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. Heising-Simons Award: This is awarded by the Physics Department to provide summer research opportunities to female physics majors.  Applications are requested in early Spring to be awarded by the summer quarter.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 Memorial Fellowship: This is selected from highly-rated applicants, previously educated in India, to the Ph.D. programs of the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics; no separate application is required. 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. Chandrasekhar Fellows will be required to serve as teaching assistants for two quarters during the two-year term, but will have no additional teaching or research duties associated with the Fellowship. It is expected that one Fellowship will be awarded each year.
  3. Deborah Jin Fellowship: These $2,500 awards are selected by the Admissions Committee to highly rated female applicants to the Ph.D. program to provide funds for research and research-related travel expenses.
  4. Elaine K. Bernstein Fellowship for Women in Science: These $2,500 awards are selected by the Admissions Committee to highly rated female applicants to the Ph.D. program to provide funds for research and research-related travel expenses. 
  5. Grainger Foundation Fellowship (graduate): This is awarded by the Physics Fellowships Committee to a promising graduate student with demonstrated research ability in experimental physics. The award provides a stipend and tuition. All students are eligible (i.e., "advanced residency" is not required) but in the event of a tie, preference will be given to a student with advanced residency status. Nominations should be solicited by mid-April, with a decision made by the end of 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.
  6. Michelson Fellowships: These are awarded by the Admissions Committee to very highly rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics. There are no citizenship or other restrictions. Both experimental and theoretical students are eligible. The Michelson Fellowship is for one academic year (9 months), with a monthly stipend equal to that of a TA, and also covers full tuition. Students awarded a Michelson Fellowship will receive summer support through a separate award.
  7. McCormick Fellowships: These are awarded by the Admissions Committee to highly-rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics, excluding those who receive a Chandrasekhar Fellowship. The terms of the award vary and will be detailed in the admissions information for the students to whom it is offered.
  8. 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.
  9. Parker Fellowships: These are awarded by the Admissions Committee to very highly rated applicants to the Ph.D. program of the Department of Physics (normally those offered Michelson Fellowships). The term is for two academic years and provides an annual $4500 supplement to the student's other financial support.
  10. Sachs Fellowships: These are 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 3 summer months (July - September) at the end of the first year of graduate study.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Grainger Postdoctoral Fellowship: This Fellowship is awarded by the Physics Fellowship Committee to a recent Ph.D. recipient in experimental physics to enable him/her to work either independently or in close association with present members of the Physics Department in areas of mutual interest. The Fellowship has a two-year term. In years when the Fellowship is being offered, ads should be placed and flyers printed and distributed in October, with an application deadline of mid-December.  This fellowship is not currently taking applications.