Graduate LEAD Fellowship


The Graduate LEAD Fellowship (Leading Edge Advancement with Distinction) is intended to help recruit the most outstanding PhD and MFA students to UCI.  The funds are used to enhance financial support packages of top admitted doctoral students who have received competitive admissions offers from other top universities.  Graduate LEAD Fellowship nominations will be reviewed by a committee of distinguished faculty, and will be awarded on a rigorous, competitive basis.  Only the top 5% of admitted students are expected to receive this award. 

Award Info

  • Each award will be $25,000 to top-off the nominating program's financial support offer and will be disbursed any time in increments of $5,000 per quarter after matriculation.
  • Students are required to participate in a leadership training program as a stipulation of this fellowship.


  • This fellowship requires a competing offer.
  • Nominees must meet the following minimum criteria:
    • Have been admitted to a PhD program OR MFA program at UCI
    • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7
      • Overall undergraduate, and, if applicable, master's
      • Convert to 4.0 scale if degree awarded is from an International university
    • Have received a financial offer from the nominating program
    • Have not yet submitted an SIR
    • Exhibit potential for outstanding leadership in their discipline
    • Have demonstrated ability to be resilient in the face of challenges, while still attaining exceptional achievements
  • Nominee must be interviewed during the admissions process by the department in order to be considered for this fellowship. Method of interview can be in-person, by phone, or Skype, etc. Email correspondence is NOT acceptable.
  • The nominated student must be offered 5 years of funding from his or her program, or 4 if he or she already has a master's degree. 
  • Nominee may be be a US citizen, Permanent Resident, AB 540 eligible or an International student.

Nomination & Submission Process

  • The nominating program must provide each of the following documents as part of the application for a Graduate LEAD Fellowship (Please assemble packet in this order):
    • A completed nomination form, which includes:
      • Basic information
      • Interivew confirmation
      • A proposed plan for disbursal of the $25,000 Fellowship to the student.  Funds may be disbursed at any time during the first five years of a student’s academic career, in increments of $5,000 per quarter.
    • A copy of the original admission and financial offer letter(s) from the nominator’s program.
    • A letter of support from the faculty nominator.
    • Along with the completed nomination form, please submit a scanned copy of the student's application (copy of the application from DAVAD, letters of recommendation with the rankings, and copy of student's transcripts)
    • A copy of the competing institution's admission and financial offer letter(s)
  • Scan the completed nomination packet and save file with "name of fellowship_last name of student_student ID". Example: Lead_Gillman_12345678"

Information for Letter Writers

The program recommendation is one of the most important parts of the nomination packet. Here are the requirements when writing a letter of support for the Provost PhD Fellowship and the Graduate LEAD Fellowship.

  • This needs to be written by a faculty member in the student’s department/program, who may be the proposed mentor (if available) and/or graduate advisor and/or program director.
  • Summarize previous contact that you have had with the student.
  • A brief narrative outlining what makes the student outstanding, including academic excellence and diverse life experience, and why the Fellowship may persuade the student to choose to attend UC Irvine.
  • The following points need to be discussed:
    • Describe the nominee’s research interests and relevant research experience.
    • Describe how the nominee shows potential for leadership in his/her discipline.
    • Describe the nominee’s interest in diversifying the program.  Discuss any diversity initiatives the nominee has participated in or led in the past.
    • Describe how the nominee has shown resilience in the face of challenges, while still making exceptional achievements.  Be specific about examples.
    • Describe highlights from nominee’s academic record.

Contact Info


  • A standing faculty committee will review the applications and make award recommendations.  The committee will meet a total of three times beginning mid-February. The deadline for early consideration is January 30, 2017 at 12PM. The second deadline is Feb 13th at 12PM and the final deadline is Feb 27th at 12PM.