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The Dean of Graduate Division serves as the legal signing authority for all graduate students that submit proposals.

When to route a fellowship through Graduate Division

Graduate Division will revise, submit, and sign off on all proposals for single-degree-seeking graduate students on which the student is listed as the Principal Investigator (PI). Click here to see Proposal Pre-Award Administration Matrix.

  • Joint Doctoral Students are included in this description. Dual degree students are not. Joint Doctoral Degrees will result in a single degree at completion. Dual Degrees will result in two degrees at completion.

    What to look for when determining if the student is the PI on the application

    • Is it the student's original research?
    • Who worked mostly on the proposal?
    • What role does the student's mentor play in the research? Are they training? Overseeing? Mentoring?
    • What is the purpose of the funding? What is the goal?
  • Exception: NASA Graduate Student Fellowships

    • NASA Fellowships list the faculty member as the PI but it is the student's research project and the faculty is functioning as the mentor
  • Graduate Division will NOT submit proposals for dual degree students or professional degree students. These students should contact HSSPO
    • examples: NIH F30, NIH F32

Fellowships at UCSD

The information on this page is derived from a collaborative effort between Graduate Division, OCGA, HSSPO, and several departments. See full Standard Operating Procedures.


Campus definition of a fellowship:

  • (a) merit-based (in response to a competitive application)
  • (b) awarded to a specific individual (award follows the individual should they leave the university)
  • (c) mentored
  • (d) intended to enhance an individual’s potential to develop into an independent researcher/scholar.

What is not a fellowship:

  • Awards to Faculty, these are processed as grants or contracts
  • Undergraduate fellowships
  • Postdoc Pay Directs and Graduate Students whose funding is not handled by UCSD
  • Fellowship programs administered by the university (university picks the fellows)
    • exception: NSF GRFP
  • Programs/fellowships funded by gifts

Where Fellowships Come From (Funding Sources)

Sponsor Category



Must have a specific funding opportunity identifying the intent to award fellowships.

Submitted through a central office.


Must determine the intent of the funding. If the intent is not clear in the announcement or sponsor website, clarification with sponsor is needed:

Determining factors include:

  1. Does it meet the high-level definition?
  2. How does the sponsor classify it?
  3. What are the reporting requirements/deliverables, final outcomes, basic financial reporting
  4. Are the terms and conditions appropriate for a fellowship?


Must be very careful about the sponsor’s intent. The program must be for the development of the individual and clearly distinguishable from research contracts solicited by the company that state anticipated outcomes in specific areas of interest to the company.

Foreign Govt.

See Industry criteria above. As with US federal fellowships, the original sponsor should have a specific funding opportunity identifying the intent to award fellowships. Foreign government fellowships may be received as a subaward from a foreign university or non-profit, requiring additional scrutiny or negotiation.
Foreign government fellowships may pay the fellow directly but still require an agreement with the US host institution.

Fellowships in Kuali

When to create an Kuali record for a fellowship

  • A Kuali record is required when a proposal is either submitted by a central office or some part of the funds will flow through UCSD (example: tuition and fees, institutional allowance, or stipend). A Kuali record is not required when the student is paid directly by the funding agency.
    • NSF GRFP is an exception. The funding is received by UC San Diego as part of the GRFP grant administered by the Graduate Division.  While the individual graduate students are required to apply to NSF to receive a fellowship from this grant, the funds are paid to the university through the institutional fellowship program grant and not as a separate fellowship award to the student, and as such are not considered separate funds requiring a Kuali record.  The graduate student should work directly with the Graduate Division for any questions or issues with proposal submission or fund allocation.  For more information visit the Graduate Division NSF GRFP site.  
  • All users entering proposals into Kuali are required to complete the online training prior to getting access to Kuali. Note that steps for entering a Fellowship proposal are same as that of entering any proposals in Kuali with certain nuances. This SOP captures the specific nuances that apply only to Fellowships proposals.

Kuali Entry

For guidance on how to create a KR record, or who can create a KR record, and what to enter into the KR record, see: Creating a Kuali Record for a Graduate Student Proposals

For guidance on Kuali and NIH F31 applications see: NIH NRSA F31 Application Submission Support Guide#CreatingtheKualiRecord

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