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Merit Award for Current Doctoral Students

Deadlines: April 8. (In the event that a deadline falls upon a weekend or a university holiday, that deadline will move to the first workday following the posted date.)

Award Amount: $1,500.

Directions: Department chairs submit application materials electronically in digital form to the WiSE program office at

Application Form: PhD Merit Award Application Form.

The Merit Award for Current Doctoral Students is offered to current Ph.D. students at USC who demonstrate exceptional work in their field. Two candidates will be chosen from the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and two from the Viterbi School of Engineering. Candidates are nominated by the faculty. Each one-year WiSE Fellowship carries a stipend of $1,500. To be eligible for the Merit Awards students must plan to be enrolled full-time for both the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters, be in at least their fourth year of study or passed their qualifying exams, and be funded by a 50%-time research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship during that period. Expected date of graduation should not be earlier than the spring semester.


The purpose of the WiSE Merit Award is to provide advanced doctoral students with an opportunity to be recognized for their achievements. Surveys have shown that the attrition rate of female doctoral students is significantly higher than that of male doctoral students. The WiSE Program hopes this fellowship will provide support and motivation to students on an academic trajectory who demonstrate dedication to increasing the representation of women in science and engineering.

Selection Criteria:
The WiSE Committee will evaluate the excellence of the candidate’s research, the trajectory of improvement, and any other personal/professional attributes that demonstrate how the Merit Award may encourage the candidate to pursue a career in science and engineering.