time period; 3) completed all doctoral course work (It is expected that enrollments will be limited to research and departmental seminars; however, fellows may register for other degree-related course work with advisor approval. The dissertation year fellowship may not be used to support any course work taken for another degree program.); and 4) has received continuous departmental support during the intervening years between the first and dissertation fellowship years.

Presidential Fellowships. In general, eligibility for the Presidential Fellowship is limited to doctoral (PhD and DMA) students. However, students in three-year terminal degree programs, such as the Master of Fine Arts (MFA), who are entering their final year of study and the final stages of their required major terminal degree projects are also eligible. It is expected that students nominated for the Presidential Fellowship will complete their degree requirements and graduate within the fellowship period. Graduate programs are strongly urged to provide support through graduation for any student awarded a Presidential Fellowship who does not complete their degree within the fellowship tenure period.

All applicants must:

  • meet minimum GPA requirements for all graduate course work at Ohio State

Doctoral applicants must also:

  • have passed the candidacy examination prior to the Presidential Fellowship competition deadline date
  • have completed all Ph.D. or D.M.A. course work and enroll for 8999 hours only

Selection. Selection of students to receive both first-year and the Presidential Fellowships is made by committees of Graduate Faculty appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School for that purpose. The committee establishes detailed procedures and guidelines for the review of nominations