UR Awards

UCSC recognizes excellence in undergraduate research through:

  • Awards to Support 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

Competition for these awards recognizes exceptional achievement in research projects or other creative activities. Through these awards the Deans and Chancellor wish to encourage and stimulate outstanding scholarship and creativity among undergraduate students, based on work developed in courses or programs in the normal pattern of academic activity at UCSC. Winners are honored at an awards ceremony in June during the UCSC Annual Student Achievement Week. The names of the winners are also announced at graduation. Guidelines and application forms are available starting in mid-January from the offices of the Chancellor, Divisions, Departments, and Colleges.

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 $100). Recipients are considered for the Steck Award.

Steck Award- In recognition of the most outstanding completed senior thesis/research project, one graduating senior will be selected as the recipient of the Steck Award. The student will receive $1,000 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, $1,000 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

Created in honor of the late Art Department Professor, Carrillo was a passionate prolific artist, known for his adamant academic outreach to high school students and for speaking out for the possibilities of attaining a university education. Today, Carrillo’s vision and values are carried on in his legacy, as the need-based scholarship provides funds to UC Santa Cruz art majors who have achieved high academic merit in painting, drawing, or sculpture. Scholarship recipients can use the funds as needed to fulfill their academic and artistic goals. 
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. 

George Hitchcock Memorial Poetry Prize

This contest is open to current UCSC students; the winning poem will be published in Catamaran, and the winning poet will receive $500.  Check the webiste to see if the contest is happening for this year. 

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.

Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize

The Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize contest is now accepting submissions. This UC-wide contest is open to undergraduate students, and offers a total of $1000 in prize money. Poems are due in early January. After review by members of the UCSC faculty, three poems from the total entries will be forwarded to the UC-wide review committee. Students may submit up to three poems for the contest, totaling six pages.


Bertha N. Melkonian Memorial Scholarship

The student who submits the top proposal for the Humanities Undergraduate Research Award (HUGRA) awards receives the Bertha N. Melkonian Memorial Scholarship. Students may submit proposals each year for the HUGRA for research projects within humanities disciplines that will be conducted during the current academic year. Proposals are accepted each fall.

Don Rothman Endowed Award in First-Year Writing

Don Rothman founded this award to honor the achievements of one or more first-year students in the genre of nonfiction, academic, analytic writing, and to recognize excellence in writing pedagogy.  Applications are due in June and winners are announced in the fall.

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, the Awards Committee will select four outstanding essays or senior theses that represent distinguished examples of undergraduate scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies. 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, Bruce Thompson. 

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.

Sociology- Dane & Mary Fran Archer Undergraduate and Graduate Awards

The Dane and Mary Fran Archer Fund was established to support two awards for outstanding papers on subjects that reflect the work of Dane Archer, Professor Emeriti of the Sociology Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. One award is given for a paper on violence, war, and peace. The second award for a paper on cultural differences. The awards given is based on originality, academic merit, and the overall quality of the paper submitted on the stated topics.

Note: This award is dependent on available funding.

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.