Scholarships and Awards

The Division of Undergraduate Education provides information and manages the endorsement process for students on campus who are applying to National Scholarships which require instituational nomination, and also orchestrates several of the UCSB-based Commencement Awards.

Undergraduate Education does not maintain a directory for third-party scholarships that do not require campus endorsement, but may be able to provide support to students pursuing an application. For resources on third-party scholarships and other financial need based support, please refer to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

National Scholarship Listings

Visit the UCSB National Scholarship Listings to investigate prestigious national and international scholarship opportunities for qualified undergraduates.  These scholarships have rigorous and highly competitive application processes, so students must begin their applications well before the deadlines. 

While it is true that a successful applicatant to a national scholarship often receives financial support, the prestige of receiving one of these awards is in some ways even more valuable, as the scholarships can open up a variety of academic, research, and professional opportunities for students who are able to stand out amongst their peers.  Interested students should read the listings carefully and evaluate national scholarships for compatibility with their specific background and interests.

Students considering applying for a national scholarship are advised to send a message to scholarships@ltsc.ucsb.edu to set up an appointment to discuss their interest and the application process.  Students may also drop in between 9:30-11:00am on Wednesdays and 2-3:30pm on Thursdays for national scholarship advising, though appointments are recommended.

Commencement Awards

The Commencement Awards are presented each year to four graduating seniors. Applicants for the awards must graduate during the same year (fall, winter, spring, or summer of the current year). As the primary purpose is to recognize outstanding academic achievement, nominees should have a strong cumulative grade-point average.

Interested students submit an online application (link below) upon nomination or self-nomination for one of the following commencement awards:

  • Deans' Award for Outstanding Senior*

    Awarded to a graduating senior in the College of Letters and Science for outstanding scholarship. Nominees for any of the three divisional Awards will automatically be considered for the Deans' Award.

  • Frances Colville and Terry Dearborn Memorial Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in Mathematical, Life, or Physical Science, in memory of Frances M. Colville, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1955-64), and Terry H. Dearborn, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1940-64).

  • Luis Leal Social Sciences Undergraduate Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in the Social Sciences in honor of Don Luis Leal, a visiting professor whose presence and scholarship have greatly enriched the Santa Barbara campus (1976-2010).

  • William R. Reardon Undergraduate Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in Humanities and Fine Arts, in honor of William R. Reardon, Professor of Dramatic Art (1965-86) and Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1979-86), emeritus.

For a list of recent awardees, see the Recent Commencement Award Recipients document.

To apply, complete the online Commencement Award application (opened in late February) before the deadline of Monday, April 6, 2020.

In order to be considered for one of the awards, each online self-nomination form must be accompanied with the following materials:

  • A letter of recommendation from a UCSB faculty member, preferably in your major department. Letters of recommendation should discuss scholarly achievement, as well as any service to the campus community, or special circumstances you would like us to consider. The letters should be emailed to Alicia Melero, Assistant to the Dean, at amelero@ltsc.ucsb.edu.

* Where appropriate, one nominee for the Colville-Dearborn, Leal, and Reardon awards will be selected for the Deans’ Award for Outstanding Senior, based on academic achievement consistent with the Deans’ Award criteria.

The deadline for all Commencement Award applications is Monday, April 6, 2020.

Commencement Speakers

Have you dreamed of sharing your experience and inspiring your fellow Gauchos? Apply to be a Student Commencement Speaker! The College of Letters and Science is currently accepting applications for Student Commencement Speaker positions.

Although recent events related to the Coronavirus Emergency have required postponement of in-person Commencement activities per the Chancellor's March 26 announcement, the competition to speak and inspire your fellow Gauchos this year is continuing. Our office will be in touch with all candidates who apply when information is available regarding ceremony changes and related opportunities to speak.

If you are a senior who has graduated or will graduate during the current year, please consider applying for this exciting opportunity by completing the Commencement Speaker application (opened in late February) before the deadline of Monday, April 6, 2020.

Other Scholarships & Support

Pahl "Making a Difference" Award

The Louise A. and Stephen D. Pahl “Making a Difference” Award was established to honor an upper-division undergraduate in the Division of Social Sciences who has written a course-related paper which applies learning, theories, or principles to real world contemporary issues, recommending systematic changes, social/political action, or other significant catalysts for improvement in society in general or for a specific local community. The award consists of a monetary prize and commemorative certificate.

Eligibility requirements

  • Must be an undergraduate student in the College of Letters and Science with a major that falls within the Division of Social Sciences (Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Black Studies, Chicana & Chicano Studies, Communication, Economics, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, Political Science, Sociology)
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time student with upper-division class standing: preference will be given to graduating seniors
  • The recipient must also be involved as a volunteer in the community and/or University related activities

Application Deadline: 4:00 PM, April 23, 2020

To apply, the following are due attached to an email to scholarships@ltsc.ucsb.edu as Word documents or PDFs by the above deadline:

  1. A paper written for a course within the Division of Social Sciences that applies learning, theories, or principles to real world contemporary issues, recommending systematic changes, social/political action, or other significant catalysts for improvement in society in general or for a specific local community. The paper will be a major focus of the selection process, and will be evaluated for content as well as writing quality (clarity, cohesion, grammar, punctuation, completeness, etc.). The paper should include a cover page consisting of the applicant’s name, the paper’s title, the course title for which the paper was written, and the name of the course instructor.
  2. A résumé that includes local mailing and email addresses and lists all voluntary activities both on and off campus

When submitting materials, please put "Pahl Award Submission" in the subject line of the email.

Support for Other Scholarship Applications

The Division of Undergraduate Education does not maintain a directory for third party scholarships that do not require campus endorsement.  However, we are able to provide support for students working on any scholarship application, including providing comments on essays if permitted by that scholarship policies, and advice on application strategies and seeking recommendation letters. UCSB students working on applications for any academic scholarship may contact us at: scholarships@ltsc.ucsb.edu

For information on general financial support opportunities, including FAFSA related scholarships, we recommend students contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.