Student Prizes and Fellowships

The Department of Physics offers a number of awards of various types and sizes in order to enhance our student's abilities to pursue their academic goals. The awards mentioned on this page are those that are awarded regularly by the Department. Other Prizes and Fellowships are given from time to time; those will be announced to the community when they are available.

Undergraduate Prizes

  1. Chair's Award for Distinguished Service: This Prize is awarded by the Chair of the Physics Department to a graduate or undergraduate student (not both) in recognition of exceptional service. This service may be to the department, the greater university, the local community, or the wider scientific community.
  2. Lewis Prize: This is to be awarded by the Physics Fellowship's Committee to the "best graduating senior in physics". The amount of the award is: $3,500 for a single winner; $2,500 each for 2 co-winners; $2,000 each for 3 co-winners. Consideration of the Lewis Prize should begin by mid-April with a decision made by mid-May. The awardee(s) must write a brief biography and statement of career goals for the Lewis family.
  3. Sidney Nagel Prize for Creativity in Research: This prize is awarded annually by the Physics Department to an undergraduate student whose original research includes beguiling imagery.  Nominations should be solicited by the beginning of April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.
  4. Selove Prize: A Summer Research Scholarship: This is awarded by the Physics Department to outstanding undergraduates in Physics or Astronomy to support summer research under the supervision of a University of Chicago faculty member. They are normally awarded for the summer following completion of the student's 3rd year. The award provides a summer stipend exactly or approximately equal to the REU stipend. The number of awards will be determined by the availability of funds. Applications will be solicited around mid-April, and the offers made around mid-May. This Prize cannot be combined with other compensation for summer research.

Graduate Prizes

  1. Chair's Award for Distinguished Service: This Prize is awarded by the Chair of the Physics Department to a graduate or undergraduate student (not both) in recognition of exceptional service. This service may be to the department, the greater university, the local community, or the wider scientific community.
  2.  Harper Dissertation Fellowship: This is awarded by the University of Chicago to students in each graduate division and is one of the highest honors given to graduate students at the University. It is awarded to students entering their last 12-18 months of dissertation work and consists of a $4000 supplement to their other sources of funding.
  3. Sidney Nagel Prize for Creativity in Research: This prize is awarded annually by the Physics Department to a graduate student whose original research includes beguiling imagery. Nominations should be solicited by the beginning of April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.
  4. Wentzel Research Prize: This is to be awarded by the Physics Fellowships Committee to a graduate student who has done outstanding research in theoretical physics. The amount of the award is $2,000. Nominations should be solicited by the beginning of April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.
  5. Wentzel Teaching Prize: This is to be awarded to the most effective first-year graduate student teaching assistant. The award winner is selected by a committee appointed by the Department Chair in consultation with the Undergraduate Program Chair. The amount of the award is $1,000. Nominations should be solicited by late April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.
  6. Winstein Prize in Instrumentation: This is to be awarded annually by the Physics Fellowships Committee to a graduate student doing outstanding work in the development or application of instrumentation. The amount of the award is $2000. Nominations should be solicited by the beginning of April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.
  7. Yodh Prize: This is to be awarded by the Physics Fellowships Committee to a graduate student who has done outstanding research in experimental physics. The amount of the award is $2,000. Nominations should be solicited by the beginning of April, and the decision should be made by mid-May.

Undergraduate Fellowships

Grainger Foundation Fellowship (undergraduate): This is awarded by the Physics Fellowships Committee to a junior who is majoring in physics who shows particular interest and aptitude in the laboratory as well as outstanding proficiency in formal coursework. The award normally consists of a tuition scholarship for the senior year. Consideration should begin by mid-April, with a decision made in early May. The University is expected to provide written reports to The Grainger Foundation when the awards are made giving (1) biographical notes on the student and (2) a description of progress made by the student in his/her respective area of study.

Graduate Fellowships

  1. Bloomenthal Fellowship: This is awarded by the Physics Fellowships Committee to the best graduate student in theoretical physics with advanced residency status. The award provides a stipend and tuition. Nominations should be solicited by mid-April, with a decision made by the end of May.
  2. Chandrasekhar Fellowship: The Chandrasekhar Fellowship is awarded to highly-rated applicants who were previously educated in India. The term of the Fellowship is two years and will cover tuition and a stipend above the rate normally paid to teaching and research assistants. It is expected that one Fellowship will be awarded each year. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies.
  3. Deborah Jin Fellowship: The Deborah Jin Fellowship is awarded to highly-rated applicants with the intention of encouraging outstanding women in science. The Fellowship is provided in conjunction with other support to provide a stipend for the summer quarter (July–September) at the end of the first year of graduate study. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies. More information here.
  4. Grainger Foundation Fellowship (graduate): The Grainger Foundation Fellowship is awarded to highly-rated applicants with a demonstrated research ability in experimental physics. The term of the Fellowship is one year and will cover tuition and a stipend above the rate normally paid to teaching and research assistants. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies.
  5. Harper Dissertation Fellowship: This is awarded by the University of Chicago to students in each graduate division and is one of the highest honors given to graduate students at the University. It is awarded to students entering their last 12-18 months of dissertation work and consists of a $4000 supplement to their other sources of funding. Candidates for this award are nominated by their academic departments.
  6. McCormick Fellowships: The Robert R. McCormick Fellowships are awarded by the Admissions Committee to highly-rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics. The McCormick Research Fellowship provides a one-time research fund that is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies. The McCormick Summer Research Fellowship provides a stipend for the summer quarter (July–September) at the end of the first year of graduate study in addition to the research fund. The details of this fellowship may be found in the admissions information for the students to whom it is offered.
  7. Nambu Fellowships: These are awarded by the Admissions Committee to the highest rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics. The Nambu Fellowship is for three years and awards a stipend equal to the maximum Research Assistant stipend + a Parker Fellowship and comes with an annual $10,000 research fund.
  8. Parker Fellowships: The Eugene N. Parker Fellowship is awarded by the Admissions Committee to highly-rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics. The fellowship provides a stipend for the summer quarter (July – September) at the end of the first year of graduate study. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies.
  9. Sachs Fellowships: The Robert G. Sachs Fellowship is awarded by the Admissions Committee to highly-rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics, and by the Department of Physics to top-performing first-year graduate students who are in need of summer support. The fellowship provides a stipend for the summer quarter (July – September) at the end of the first year of graduate study. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies.
  10. Quantum Phoenix Scholars Fellowship: The Quantum Phoenix Scholar Fellowship is awarded to highly-rated applicants with a demonstrated research ability in quantum science and engineering. The Fellowship is intended to enhance collaborative research and mentoring within the Department of Physics and the Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering. The term of the Fellowship is one year and will cover tuition and a stipend above the rate normally paid to teaching and research assistants. A one-time research fund is also included as part of the fellowship and is available for use at any point during the first five years of studies.