Doctoral Fellowships for tomorrow's leaders

Call for Nominations, Spring 2019

Nominations must be submitted by noon on January 30, 2019.

The Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship (SGF) offers a unique opportunity for students seeking a Ph.D. at The University of Kansas. SGF supports outstanding doctoral students in biological and biomedical sciences, business, economics, engineering, mathematics, pharmaceutical sciences, and physical sciences fields. SGF seeks student nominations from eligible departments for those who will begin work on a Ph.D. in the fall semester of 2019. First-year doctoral students may also be nominated for this award by their departments. Students who have been enrolled more than one year in a Ph.D. program at the time of nomination are not eligible. Contact the SGF office if you have questions regarding eligibility.

*Please note that all nomination materials should be sent directly to departments and should be included in the nomination file. Nomination materials should not be emailed to SGF

Award and Program

Self Graduate Fellows receive a support package that in total exceeds $175,000. New Self Graduate Fellows for 2019-2020 will receive $30,500 each year for four years. Payment is through appointment as a graduate research assistant. The fellowship covers tuition, fees, and the employer’s share of student health insurance costs. Fellows will also have access to a $5,500 professional development award over the course of their four years in the program.

The Fellow Development Program is a distinctive feature of the fellowship. It provides general education and training in communication, management, innovation, and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles, complementing the specialized education and training provided in Ph.D. programs. Fellow Development Program topics include oral and written communication, negotiation, teamwork, advocacy, ethics, leadership, business planning and development, financial management, human resources management, and project management, and more. The topics listed above occur over a four year sequence.

Program activities include two week-long skill sessions, biweekly luncheons, communication coaching workshops, lectures on public policy topics, and a government and science policy seminar in Washington, D.C. Fellows are expected to participate in the Fellow Development Program for four consecutive years. The time commitment is approximately 80 hours each year, plus preparation and travel time.

Nomination Guidelines

Who to nominate

SGF seeks individuals whose academic preparation, vision, and commitment to career goals match the Self Graduate Fellow profile. SGF guidelines direct the SGF Board of Trustees to select an entering class with a variety of career goals in the private sector, government, or higher education. No more than 20 percent of offers will go to students who indicate a preference for higher education.

Nominees must be U.S. citizens. Nominees must have received their first bachelor’s degree within the last eight years (2011- 2019). Students who are invited to interview must submit proof of U.S. citizenship prior to the interview.

Self Graduate Fellow profile

Please read this paragraph thoroughly because the success of nominations – both the written portion and the oral interview – depends on how the nominee’s response fits these traits.

The ideal candidate possesses unusual motivation, passion, and potential to make significant contributions to their profession and to society. In addition to a strong academic record, the candidate has leadership, communication, and decision-making skills. The candidate displays personal attributes that include self-awareness, emotional maturity, initiative, tenacity, energy, vision, risk-taking, and interpersonal effectiveness. The ideal candidate is interested in personal development and lifelong learning and is committed to participation in the Fellow Development Program.

How to nominate

Please send the “Information for University of Kansas Self Graduate Fellowship (SGF) Nominees, Spring 2019” document to your nominees as soon as they have been identified. This document can be found at the back of this information packet. It contain directions for the SGF personal statement, which is one of the most important documents in the nomination process. The nomination file submitted by the department should include the SGF cover sheet provided in this document, the student’s SGF personal statement and waiver form, a letter of nomination from the department, copies of the candidate’s KU graduate school application, transcripts, GRE scores, application statement (to the department), resume, three SGF specific letters of recommendation, plus any other supporting materials from the department.

Selection process overview

Nominations are due by noon on January 30, 2019. Please note that nominations will be submitted electronically.  Nomination files are reviewed by a team of faculty members and SGF staff. A thorough nomination file is very important. The SGF Board of Trustees reviews recommendations from the evaluation team and will decide who to invite for an interview. A brief telephone interview may also be used in the initial review.

Interviewees will be invited to campus to visit departments and interview for Self Graduate Fellowships February 25- March 1, 2019. 

For more information, please visit the SGF website: selfgraduate.ku.edu2 or contact the Recruitment Coordinator, Christine Cain, at or 785-864-7238.

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