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U-M STEM Research Career Award

The purpose of the U-M STEM Research Career Award is to support highly qualified sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD and research career in a STEM field.  The scholarship provides up to $10,000.

The scholarship does not require US citizenship; it is open to students from all nationalities and backgrounds.  The U-M STEM Research Career Award application and letters of recommendation will also be used to select U-M’s nominees for the Goldwater and Astronaut Scholarships from among eligible applicants. Once selected, nominees will be notified and asked to complete the additional application process. 

This scholarship is made possible by generous support from the LSA Dean's Office and the U-M Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). 

U-M Application Deadline: The 2020-2021 application deadline extended to Monday, January 4, 12:00 noon.

U-M Contact: Henry Dyson, Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF)


  • Sophomore or junior standing with full-time enrollment. “Sophomore” is defined as a student who has two more years (3-4 fall/winter semesters) of full-time undergraduate study remaining beginning in the September after application.  “Junior” is defined as a student who has one more year (both fall and winter semesters) of full-time undergraduate study remaining beginning in the September after application and will graduate in May.

  • Most successful applicants have at least a 3.8 GPA, strong grades in STEM classes related to their intended field of graduate study, and at least one year of sustained involvement in one or more research projects.

  • There is no citizenship requirement for this award.  Students from all nationalities and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Application Instructions:

NOTE: The 2020-2021 application deadline has been extended to Monday. January 4, 12:00 noon.

1) Contact Henry Dyson to register intent to pursue U-M STEM Research Career Award.

2) As part of the application you should plan to upload a single PDF that includes each of the following four documents.  Please prepare the document ahead of time so it is ready to upload. The document should be entitled “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_STEM-RCAYEAR” (e.g. Dyson_Henry_STEM-RCA2018)

Document #1: A list of your STEM research projects.  Each project should include:

  1. A title for the research project
  2. Your PI and lab supervisors
  3. The start and end dates of the project (or “ongoing” if applicable)
  4. A sponsor program for the project, if applicable (e.g. NSF-REU, Amgen Scholars, SURF)
  5. A brief 2-3 sentence description of the project and your role
  6. Presentations or publications associated with the project.  Publication drafts that have not yet been submitted for editorial review should be listed as “Draft”.  Publications accepted but not yet published should be listed as “Forthcoming.” Publications should include a brief citation or link.

Document #2: A resume of non-research activities that include both STEM and non-STEM student organizations, outreach or tutoring programs, volunteering, employment, etc.

Document #3: A copy of your unofficial UM transcript.

  1. Order an electronic copy of your UM transcript from the RO for free to your own email address.  
  2. Open the protected PDF via Parchment.  
  3. You cannot combine the protected PDF directly, so select "print to PDF" and make an unprotected copy.  
  4. The transcript has now become unofficial, so use Adobe to remove the authenticity cover page and combine it with your other documents.

Document #4: A 3-page research statement discussing one particular research experience in depth. This is your opportunity to demonstrate to the committee that you “think like a scientist.” The essay should be in two-column, “journal style” format, and may include figures or graphs. The essay may be single or double spaced using 12-point font in Arial or Times New Roman. Margins should be 1 inch on each side. The essay must include your name and "University of Michigan - Ann Arbor" at the top of each page (header). The essay must discuss each of the following:

  1. A brief summary of the history, current state of research, and/or importance of the topic investigated.
  2. Specifics about experimental design, the collection and analysis of data, and/or testing of hypotheses and conclusions. These should be written for a specialist audience and may include technical details.
  3. The applicant’s specific role in the research project.  Note: this is the major departure of this essay from the genre of scientific publishing.  Unlike journal articles, this essay should have “I”-statements that make clear the applicant’s contributions to the project.
  4. Future directions for the research. If you will not be involved in the future of the project, indicate that you understand what these future directions will be.
  5. A brief bibliography (usually 2-6 sources).  

Here are four examples of essays by recent Goldwater Scholars:

Goldwater Sample Essay 1|PDF

Goldwater Sample Essay 2|PDF

Goldwater Sample Essay 3|PDF

Goldwater Sample Essay 4|PDF

3)  Complete the Online Application and upload your PDF.

4)  In addition to your application, please arrange to have at least three and no more than four letters of recommendation sent to ONSF via online submission

  • Prior to requesting letters of recommendation, you must fill out the ONSF Student Waiver Form and submit directly to us at  The completed form serves as your FERPA Release for Letter Writers. You must submit a copy of the completed Waiver to each of your letter writers when asking them to write a letter of recommendation for you. Email with questions about this process.

  • Please advise your recommenders that their letters of recommendation should be entitled “StudentLastName_StudentFirstName_AdvisorLastName” and submitted via online submission.

  • Letters should come from faculty in STEM fields, especially research mentors and instructors for upper-level courses related to the applicant’s intended field of graduate study.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult Henry Dyson when selecting their letter writers.

  • Please download this this advice sheet from the U-M STEM Research Awards Committee and send it to your potential recommenders.

4) Please send transcripts from any college-level STEM coursework done outside U-M directly to Henry Dyson at  We typically don't need to see dual enrollment high school courses unless they are directly relevant to your research career.

Note: If nominated, applicants will be asked to complete and submit a Class Ranking Request Form as part of their complete U-M Application. Please email for details.