Dissertation Year Award

This program is intended to support doctoral students who are advanced to candidacy at the time of nomination by their department to the Division of Graduate Education.  Applicants should be within one year of completing and filing the dissertation and planning to start teaching or research appointments soon after the end of their dissertation award year.

For additional information on the DYA program, please see the Graduate Student Financial Support publication.



The program is open to UCLA doctoral students in all fields of study who:

  • Are officially advanced to doctoral candidacy at the time they are nominated by their departments (for 2024-25, by March 22, 2024). “Officially” means ATC documents have been received by the Division of Graduate Education’s Academic Services;
  • Will file their dissertations within 12 months of beginning their awards. The thoroughness with which nominees have provided details in their application for completion of their dissertation is an important element in assessing their candidacy for a Dissertation Year Award;
  • Are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, international or registered California AB540 students. For international students, funding is subject to award eligibility in regards to visa type. For those under AB540, funding will be provided only if AB131 is still in effect for the duration of the award.

DYA recipients are not eligible to receive Division of Graduate Education funding of any kind after the last DYA payment has been issued. Students who have previously received any dissertation award from Division of Graduate Education funds (such as, but not limited to, a Distinguished TA Dissertation Year Award) or have received dissertation funding from other sources specifically for the last year of write-up also are not eligible.

Students may apply for the DYA in only one doctoral degree program.


Award Amount

Program participants will receive a $20,000 in student financial support plus standard tuition and fees (excluding nonresident supplemental tuition and professional degree supplemental tuition).



February 16, 2024

Applications that are not submitted on time, fail to follow the submission procedures listed below or forwarded as an incomplete application will be disqualified and not reviewed.  Applicants/departments will not be notified. Revisions to applications after submission are not allowed; no exceptions.



By applying, students understand that they are giving their consent to disclose application information to University officials and to relevant funding committees.

Applicants must be nominated by their department, IDP or school. To apply for nomination, students must:

  1. Students must go to the 2024-25 Merit-Based Awards Application for Continuing Graduate Students site at:
  2. Select the award application option.
  3. Review the instructions entirely prior to starting the application.
  4. Complete each section in order. The application sections are dynamic, so the application modifies the sections according to the entries.
  5. Basic Information, Citizenship & UID, Major & GPA must be filled out for all awards.
  6. Review the DYA section closely for specific instructions and required materials. Be sure to include all materials in their designated spaces on the application portal.
    1. Student’s Proposed Plan for Completing the Dissertation. Upload this document in the DYA section. This document must include: Evidence that the student can successfully complete the dissertation in the year of the award is an important factor in the selection process. The student’s name and “Proposed Plan for Completing the Dissertation” should appear at the top of each page. The plan should also describe or include: A brief abstract that summarizes the following in a manner appropriate to the subject or discipline:
      1. motivation, context and/or foreground for the research;
      2. question or hypothesis being addressed;
      3. theoretical framework, experimental approach or research methodology;
      4. preliminary findings;
      5. innovation, significance and/or impact of the work.
      6. Typically, the abstract is about 150 to a maximum of 300 words in length. It is essential that it be written for faculty who may not be expert in the student’s field of research.
      7. A brief introduction that provides background and context for the work.
      8. A research plan that describes the current status of the research and the plan for addressing the remaining research aims/goals to complete the dissertation. This section may include images, graphs, and/or tables, if appropriate.
        1. If applicable, the plan should include information on sampling, instrumentation, data sources and collection, analyses and expected results. A synopsis of preliminary results or analyses may be incorporated as space permits.
      9. A detailed timeline with projected monthly progress for the remaining research, writing, revision and defense of the dissertation (see “Activation Term Selection” section below).
      10. The Proposed Plan must be a maximum of four pages double spaced. Minimum font size is 11 pt., with at least 1” margins. Any images, captions, graphs, tables, notes and/or references may be single spaced, but must be 11pt. font and included within the four pages. Pages in excess of four pages will not be forwarded for review.
      11. Provide faculty mentor information in the DYA section
  1. Upload an unofficial copy of your Graduate Transcript with Fall 2023 grades posted to the Transcript section. The transcript printed from MyUCLA is acceptable. Do not submit a Degree Progress Report (DPR).
    1. Students who have incomplete grades that remain unresolved (i.e., “I” grades) must provide a statement explaining the reason for the incomplete(s), the steps that will be taken to resolve the incomplete(s) and the timeline for doing so.
  2. A Personal Statement is required. The statement must include the student’s career goals after receiving the degree (maximum two pages, double-spaced, 11 pt font with 1” margins).
  3. Provide an updated Resume or Curriculum Vitae in the Resume/CV section with the following items, as appropriate to the discipline:
    1. Education (degrees earned and in progress, with dates; date of advancement to doctoral candidacy)
    2. Extramural, departmental and Division of Graduate Education awards and prizes (include year and amount)
    3. Published and submitted manuscripts, if any, while a doctoral student at UCLA. Provide full citations, including start/end pages. Do not include manuscripts in preparation.
    4. Conference presentations, if any, while a doctoral student at UCLA. Indicate the conference date and place, and whether it was a poster or oral presentation. If there are multiple authors, place an asterisk by the name of the presenter.
    5. Other creative, academic and professional contributions in the student’s field, such as performances, exhibits, community and public service.
  4. TWO letters of recommendation, one of which must come from the dissertation chair, signed and on department letterhead. Enter the information for each faculty member in the Letter of Recommendation Section. This will generate an automatic email from the application portal to the faculty recommender.
    1. References should emphasize academic accomplishments, degree progress and feasibility of completing the dissertation within the 12-month period proposed by the applicant.
    2. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure that the letter has been submitted on time. Be sure to follow up with the recommender as needed. The online site will provide information about the status of the letter’s upload.  The Division of Graduate Education is not responsible whatsoever in contacting recommenders.
    3. The letter of recommendation is due on or before the application deadline. Applications missing the letter of recommendation or with letters not submitted on time will be disqualified and not reviewed. Applicants/departments will not be notified.

NOTE: Applications that are not submitted on time, fail to follow the submission procedures listed above or forwarded as an incomplete application will be disqualified and not reviewed.  Applicants/departments will not be notified  Revisions to applications after submission are not allowed; no exceptions.



Award recipients should complete all degree requirements within 12 months of beginning their dissertation awards and will be asked to submit a report of their progress at the midpoint.

Failure to submit a progress report by the deadline will result in suspension of payment for subsequent terms.

Recipients must be registered and enrolled in at least 12 units during the entire academic year. Registration/enrollment is not required for summer payments. Awardees starting their DYA on July 1 must have been registered/enrolled in the previous Spring and must plan to register/enroll in the following Fall. If not, their summer funding will be cancelled, and it will have to be repaid.

Awardees may not work more than 50% time nor exceed the maximum limit of merit-based support.

Activation Term

Activation Term

Awardees will have the option to select one of three DYA start dates: July 1, October 1 or January 1. Whichever start date is selected, the awardee will have 12 months during which to complete and file the dissertation. In the application, please propose one of these activation dates. This is essential information for reviewers to evaluate the likelihood that the work will be completed within the proposed time frame.

Hints to Prepare a Strong Application

The proposal should be written so that the work will be understandable and its significance appreciated by faculty who may not be expert in the applicant’s field.

The proposal should outline, in a manner appropriate to the subject or discipline:

  1. question(s), thesis or hypothesis that will be developed;
  2. scope of the research and the research approach, plan or methodology;
  3. significance, originality and/or and anticipated impact of the work.

An important review criterion is whether the applicant has provided substantial and compelling evidence that the dissertation can be completed within the funded year.

Each letter of recommendation should address the merits (e.g., quality, originality, significance) of the scholarship or research, as well as the distinction of the applicant. The letter must clearly state the likelihood the applicant will complete the dissertation within the time frame described in the applicant’s proposal.


Fellowships and Financial Services, 1228 Murphy Hall