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Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship Processing Guidelines

Deadlines for 2014-2015 fellowship applications and nominations have passed. Winners will be announced mid-March.


Description of Award

The Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) award recognizes and supports the most academically excellent Ph.D. students who have achieved dissertator status at UWM or who will achieve dissertator status during the 2014-15 academic year. Students are nominated for this award by their programs and compete with other nominees from across the university. Fellowship award decisions are made by a university faculty committee.

Distinguished Dissertation Fellowships will be awarded annually to exceptional UWM doctoral students who have achieved dissertator status or who will achieve dissertator status during the 2014-15 academic year. Awards are for full-time study only. The academic fellowship stipend for 2014-2015 is $16,500. In addition, recipients will benefit from a $1,000 travel award that will accompany each fellowship award. The money should be spent in accordance with UWM travel regulations by the end of the fiscal year following the year in which the fellowship award is held. The money will be spent on travel to present at a major national or international conference in the student's discipline. Fellows receive coverage of resident graduate tuition, a remission of the out-of-state portion of the tuition (if applicable), low-cost comprehensive health insurance and other benefits


  1. Dissertator Status: Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship applicants must have completed all major and minor coursework, passed preliminary examinations, completed Ph.D. residency requirements, and attain dissertator status by the end of the fellowship award year. DDF award will be paid at the Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship rate until dissertator status is attained.
  2. Concurrent Fellowship/Scholarship Support: No other scholarship or fellowship may be held concurrently with a Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship (with the exception of the Chancellor's Graduate Student Award).
  3. Maximum Dissertation Support: A Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship may be held for a maximum of one academic year. No current or previous awardee may be nominated for further support.
  4. Concurrent Employment: Concurrent employment of Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship recipients is limited to the following:
    • University employment of a maximum of 25% TA, PA, or RA.
    • Student hourly of up to 10 hours per week.

Selection of Nominees

For the sake of these fellowships, a “graduate degree program” is defined more broadly than the UW System definition to include any graduate program that meets both of the following criteria:

  1. Student must make specific application to the degree program on their applications to the Graduate School or department.
  2. Students cannot transfer out of the program without making explicit application to another program, even within the same department or unit.

If a program offers both the master’s and Ph.D. degrees, it is considered a single graduate program and can nominate only two students.

Selection Criteria

Distinguished Dissertation Fellowships are highly competitive. Fellowships are awarded on the basis of the applicant's previous academic record, scholarly and other achievements, status toward degree*, and faculty recommendations.

  • We base our evaluation on the totality of information available. No single factor is decisive.
  • We understand that excellence takes many forms, and we are flexible to recognize it when we see it.
  • We consider each application holistically, and take into account factors such as academic background, experiences, perspectives, aspirations, values, and accomplishments.

*See Eligibility; please be sure that your degree program's nominees have achieved dissertator status or will do so during the fellowship award year.

Graduate Degree Program Nomination Instructions

  • Both the students' applications and your program's nominations are submitted entirely online.

Before submitting your degree program's online nomination, please make sure that you have followed the instructions and have included all the necessary documentation.

  1. Verify all information submitted by your nominee:
    • Application. This should be filled out completely. To see what information is requested of students, see Required Application Information.
    • One letter of recommendation from student's major professor
  2. After the applicant's information has been verified: Use the online application to submit a summary statement explaining why the nominee is a good candidate for the Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship ; rank the applicant; and verify the student's status in your graduate program.
  3. Students with an assigned rank and all completed documents will be considered nominated for your degree program.

Degree Program Follow-Up to Applicants

After you submit your nominated applicants to the Graduate School, please notify all of your degree program's fellowship applicants (non-nominated as well as nominated applicants) of the status of their fellowship applications.

Important Dates

February 7, 2014 Deadline for submission of dissertation fellowship nominations from graduate degree programs
Approximately March 14, 2014 Announcement of awards

For questions regarding any of these procedures, please contact the Graduate School at 229-7177 or 229-7188 (e-mail: fellowship@uwm.edu).

Page last updated on: 02/17/2014