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First Generation STEM Doctoral Fellowship

Nomination Deadline: January 15th annually

Fellowship Information: The First Generation STEM Doctoral Fellowship program is a $30,000 fellowship supported by funds made available to the University of Memphis by the State of Tennessee. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide financial assistance to doctoral students who are under-represented in their respective STEM disciplines and who will become the first person in their immediate families to earn a doctoral degree.


The First Gen STEM Doctoral Fellowship program is administered by the Division of Research and Innovation as part of its Research Investments in Science and Engineering (RISE) Initiative. The RISE Initiative is designed to address specific components of the University's research and research support portfolio that are critical to achieving designation as a Carnegie 1 University.


Eligibility Criteria: Nominees must be incoming doctoral students who are:

  1. Tennessee residents
  2. Offered admission into their graduate program by February 1st of their initial enrollment year.
  3. Underrepresented in their discipline/major by gender or ethnicity (as evidenced by national, regional, and/or institution specific data); and
  4. The first immediate family member to complete a doctoral degree program.

Award Information: Academic departments of First Gen STEM Fellowship recipients will receive $30,000 to cover costs of the fellowship recipient's tuition/fees and monthly stipends for a 12 month time period (one fall, one spring, and one full summer term). Distribution of academic year and summer stipend will be determined by the faculty advisor and may be combined with additional sources of stipend funding.

Fellowships will be awarded for a single 12-month period, with provisions for annual, competitive renewal for up to 2 additional years of full-time doctoral study (when the student is finished with coursework, it is assumed that the faculty advisor will be able to transition the student to alternate sources of funding), subject to availability of funds and the following conditions:

  1. The student maintains a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00
  2. The student submits an annual activity report and a favorable review of progress towards matriculation by her/his faculty advisor with her/his renewal application. The activity report and certification of satisfactory progress towards degree completion will use the format required by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
  3. The student enrolls in a minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate coursework each semester.

Nomination Process: The graduate studies coordinator or (preferably) faculty mentor recruiting the student should submit a maximum 2-page letter of nomination to Researchdev@memphis.edu that contains the following:

  1. Name of the student and PhD program into which s/he has been offered acceptance, and an e-mail address we can use to contact the nominee.
  2. Nominee's qualifications or experiences that demonstrate her/his likelihood to matriculate in a timely manner (e.g. GRE scores, undergraduate research experiences, quality of UG curriculum, prior publications, master's thesis or other independent research activities, work experience).
  3. Statement regarding how the nominee will advance diversity goals in her/his chosen discipline.

Upon receipt of the departmental nomination, we will contact the nominee via e-mail to request an application form, CV, and 2-page personal statement on or before February 1st (Click here for application).


Selection Process: The Division of Research and Innovation will assemble a review panel of STEM faculty and/or administrators to review new and continuation applications and meet as a full panel to prioritize the candidate pool. The Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation will make final selections based on these recommendations. Selections will be made by February 15th each year.