Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Research

.Fields of Study

Eligibility by UCI School: Biological Sciences, Engineering, Information & Computer Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Public Health (Science only), Social Sciences (Psychology and Cognitive Sciences only) The natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics fields and sub-fields used by the Goldwater Foundation to determine eligibility are those used by the National Science Foundation for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. These include: Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology. A complete list of eligible subfields is available on the Goldwater Scholarship website.



To be eligible for nomination for a Goldwater Scholarship, a student must:

  1. Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited 2- or 4-year institution of higher education during the current academic year;
  2. Intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics, or engineering (see Fields of Study, below);
  3. Have a college grade point average of at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale; and
  4. Be a U.S. citizen from the 50 states or the District of Columbia; a U.S. national for those students nominated by institutions in Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; or a permanent resident. A permanent resident must submit a photocopy of their Permanent Resident Card, also known as the Green Card.


Scholarship Benefits

Each Goldwater Scholar annually receives an amount equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7.500. Scholars who receive the award as sophomores can expect to receive support for a maximum of two years (4 semesters) or until graduation, if sooner. Scholars who receive the award as juniors can expect to receive support for a maximum of one year (2 semesters) or until graduation, if sooner.


Recent Recipients & Honorable Mentions

Goldwater reviewers seek to identify undergraduates who demonstrate a passion for research and who exhibit the creative spark that will make them leaders in their fields.

  • In 2023, Grant Lai (Chemistry & Biological Sciences) received a Goldwater Scholarship.
  • In 2021, two UCI students received Goldwater Scholarships: Pratyush Muthukumar (Computer Science) and Lucy Yang (Chemistry and Biological Sciences).
  • In 2018, Aaron Chau (Public Health Sciences) and Christian Totoiu (Chemical Engineering) received Honorable Mentions.
  • In 2017, Leandra Jackson (Public Health Sciences) received a Goldwater scholarship and Jordan Edmunds (Electrical Engineering; Biological Sciences) received an Honorable Mention.
  • In 2016, Joshua Cook (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry) received a Goldwater scholarship and Jordan Edmunds (Electrical Engineering) received an Honorable Mention.
  • In 2009-2010, two UCI students received Goldwater Scholarships: Yas Sanaiha (Biology) and Kevin Slagle (Physics).

Please consult the brief biographies for our recent recipients and honorable mentions. Goldwater is an outstanding scholarship for students who intend research careers in engineering, computer science, mathematics, or the natural sciences. Learning effective grant-writing skills to apply for this highly competitive, merit-based award often serves as an important catalyst for future academic achievements and honors, including prestigious graduate scholarships, such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship or the Churchill Scholarship; here, we should extol the subsequent successes of Ms. Jackson, who went on to receive the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and Mr. Edmunds, who received the Hertz Fellowship.



As we typically have more applicants than nomination slots, achieving campus endorsement (nomination) for this award is extremely competitive. In addition to displaying excellent academic backgrounds (in practice, a minimum 3.7 GPA) and evidence of other talents or interesting experiences, recipients have well-written, carefully developed research essays and very strong letters composed by faculty. At UCI, between 2014-2019, all competitive applicants expressed ambition to earn a doctoral degree (including Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.), and had a mean of 1.875 years of research experience, as well as a mean of 1.33 poster presentations and 1.5 oral presentations completed, at the time of application. Most honorees participated in the Campuswide Honors Collegium and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. While applicants were competitive for invitation to School-based Honors Programs or Excellence in Research in Biological Sciences, invitation to these senior-year programs typically occurs after Goldwater nominations are submitted (and thus cannot be factored into selection).

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