Undergraduate Research Awards

UCSC recognizes excellence in undergraduate research through:

  • Awards to Support Undergraduate Research (UR)
  • Awards for Completed Scholarly Activities

Awards to Support UR

See the Funding section for each division's webpage.

Selected UCSC Awards for Completed Scholarly Activities

Please note that the following list is not inclusive.  Check with the department and division for a complete list.

Deans', Chancellor’s & Steck Undergraduate Awards

These awards recognize exceptional achievement in research projects or other creative activities. Winners are honored at an awards ceremony in June during the UCSC Annual Student Achievement Week. Applications are available starting in early Februrary from the DCA website here.

Dean's Award- Fifty undergraduate students, ten from each of the five academic divisions, receive a Dean's Award (certificate and $100). Recipients are considered for the Chancellor's Award.

Chancellor's Award- The best three students from each of the divisions will also receive a Chancellor's Award (certificate and an additional $500). Recipients are considered for the Steck Award.

Steck Award- In recognition of the most outstanding completed senior thesis/research project, one undergraduate student will be selected as the recipient of the Steck Award. The student will receive $2,000 and a certificate. In addition, his or her senior thesis/research project will be bound and copies given to the student, the research supervisor, McHenry Library, and the Steck family, whose generous contributions have made this award possible.

Campus Application Deadline:   Early April
Award Amounts:   $100 Dean’s, $500 Chancellor’s, $2,000 Steck Award 
Application Form: Available Winter

Division & Department Awards

Please note that this is not a comprehensive listing of awards.  Check your department's and division's pages for more information.


Eduardo Carrillo Memorial Fund

The Eduardo Carrillo Memorial Scholarships are intended to support outstanding Art students with documented financial need with a maximum award of $1,000. The Eduardo Carrillo Scholarship supports students in painting, sculpture, or drawing areas and students are invited to apply during Winter quarter.


Grosvenor Cooper Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1992, this scholarship is a merit-based award (with financial need brought into secondary consideration) given to second and third year UCSC students who, in the spirit of Dr. Cooper, “demonstrate a joyful enthusiasm for music beyond academic pursuit.” The recipient does not need to be a declared music major, but must be currently enrolled in a music class.



Department of History Linda Peterson Awards

Each year, the History Department solicits nominations from its faculty for the best undergraduate papers written in a history course or as a history senior thesis. Specific awards may be conferred for work based on geographic distinctions (e.g., American, world, European or Asian history) Optional awards will also be awarded at the discretion of the Undergraduate Education Committee (UEC). A paper or thesis written in any quarter of the current academic year is eligible for nomination. Winners receive $100 in recognition of their achievement. The top three papers, irrespective of the departmental awards, will be forwarded to the Humanities Division for consideration in the Dean’s and Chancellor’s award competitions.

Literature- Best Undergraduate Essay

A prize of $250 will be awarded to the best essay written in conjunction with any Literature course. Submissions should be between 5-10 standard double-spaced pages in length, and may represent a revised version of work submitted for a course. Any currently enrolled Literature major, regardless of class standing, may submit one paper written in any language to be considered for this prize. Contact litdept@ucsc.edu for more information. 

Literature- Best Senior Essay/Thesis

A prize of $250 will be awarded to a graduating senior Literature major for the best essay that was prepared in conjunction with one of the Department's exit requirements: a Senior Seminar (Literature course 190x or LTCR 194) or a Senior Thesis. Submissions should be between 15-25 standard double-spaced pages in length. To be eligible for this prize, students must have graduated, or be on track to graduate, between fall quarter 2013 and summer 2014. Creative Writing students are eligible to submit material that takes the form of an essay (but not, for instance, poems or short stories). Nominations will come from faculty; students may not submit their own work for this prize. 

Jewish Studies Undergraduate Research Awards

To encourage and reward outstanding research and writing on Jewish themes by undergraduates at UCSC. Students should submit their papers to the Department of History via e-mail attachment (historyundergrad@ucsc.edu). A letter of support from a faculty sponsor is recommended, but not required. Questions may be directed to Jewish Studies Academic Advising Coordinator. 

Social Sciences

Sociology-The Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender Award

The Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender Senior Thesis Award was established in 2000 by Pamela Ann Roby, who is currently a UCSC Professor Emerita of Sociology.  To be eligible for this award, applicants must be UCSC undergraduate sociology majors who have written their senior thesis on race, class, and gender during the academic year.


Physical & Biological Sciences

Stephen M. Palais Memorial Undergraduate Research Award
Created by the family in memory of former student, Stephen Palais, this award is administered by the MCD Biology and Mathematics Departments and recognizes meritorious undergraduate research.