Rita L. Atkinson Graduate Fellowship

The Rita L. Atkinson Graduate Fellowship is available to continuing graduate students engaged in interdisciplinary studies in the sciences and related fields, leading to a PhD at UC San Diego. 

GEPA is running a one-time off-cycle call for nominations for the Rita L. Atkinson Endowed Graduate Fellowship. Selected fellows will have the option to receive four consecutive quarters of support between SP24 and SU25. The fellowship includes a $30,000 stipend paid out over 12-months (4-consecutive quarters, including summer) plus tuition/fee payments during fall, winter, and spring quarters, including Non-CA Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) as needed.

Please note, in order to ensure on-time annual awarding, the selection and awarding process for this fellowship may change for AY 2024-25 and beyond. 


  1. Each department/program can nominate one continuing doctoral student from any major code - given the interdisciplinary nature of the award, the nominating department does not need to be the degree granting department. Academic Major Codes can be found in the Student Database (SSO required)

  2. For summer quarter, this fellowship can be in addition to departmental support or employment

  3. Student must not be planning to graduate before the final quarter of fellowship disbursement

  4. Receipt of these funds does not constitute an expectation of work

Nominees should be co-advised by at least two faculty from two different disciplines. (Both advisers may be in the same school, but should be in different programs/departments/areas.) 

Nominations should consist of the following materials (saved and submitted as ONE single .pdf file via this Google Form) Please note, this link was updated on 1/4/24 due to an issue with Google Forms:

  1. One page statement of interest (typed, single spaced, 11-point font, 1-inch margin) from the student, outlining the interdisciplinary nature of their research and the project(s) they intend to focus on during the fellowship term.

  2. One letter co-signed by at least two of the student’s faculty advisers and endorsed by the graduate program/department chair, addressing the following:

    1. The nominee's academic performance to date, notable publications or conference presentations, and other significant achievements in their field of study.

    2. How the nominee meets the specific eligibility requirements of the award, in particular the interdisciplinary nature of their research.

  3. Copies of the nominee's current transcript (unofficial is fine).

Please note students are not permitted to self-nominate, a department representative must submit the form on behalf of a student nominee.

Questions can be directed to gradfellowshipnoms@ucsd.edu

Nominations are due on Wednesday, January 24, 2024

We will announce selected awardees shortly thereafter by posting their names/departments below.

  1. Question: What if my faculty co-advisors are from the same discipline but have distinct and different areas of focus?

    1. Answer: Both advisers may be in the same school at UC San Diego, but should be in different programs, departments, or areas. The most competitive nominees will be those who can clearly show disciplinary diversity across their faculty advisors and articulate how their research is interdisciplinary in nature.

  2. Question: What if my faculty co-advisors are from the same discipline but one is at a different institution?

    1. Answer: Because this is an interdisciplinary fellowship, the most important factor is disciplinary diversity, so as long as your co-advisor at another institution is part of a different department/program/discipline, then you would be eligible to apply for the award. For example, if your UC San Diego advisor is in Physics, your co-advisor at another institution should not also be in Physics.

  3. Question: I am a first-year graduate student in Fall 2024, am I eligible to apply?

    1. Answer: Yes, please discuss your interest with your departmental graduate coordinator.

  4. Question: I am an international student, am I eligible to apply?

    1. Answer: Yes, domestic and international students are eligible to apply.