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San Diego and Cota Robles Fellowship Guidelines

The University of California, San Diego offers the San Diego and Cota Robles Fellowship programs as a means to increase campus diversity. The programs are motivated by the campus's commitment to be fully inclusive and supportive of all students, and by the belief that a diverse graduate student body enhances the quality of the educational experience for all students.

Questions about the application process may be directed to the academic department/program or to the Graduate Admissions Office at gradadmissions@ucsd.edu.

Eligibility

The fellowship program provides two awards: The San Diego Fellowship and the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship. Both are recruitment and retention tools that provide fellowship support to those students who merit admission into graduate programs at UCSD and whose presence would enhance diversity to the benefit of the entire campus community as evidenced by having overcome barriers such as social, educational or economic backgrounds, and/or demonstrating a commitment to diversity or increasing educational access for underrepresented students.

Two of the Cota-Robles Fellowships are designated as McNair Fellowships and awarded to nominees who participated in the Ronald McNair Program as undergraduates. An American Indian recipient, if any, of the Cota-Robles Fellowship will be awarded the Irene McFarland Trust Fellowship, which will be substituted for part of the Cota-Robles Fellowship.

  • Nominees must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or AB 540-qualified applicants.
  • Nominees must be recommended for admission to UCSD for the Fall term.
  • Nominees considered for the San Diego Fellowship must be recommended for admission to a program offering a Ph.D., D.M.A., Ed.D. Eligible Master's degrees are the M.F.A., M.I.A., M.P.P. and M.A. in Latin American Studies.
  • Nominees considered for the Cota-Robles Fellowship must be recommended for admission to a program offering the Ph.D., D.M.A. or Ed.D. degree.
  • Candidates for either fellowship must provide responses to at least three of the seven short answer areas found under the Additional Educational Experiences section of the online application for admission.

Fellowship Application Instructions

To be considered for the San Diego or Cota Robles Fellowship applicants must provide responses to at least three of the seven short answer questions found under the Additional Educational Experiences section of the online application for admission. Responses should be brief (between 3-5 sentences per area) highlighting how the applicant overcame barriers, and/or demonstrating a commitment to diversity. The seven questions are:

  • Leadership(e.g. coordination of volunteer activities, board member in student organization, residential life, student government etc.) etc.)
  • Overcoming Adversity(e.g. overcoming educational, social, cultural, economic, barriers, or barriers related to accessibility, etc.)
  • Community Involvement (e.g. volunteer service, organizing, activism, teaching, mentoring, counseling, community art production etc.)
  • Social Justice Experience(e.g. addressing systemic inequality through education, organizing, activism, mentorship, counseling, outreach/access, survival and development work, event planning/coordination, community building and development, etc.)
  • Personal or Professional Ethics(e.g. experience with an ethical code, conduct seminars, IRB training, etc.)
  • Research(e.g. undergraduate research, involvement in McNair or similar programs, independent or group study with a professor or researcher, research outside of academia, full-time research after college, etc.)
  • Other(e.g. any other kind of experience or information that you feel will help add to creating a diverse spectrum of ideas, perspectives, and experiences)

If the applicant did not respond to the questions in the online application, a separate document with the applicant’s responses may be submitted directly to their academic department or program.

Departments or programs must nominate students to the Graduate Division by the final deadline in March and are limited to a combined total of 6 nominees for both fellowships. Each nomination must include a faculty nomination letter that provides a compelling explanation of how the nominee will enhance diversity in the discipline, program or campus and a brief assessment of the nominee's academic merit.

Selection

Candidates for the fellowship will be selected based on the responses to at least three of the seven short answer questions found under the Additional Educational Experiences section of the online application for admission. Candidates will be selected whose presence would enhance diversity to the benefit of the entire campus community as evidenced by having overcome social, educational or economic backgrounds and/or demonstrating a commitment to diversity or increasing educational access for underrepresented students.

All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to age, ancestry, citizenship, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status.

Award

Eugene Cota-Robles:

  • Four-year award with stipend of up to $25,000, payment of tuition and fees, and where applicable, payment of non-resident supplemental tuition (first year only).
    • Graduate Division provides support for years 1 and 4.
    • The department provides support for years 2 and 3 at a comparable level or higher and the department or program may supplement the stipend amount.  Department support may include employment.
  • All continuing support is contingent upon the fellow remaining in good academic standing and meeting established departmental criteria for good academic progress toward the degree.
  • If a Cota-Robles Fellowship recipient carries other extramural funding upon matriculation at UC San Diego, the extramural support will take precedence and will be utilized first. 

San Diego Fellowship:

  • All Ph.D. and D.M.A., recipients receive four-year awards with stipends of $20,000, payment of tuition and fees, and where applicable payment of non-resident supplemental tuition (first year only).
    • The Graduate Division provides support for years 1 and 4.
    • The department provides support for the years 2 and 3 at a comparable level or higher. The department or program may supplement the stipend amount. The Department support may include employment.
  • Ed.D. and M.F.A. students selected as fellows shall receive three year awards with stipends of $20,000, payment of tuition and fees, and where applicable, payment of non-resident supplemental tuition (first year only).
    • Graduate Division provides support for the years 1 and 2.
    • The department provides support for the year 3 at a comparable level or higher. The department or program may supplement the stipend amount. The department support may include employment.
  • All M.I.A, M.P.P. and M.A. recipients receive one-year awards of $20,000, payment of tuition and fees, and where applicable payment of non-resident supplemental tuition. Note: professional fees are not included.
    • The Graduate Division provides support for year 1.
  • All continuing support is contingent upon the fellow remaining in good academic standing and meeting established departmental criteria for good academic progress toward the degree.
  • If a San Diego Fellowship recipient carries other extramural funding upon matriculation at UC San Diego, the extramural support will take precedence and will be utilized first.

Examples of experiences that indicate the student has had to overcome disadvantage or adversity include:

  • Was educated in a school or college with limited facilities and educational opportunities.
  • Had a low family income or had to work full time in high school or as an undergraduate to support family and/or to pay for college.
  • Was the first member of immediate family to complete college.
  • Overcame other social, cultural or economic barriers to pursue an education. The specific race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin of a nominee is not considered in selection, although barriers resulting from these personal circumstances are considered.

Examples of how a student could enhance campus or departmental diversity:

  • Student has successfully overcome significant educational, social, cultural, or economic disadvantage or adversity in a way that would enable him or her to contribute to the campus community in a manner that enhances campus diversity.
  • Student has unique circumstances, experiences, skills or talents that would benefit others and would enhance the diversity of the program or campus.
  • Student has a strong interest in undertaking research that would address issues of diversity as it relates to ethnic communities, social equity and justice, or economic opportunity.
  • Student has shown a deep commitment to working with others, through such activities as mentoring or tutoring, to promote educational access to higher education for underserved groups.