Scholarships and Awards

The following is a partial listing of available scholarships and awards for both current and prospective students

Koret Undergraduate Research Scholarships

Become a Koret Scholar! 
$2000 Scholarships for Undergraduate Research

Application Opens: September 24, 2018
Applications Closes: October 31, 2018

The Koret Scholars Program provides funding for a variety of undergraduate research projects and experiences. The program supports scholarships for undergraduate research projects with faculty and graduate student mentors, undergraduate and graduate student research internships with the Student Success Evaluation and Research Center, and expansion of the year-long College Scholars research development program.

Application Information and Help

Applicant Eligibility:

  • Must be an enrolled UCSC undergraduate student in good academic standing. Applicants will be required to provide access to educational records for verification purposes.
  • Must have a UCSC faculty (or, in some cases, graduate student or lecturer) mentor for the project. Applicants will be required to submit a letter of support from the mentor.
  • The project must be completed prior to the student's graduation.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Scientific, scholarly, and/or creative merit of the proposed research project.
  • Evidence of ability to carry out the proposed research project (as shown by a letter of support, transcripts, proposal narrative, and project timeline).

Application Components:

  • Applicant information: Name, email, etc. Major(s) or proposed major, Expected Graduation Term, unofficial transcript, and College.
  • Mentor information: Name, email, Mentor status, Mentor department, and letter of support from mentor.
  • Research project information: Title of project, project timeline and description, and personal statement from student.

Applications must be completed by the student participant. Students are encouraged to work with their mentor in submitting their application. 


Information for Mentors

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Contact Don Bard, Coordinator of Undergraduate Honors and Research Opportunities at

The Marilyn Stevens Memorial Award

*For both Physics undergraduate and graduate students

The Marilyn Stevens Memorial Scholarship is an award designed to honor the former Department Manager of Physics, Marilyn Stevens. It is given to a current upper-division physics undergraduate student and a current physics graduate student. Fellow students, faculty, or staff nominates prospective recipients. The award considers academic excellence, community service, service in and out of UCSC, and any outstanding contribution made to the Physics Department.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

Must be a current upper-division physics undergraduate or current physics graduate student.

Print and fill the application. Submit by the deadline FRIDAY, May 1st!

A completed application includes just 2 things:

  • Your unofficial transcript
  • Application form (completed by you and your faculty sponsor)

Undergraduate Students: Please send your completed application to Maria Nishanian at by Friday, May 1, 2019.

Graduate Students: Please send your completed application to Ben Miller at by Friday, May 1, 2019.


The Ronald H. Ruby Memorial Scholarship

Ron Ruby was a founding faculty member of the Physics Department. A memorial scholarship for undergraduates was set up in his memory. The Ron Ruby Scholarship is intended to reward the most promising young physicists while also honoring Ron’s vision of providing greater access to quality college education. Both merit and financial need are considered in making the award. The department considers diversity an important academic value, so the Ron Ruby Scholarship shall be awarded preferentially to one or more students who have demonstrated potential for leadership in promoting cross-cultural understanding and/or those who have an outstanding record of service dedicated toward helping educationally disadvantaged students. However, recipients will be selected without regard to their race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin. U.S. citizenship is not required.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

Only declared physics Majors will be eligible. Applicant should have some record of making good progress to a timely completion of BS degree. Any individual student may receive a Ron Ruby scholarship only once. Both merit and financial needs should be considered in making the award. The department considers diversity an important academic value, so the Ron Ruby scholarship shall be awarded preferentially to one or more students who have demonstrated potential for leadership and promoting cross-cultural understanding and/or those who have an outstanding record of service dedicated toward helping educationally disadvantaged students.

Print and fill out the application. Submit by the deadline May 1st!

A completed application includes just 2 things:

  • Your unofficial transcript
  • Application form (completed by you and your faculty sponsor)

Please send your completed application to Maria Nishanian at by May 1st, 2019.

Declared physics juniors and sophomores may apply! 

The Donald E. and Irene Osterbrock Fellowships

The Osterbrock Fellowships are established in honor of eminent American astronomer Donald E. Osterbrock and his wife Irene. Don Osterbrock pioneered the study of gaseous nebulae and originated the classification scheme for active galactic nuclei. He was one of Lick Observatory’s most influential directors. Don was a gifted teacher, and the doctoral students he advised comprise a significant portion of America’s astronomical leadership. His wife, Irene, worked tirelessly to help establish the UCSC Library’s Mary Lea Shane Archives of the Lick Observatory as a world renowned repository of U.S. astronomical history. [Further Information]

The Elmer A. Fridley Scholarship

The Elmer A. Fridley Scholarship in the Physical Sciences has been awarded on our campus since the 1989-90 academic year. The scholarship fund was set up as a result of a bequest to the University of California from the estate of William Fridley, a long time resident of Santa Cruz County. The scholarship is to be awarded to an outstanding continuing undergraduate or graduate student in the physical sciences. The scholarship is awarded in the late spring.

Deans’ & Chancellor’s Undergraduate Awards, UC Santa Cruz

The Deans’, Chancellor’s and Steck Awards recognize exceptional achievement in research projects or other creative activities. Application forms are available in early spring from offices of the Chancellor, Divisions, Departments, and Colleges. Winners are honored at the Undergraduate Academic Awards ceremony in June that culminates the UCSC annual Student Achievement Week.

  • Deans' Undergraduate Award                                                                                                                  In late spring, fifty undergraduate students, ten from each of the five academic divisions, receive the Dean’s Award of $100 for outstanding achievement in their division. Recipients are considered for the Chancellor’s Award.
  • Chancellor's Undergraduate Award                                                                                                        In late spring, the Chancellor’s Award recognizes the top three students, from the Deans’ Award list, from each division with an additional $100 award. Recipients are considered for the Steck Award.
  • Steck Award                                                                                                                                            The Steck Award recognizes what they feel is the most outstanding research project chosen from the fifteen Chancellor Awardees. The student recipient receives an additional $1,000. In addition, his or her senior thesis/research project is bound and copies given to the student, the research supervisor, UC Santa Cruz Library, and the Steck family, whose generous contributions have made this award possible.

Students can apply directly online, by going to:

The deadline for undergraduates to submit their completed online application is April 3, 2019. 

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

In 1986 Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. This program's purpose is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. UCSC is given the opportunity to nominate four applicants. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Scholarship monies not used during one academic year are not transferable to the succeeding academic year. Junior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of two years of scholarship support, and senior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of one year of scholarship support. Scholars may opt to study abroad, but their Goldwater funding will be based on their U.S. institution's budget.

Preaplications submisstion are due by Friday, November 9th, 2018.

Click here to access the Student Profile and Goldwater Scholarship Pre-Application. 

California Space Grant Consortium (CaSGC)

The WIA Foundation is pleased to provide scholarships to women interested in a career in the aerospace field to pursue higher education degrees in engineering, math or science. One or more awards will be given each year to a rising senior in college, to be applied during the upcoming academic year.

To be eligible for the WIA Foundation Scholarship, an applicant must be interested in pursuing a career in the aerospace field and be a rising junior or senior working towards a bachelor’s degree in engineering, math or science. An applicant must have completed at least two and a half academic years of full-time college work at the time of application and must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States or its territories, and plan to be enrolled in the subsequent academic year. Each applicant must have a college grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must be female of any nationality. Applications will be available on or about about mid-November to mid-December for the subsequent academic year.

To that end, the WIA Foundation will award a $2,000 scholarship per year to a woman who is a rising senior in college studying engineering, math or science, thus encouraging women to enter careers in the aerospace field.The Foundation partly accomplishes its purpose by providing scholarships to women who study engineering, math or science at the undergraduate level, and thereby (i) encourage women to enter careers in the aerospace field, (ii) expand women's opportunities for leadership in aerospace, and (iii) increase women's visibility in the aerospace community.

To contribute to the WIA Foundation or for further information, please contact the WIA Foundation at or 202-547-0229.

Physics Department Thesis Honors Procedure

The senior thesis of a physics, applied physics, or astrophysics major may be given an honors designation, an honor that will be mentioned in the graduation ceremony. In order that all of our majors have an opportunity to receive the thesis honors designation, we have adopted the following procedure: 

1)  No later than June 1 the thesis advisor may provide a nomination of the honors designation to the Physics 182 instructor who will review and sign the thesis. This is best done at the time the thesis advisor signs the thesis and it is forwarded to the Physics 182 instructor, as the same deadline applies to the thesis submission. It is important that all faculty be aware of the honors designation and give consideration to all theses that they sign.

2)  The Physics 182 instructor and the Department Chair review the advisor’s recommendation within the context of the full set of senior theses received and either accept or reject the nomination.

3)  The Physics 182 instructor and/or the Department Chair may also nominate theses for honors and then go back to the thesis advisor for concurrence. This possibility is especially important in cases in which the advisor is not in the department and may not be aware of the honors possibility.

4)  If all three thesis signatories agree, then the honors designation is forwarded to the Department Manager to be recorded.

5)  Late theses, for example completed over the summer, may still be given an honors designation, but no mention of that will be possible at the student’s graduation ceremony.

The following general criteria should be considered when nominating a thesis for honors:

1)  The thesis should reflect research done by the student. This does not rule out theses based on library research, but to be considered for honors such a thesis must provide some interesting in‐depth analysis that goes well beyond just summarizing information from references.

2)  If the student’s contribution to research is significant enough for the student to be included in the author list of a scientific publication based on or including the student’s work (regardless of whether it was or will be in fact published), then the thesis should be considered for honors.

3)  The thesis should conform to the writing quality and formatting expectations established within the Physics 182 course. Excellence in writing and presentation may be part of the consideration for honors but is not sufficient in itself.

SPS Award & Program Deadlines

Spring Deadline: March 15
SPS Scholarships
SPS Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research
Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award

Summer Deadline: June 15
Chapter Reports
Blake Lilly Prize

Ongoing Opportunities
SPS Travel Awards
SPS Reporter Awards
SOCK Requests

Further Information

For information on other UCSC scholarships, plus a vast number of private scholarships, visit the campus website at