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WVU Foundation Distinguished Doctoral Scholarships

Application Due Date: Friday, October 23, 2020, by 11:59 p.m.


The WVU Foundation Distinguished Doctoral Scholarships provides $5,000 to doctoral students who have been admitted to doctoral candidacy and who are working toward the completion of their dissertations during the Spring 2021 term. These scholarships can be used to defray educational and research costs (including travel), and are reserved for Ph.D. students who have been admitted to candidacy and whose dissertation proposals or plans are approved prior to October 16, 2020.

Students selected for this scholarship opportunity will receive a one-time lump sum scholarship refund to their WVU student account. Note that scholarships are considered to be part of students’ overall WVU financial aid package and cannot be transferred to another institution. Also, any balance owed to WVU will be automatically deducted from the award refund. WVU does not withhold taxes from scholarship refunds, but this scholarship may be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service based on individual tax circumstances.

Graduate assistants and graduate students who hold fellowships are eligible to apply for WVU Foundation scholarship opportunities. Note that the general policy is that fellows may not receive additional funding that runs concurrent to a fellowship award; however, because this scholarship uses WVU Foundation funds (this particular line is viewed as a funding cap and not a fellowship), current eligible fellows and graduate assistants may apply.


The WVU Distinguished Doctoral Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship for Ph.D. level students. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be

  • enrolled in an on-campus Ph.D. program.
  • admitted to candidacy and Ph.D. dissertation prospectus/proposal is approved by October 16, 2020. Note that students in programs that don’t have a formal proposal requirement can instead request that their dissertation chair certify in writing to that they have been admitted to candidacy and are approved to begin data collection.
  • enrolled in at least 1 credit hour for both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms.
  • in good academic standing and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.70.

Eligible doctoral level students must complete the online application form by Friday, October 23, 2020, no later than 11:59 p.m. The online application requires students to:

  1. Submit a current resume or CV.
  2. Write and submit a brief synopsis (500 words, maximum) of their dissertation research that clearly articulates their dissertation research for non-specialist reviewers (i.e., someone outside of their discipline).
  3. Upload a current unofficial transcript.
  4. Write and submit a brief essay (250 words, maximum) that outlines their long-range professional goals, as well as how their research will contribute to their professional field.
  5. Request their dissertation chair to write a letter of support as part of the application and confirm that the students dissertation proposal has been approved by October 16, 2020. An email request for this letter will automatically be sent to the student’s dissertation chair once the student submits their application. The deadline for the dissertation chair’s letter of support is Monday, October 26, 2020, no later than 11:59 p.m. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that their chair submits the letter of support by the deadline.

Each application will be reviewed by the WVU Graduate Student University Fellowship and Scholarship Committee. Award selections will be based on the quality of the student’s:

  • application essay;
  • dissertation chair’s letter of support;
  • synopsis of dissertation research; and
  • academic record.

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Please contact the Office of Graduate Education and Life at or (304) 293-7173 for additional information about this scholarship opportunity.