Skip to main content

Graduate School Fellowships in Support of Diversity

Recruitment Fellowships

There are several graduate school recruitment fellowships in support of diversity for incoming students, including:

  • SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowship—for recruitment of new research degree students in graduate fields within contract colleges
  • Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students
  • Deans McNair and McNair SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowships — for recruitment of new research degree students who were McNair Scholars at their undergraduate institutions
  • Deans Mellon Mays and Mellon Mays SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowships — for recruitment of new research degree students who were Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at their undergraduate institutions

Recruitment fellowships designed to advance the Graduate School’s commitment to access, equity, and inclusion and to enhance the diversity of Cornell’s graduate student population are available on a competitive basis to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and students holding DACA status applying for Fall admission. Students who wish to be considered for these fellowships must submit a supplemental diversity essay with their application materials. Students awarded a fellowship in support of diversity will be recognized as Graduate School Dean’s Scholars and will be invited to participate in community and professional activities sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and its partners. Students awarded a fellowship may receive a standard offer of admission and subsequently be offered this competitive fellowship in lieu of a standard funding offer.

Success in graduate education requires significant persistence and resilience. Therefore, applicants are asked to use their supplemental essay to address how their personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate their ability to be both persistent and resilient especially when navigating challenging circumstances.The supplemental essay should detail how one or more of the following criteria applies to the applicant:

  1. First-generation college student
  2. Member of an ethnic or racial group historically underrepresented in graduate education (Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Native Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino)
  3. McNair or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Scholar (the Graduate School will verify an applicant’s status as a McNair Scholar or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow while pursuing a baccalaureate degree at a U.S. institution)
  4. Experiences overcoming significant challenges in their path toward graduate school. Examples include but are not limited to
    • Managing a disability
    • Being of a gender or orientation identity historically underrepresented in their graduate field of study
    • Veteran status
    • Single parent
    • Holding DACA status

How to apply:

  • Prospective students apply for fellowships in support of diversity through the Graduate School admissions application.
  • To be considered, applicants must respond “yes” to the question on the admissions application asking if they wish to be considered for university assistantships and fellowships, including diversity fellowships. Applicants must also submit a supplemental essay that addresses the provided essay prompt and how the above criteria apply to them.
  • The Director of Graduate Studies for the graduate field to which the applicant is applying must submit a nomination to the Graduate School for consideration by the Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Provost Diversity Fellowship for Advanced Doctoral Students

The Provost Diversity Fellowship is a competitive one‐term (fall, spring, or summer) dissertation completion fellowship designed to support the diversity of Cornell’s graduate student population. It is available to advanced Ph.D. students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and for whom one or more of the following criteria apply:

  1. First-generation college student
  2. Member of an ethnic or racial group historically underrepresented in graduate education (Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Native Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino)
  3. McNair or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Scholar (the Graduate School will verify an applicant’s status as a McNair Scholar or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow while pursuing a baccalaureate degree at a U.S. institution)
  4. Experiences overcoming significant challenges in their path toward graduate school. Examples include but are not limited to
    • Managing a disability
    • Being of a gender or orientation identity historically underrepresented in their graduate field of study
    • Veteran status
    • Single parent
    • Holding DACA status

Eligibility

To be eligible for an award, nominees must have received at least one‐year of support (e.g. assistantship, training grant, etc.) from their graduate field. Priority consideration for the Provost Diversity Fellowships will be given to students who meet all of the following conditions:

  1. Enrolled in a Cornell doctoral program for a minimum of two years by the time of nomination;
  2. Will have passed the A Exam prior to the award period for the fellowship; and
  3. Expect to complete all requirements for the doctorate within three terms (spring, summer, or fall) from the semester of nomination.

Submission Guidelines

A complete nomination consists of three separate Qualtrics Survey submissions:

  1. Student Nomination Form: Includes submission of a personal statement of no more than 500 words addressing how any of the eligibility criteria apply to the nominee, and a detailed dissertation plan, developed in collaboration with the nominee’s committee chair. 
  2. Committee Chair Nomination Form: Includes confirmation of the Committee Chair’s approval of the dissertation completion plan submitted by the nominee, and the submission of a letter of nomination that includes a mentoring detailing how the Committee Chair will support the nominee through the successful completion of their doctorate and help them access postgraduate opportunities. The letter should also include a funding plan detailing how the nominee has been funded to date and how they will be funded through completion if the fellowship is not awarded.
  3. Director of Graduate Study (DGS) Nomination Form: Includes confirmation of review and approval of the dissertation completion plan submitted by the student nominee and the mentoring and funding plan submitted by the committee chair.

Nomination Deadline

All nomination forms from the student, committee chair, and DGS, must be submitted no later than 11:59pm on September 30. (If the application deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, applications will due the next business day.) Fellowship award decisions will be announced by the end of October/early November.