Graduate Fellows Program FAQ

Graduate Fellows Program FAQ

The Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the institute. This program is supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

Male student raising a hand to ask a question in English 253 - topics in literature and new media.

Applications have closed for 2022 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowships. Please check back in spring 2023.

When will the winners be announced, and when will the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Program graduate research assistantships start?

Awardees are announced in late spring and begin their 11-month, 50% appointment at their home department pay rate in August.

How many graduate fellows program applicants are there and how many are selected?

We average 34 applicants and select approximately seven per year.

Are non-thesis master’s students eligible for the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Program?

No, non-thesis master's students are not eligible for our fellows program.

Are graduate students with non-Beckman Institute faculty advisers eligible for the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Program?

Graduate student applicants’ main collaborations should be with Beckman Institute faculty members. However, graduate advisers without Beckman Institute affiliations can be collaborators.

I have just been offered a second graduate fellowship. Can I accept both offers?

Most likely not. Please check with Beckman Institute Human Resources if this happens.

If I am chosen for the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Program with a 50% GRA, am I allowed to also continue as a research assistant with my department?

Yes, with limitations. The Beckman Institute GRA requires a focus on research at the Beckman Institute but would allow for a concurrent additional research assistantship appointment of up to 17%, so long as the assistantship does not detract from the research sponsored by this fellows program.

How may I spend the $2,000 research funding that goes with my Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship? For example, could I use it to pay for Beckman facilities like the Microscopy Suite?

No, you cannot use these funds to pay for anything other than conference costs. The purpose of the research funding is only to support dissemination of your work at a professional research conference. Therefore, usual conference expenses such as conference registration, poster printing, and travel costs are acceptable. Other research costs should be covered by your adviser’s grant funding. If you have further questions, please contact Beckman Institute Associate Director for Research Patty Jones.

I asked my references to send you their letters. Do I need to check with you to make sure you have received them?

You do not need to contact us to confirm that we have received your letters of reference, but you are welcome to ask. If we are missing letters for your application, we will contact you.

May I ask a non-University of Illinois faculty member to write a letter of reference?


My research project description is a little long. Can it exceed the three-page limit?

No, your research project description should be no more than three single-spaced pages, including references.

Is there a format requirement for citations in my research plan?

No, your references can be in any standard format you wish (for example, APA or Harvard).

I’m not sure what my mail code is. How do I find it?

You can find a link to a campus mail codes listing here.


Thank you for your interest in the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows competition.

Email us if you still have questions after reading through this page.