Scholarships and Financial Support

Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards supports UW undergraduate students in developing the skills and personal insights necessary to pursue scholarships appropriate to their goals. We encourage students to take advantage of the large variety of informational and developmental workshops they offer. Students can also schedule one on one scholarship advising appointments.

Department of Chemistry Scholarship Opportunities

This year (2023-2024) we will be piloting a single application for tuition scholarships, book awards, and summer research stipends.  We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for:

  • Department of Chemistry tuition scholarships ($1,000-$2,500) and book awards ($500) for UW students who are currently declared biochemistry or chemistry majors.
  • ChemStar summer research stipends ($5,000-$6,000) for UW students who are current or aspiring chemistry/biochemistry majors and aspire to pursue a career in chemical sciences, are at earlier stages of their career, and demonstrate financial need.

More information including complete application instructions and the link to apply are below.

Tuition Scholarships and Book Awards

Thanks to the generosity of several alumni and others interested in helping chemistry and biochemistry students, the Department of Chemistry has some resident tuition scholarships and book awards available to UW students who are currently declared biochemistry or chemistry majors.

Book awards are “mini-scholarships” of $500-$650 to offset the cost of textbooks or any educational supplies you may need. In 2023-24, we will award up to four book awards. Scholarships typically range from $1,000-$2,500. Book awards and scholarship funds will be disbursed to your student account to be applied to your tuition payment. Before awarding funds, Chemistry advisers will consult the Office of Student Financial Aid to confirm whether you receive grant aid which would be affected by receiving this scholarship. 

Academic merit, financial need, career goals, employment history, extracurricular activities, and undergraduate research record are among the criteria used for the various awards to determine the recipients. Personal background, including being a transfer student or the first in your family to go to college, having experienced personal or educational obstacles to go to college, and/or experience with diversity or diverse cultures will also be considered in the selection. Generally, the scholarships are awarded to students who have been in the Department for a year or more.

Below is the list of funds that support scholarships and book awards. Some funds support more than one recipient. Students need only submit one application to be considered for all the scholarships and book awards supported by the funds listed below:

Theodore R. Beck Endowed Student Support Fund
H. K. Benson Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship
Gerald and Sheila Berkelhammer Endowed Fund
Boeing Scholarship
Leland and Eleanor Burger Endowed Scholarship
James B. and Elzelina J. Callis Endowed Scholarship
Chemistry Scholarship
Earl W. Davie Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Ed F. and Clara M. Degering Tuition Scholarship
Dorothy Shimasaki Gilmer Endowed Scholarship

Donald J. Hanahan Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Christopher and Karen Pohl Endowed Fund in Chemistry
Rex J. And Ruth C. Robinson Scholarship Fund in Chemistry
Zalia Jencks Rowe Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship
Timberlake Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Students in Chemistry

Usha and S. Rao Varanasi Endowed Diversity Scholarship in Chemistry

ChemStar Summer Research Stipends 

The Department of Chemistry’s ChemStar Summer Research Stipends will support an estimated 7-10 undergraduate students to pursue research in the Department of Chemistry at the UW during summer quarter. The stipend amounts will be a minimum of $5000. This funding opportunity is open to all UW students whether they are currently active in research or have little or no research experience. Priority will be given to applicants who are current and aspiring chemistry/biochemistry majors, aspire to pursue a career in chemical sciences, are at earlier stages of their career, and demonstrate financial need.

This stipend is to offer financial support for research conducted in the lab of a Department of Chemistry faculty member during summer 2024. The goal for providing this funding is that stipend recipients (or ChemStars) will work full time in the lab for 9 or 10 weeks between June 16-September 15, but you should discuss the timeframe of summer research activities (start/end dates, length of project) and the expectation for numbers of hours worked with the professor and mentor you will be working with, prior to beginning work. If you are an international student, or if you will graduate in spring 2024 or winter 2024, then the Department of Chemistry director of personnel will need to verify your eligibility to work on campus before awarding funds. Chemistry advisers will also consult the Office of Student Financial Aid to confirm whether you receive grant aid which would be affected by receiving this stipend.

Application Process

The link above is a consolidated application for both the scholarships/book awards and ChemStar summer research stipends. Applicants will select whether they want to be considered for a scholarship/book award and/or summer research stipends. Recipients will be selected during winter quarter (by mid-March 2024). Scholarships and book awards will be disbursed for spring quarter and ChemStar summer research stipends will be disbursed at the start of summer quarter.

The application form has four pages, outlined below. Before starting the application, we recommend you gather all you need to answer the prompts. Please note that if you intend to apply as a tuition scholarship applicant, a letter of recommendation will be required, preferably from a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry.

Page 1 (for all applicants):
  • Answer basic questions about yourself, like your name, student ID, year in school and major
  • Your cumulative UW GPA
  • Indicate if you receive federal financial aid
  • Tell us about any research experience that you have, including which department/lab you are in and how long you have been there. (aim for approximately 100 words) Note that for ChemStar summer research stipends, research experience is not required.
  • Tell us about your personal background. This may include sharing a challenge or obstacle (educational, financial, or otherwise) that you have faced and how have you overcome it or plan to overcome it. If you have a personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion of marginalized groups in STEM, please share with us. (aim for approximately 150 words)
Page 2 (for scholarship/book award applicants):
  • Are you involved in any volunteer activities or extracurriculars? Please tell us about these experiences. (aim for approximately 100 words)
  • Tell us who has agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. We prefer that letters of recommendation come from a faculty member or teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry. Please provide this link to your recommender so they may submit their letter here: Letters are due on January 15, 2024, at 11:59 pm.
Page 3 (for ChemStar summer research stipend applicants):
  • Tell us about your career goals (one to two sentences)
  • Tell us how this stipend will impact your summer plans or what you would do this summer if you did not receive this stipend? (aim for approximately 50 words)
  • If you are currently in a research lab, which one are you in? Do you plan to continue research with this lab over the summer, and have you discussed this with your PI?
  • If you are not in a research lab, or if you do not plan to continue in your current lab over the summer, rank your level of interest in various research areas, so that the committee can inquire with Chemistry faculty about open positions in their labs on your behalf. (We will provide a list of areas including Analytical Chemistry, Biophysics, Catalysis, Chemical Biology, Clean Energy, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Theory and Computation. For each area, you may choose “Strong interest, Medium interest, Low interest, or No interest.”)
  • Provide a personal statement: What research focus interests you the most? How does this summer research opportunity fit into your future plans, and what do you hope to get out of this experience? What are your prior experiences and skills that may help you succeed in research? How will this award impact your professional development? Feel free to address the questions that are most relevant to you. Successful essays include specifics/evidence of the qualities you seek to emphasize. For example, "I am industrious" is too vague, but  "I have done x, y, and z and this proves that I am industrious" carries a lot more weight (aim for approximately 250-350 words). Writing resources are available at the UW. 
Page 4 (for all applicants):
  • Upload one pdf file, named “LastName_FirstName_CV.pdf”, containing:
    • Your CV that includes a listing of all your education, training, and work experience
      • Do not include sensitive information such as your social security number/ITIN.
      • You are encouraged to include any honors and awards you might have received, scholarly presentations or publications, leadership, service, outreach or other extracurricular activities, as well as honors courses you have taken in addition to any other activities or information that could distinguish your application.
      • Examples of CVs are provided by the Career and Internship Center
    • Your most current unofficial transcript.
  • An optional field to share anything else with the selection committee that you feel is important.

If you have any questions, reach out to the Chemistry advisers at advisers@chem.washington.eduWe look forward to reviewing your applications!

Thank you to our many generous alumni and friends who support the education of chemistry and biochemistry students with contributions to departmental scholarships and student support funds.

Do you know an outstanding TA?

Nominate them for an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award sponsored by the Department of Chemistry. Visit Ph.D. Student Financial Support for the nomination instructions.