Graduate School Fellowships in Support of Diversity

Diversity Recruitment Fellowships

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

  • Graduate School Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students across all graduate fields
  • SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowship—for recruitment of new research degree students in graduate fields within contract colleges (open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents)
  • 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
  • Cornell Colman, Lance R. Collins, and Robert F. Smith Fellowships (College of Engineering) — for recruitment of new research degree students in engineering related fields    
  • Cornell Bowers Computing & Information Science (CIS) Deans Excellence and Hopper-Dean Fellowships — for recruitment of new research degree students based in Ithaca in computing related fields 
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Stadtman Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students in fields affiliated with academic departments in CALS
  • College of Human Ecology Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students fields affiliated with academic departments in CHE 
  • Cornell Tech Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students based at Cornell Tech in computing related fields 
  • College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students in fields affiliated with academic departments in CVM

Diversity Recruitment Fellowships are designed to advance the Graduate School’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and especially, access. They are available on a competitive basis to nominated domestic students from all backgrounds applying for Fall admission who are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, Indigenous peoples of Canada eligible to register as domestic students under the Jay Treaty, or students holding DACA, TPS, refugee, or asylee status who have demonstrated commitment and potential to significantly contribute to Cornell’s core value to provide a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and work productively and positively together. 

Students who wish to be considered for these fellowships must indicate their interest within the Graduate School application. Students awarded a fellowship in support of diversity are recognized as Graduate School Dean’s Scholars and invited to participate in community and professional activities sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and its partners. Students awarded a Diversity Recruitment Fellowship may receive a standard offer of admission and subsequently be offered this competitive fellowship in lieu of a standard funding offer.

Through the Personal Statement, applicants should address how their background and experiences influenced their decision and ability to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, they should provide insights into their potential to contribute to Cornell University’s core value to provide a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and work productively and positively together. Within the Personal Statement, applicants may also include relevant information on any of the following:

  • How their personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate their ability to be both persistent and resilient especially when navigating challenging circumstances.
  • How they engage with others and have facilitated and/or participated in productive teams.
  • How they have come to understand the barriers faced by others whose experiences and backgrounds may differ from their own.
  • If relevant, how their research interests focus on issues related to diversity, inclusion, access, inequality, and/or equity.
  • Details on their service and/or leadership in efforts to advance diversity, inclusion, access, and equity especially for those from backgrounds historically underrepresented and/or marginalized.
  • Additional context on any significant barriers they have navigated to make graduate education accessible to them.
  • Contextual details on any perceived gaps or weaknesses in their academic record.

Within the personal statement, applicants interested in being considered for nomination for a competitive Diversity Recruitment Fellowship should also provide details of lessons learned from any of their lived experiences including but not limited to

  • being a first-generation college student or graduate (no parent/guardian completed a baccalaureate degree)
  • racial, ethnic, and/or cultural background(s)
  • managing a disability or chronic health condition
  • experiencing housing, food, economic, and/or other forms of significant insecurity
  • being a solo parent
  • gender identity and/or sexual orientation
  • having served in the military
  • holding DACA, refugee, TPS, or asylee status

How to apply:

  • Prospective students apply for Diversity Recruitment Fellowships through the Graduate School admissions application.
  • To be considered for nomination for a Diversity Recruitment Fellowship, eligible applicants must respond “yes” to the question on the admissions application asking whether they would be interested in being considered for a Diversity Recruitment Fellowship. 
  • The director of graduate studies for the graduate field to which the applicant is applying must submit a letter of nomination and a mentoring plan to the Graduate School for consideration by the associate dean for inclusion and faculty and student engagement and the assistant dean for access and recruitment in 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 advance the Graduate School’s commitment to advancing diversity, access, equity, and inclusion. It is available to domestic advanced Ph.D. students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, Indigenous peoples of Canada eligible to register as domestic students under the Jay Treaty, or students holding DACA, TPS, refugee, or asylee status who have made significant contributions to Cornell’s core value to provide a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and work productively and positively together and/or have successfully navigated significant barriers to accessing graduate education. 

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 (note nomination forms go live in late August):

  1. Student Application Form: Includes submission of
    • A personal statement of no more than 500 words providing insight into your contributions to supporting Cornell’s Core Value to provide community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where individuals representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences have the opportunity to learn and work productively and positively together. Within the personal statement, applicants should also provide details of lessons learned from any of their lived experiences including but not limited to
      • being a first-generation college graduate (no parent/guardian completed a baccalaureate degree)
      • racial, ethnic, and/or cultural background(s)
      • managing a disability or chronic health condition
      • experiencing housing, food, economic, and/or other forms of significant insecurity
      • being a solo parent
      • gender identity and/or sexual orientation 
      • having served in the military
      • holding DACA, refugee, TPS, or asylee status
    • A dissertation completion plan, including a timeline for work to be completed, 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 and funding plan 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. Your recommendation should be included in the mentoring and funding plan.
  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 11:59 p.m. on October 2. (If the application deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, applications will be due the next business day.) Fellowship award decisions will be announced by early November.