Awards and Financial Rewards for Excellence

Duke’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) strives to provide its graduate students with resources that help form foundations for successful careers in academe, industry, consulting, government service and volunteerism. These resources include but are not limited to the interests and expertise of our faculty mentors/advisers, the peer group of graduate students and attendant graduate student culture, graduate classes and curriculum, as well as opportunities for Awards and Financial Rewards for Excellence.

CEE strongly suggests and provides support to graduate students to apply for competitive Awards and Financial Rewards as part of their graduate education and career development. The application process contributes to a student’s understanding of how to interact with faculty, how to prepare requests and dossiers, and how to network with individuals within a discipline. A successful application for an Award or Financial Reward contributes to a student’s standing within a peer group and provides resources for success while contributing to professional advancement.

CEE encourages all of its graduate students to use this annotated listing as a starting point for exploration as each student takes the initiative, interacts with members of our faculty, and reaches out everywhere in pursuit of these extremely important recognitions of graduate student excellence.

Duke Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jeffrey Taub Award

Annual award to the graduate student making exceptional contributions to the culture of CEE’s Graduate Program through daily assistance and support of other graduate students’ research and classroom activities.

Senol Utku Award

Annual award to the graduate student publishing the most outstanding journal manuscript.

Memberships in Society and Professional Organizations

Annual awards to graduate students of up to $50 per student per year to become a member of and society or professional organization. Contact:

Travel to Undergraduate Institutions

Annual awards to graduate students for travel to an graduate student’s undergraduate institution to help recruit new graduate students into Duke’s department of CEE. Contact:

Duke University Graduate School

Duke University Centers, Offices and Programs 

U.S. Government Foundations and Agencies

National Science Fellowship (NSF)

This most prestigious U.S. Graduate Student Fellowship offers opportunities to students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Fellows are expected to become experts who can contribute to research, teaching and innovations in science and engineering.

National Academies Fellowships

The National Academies of the Nation Research Council offers highly competitive, highly prestigious fellowships in many different disciplines.

Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program attempts to strengthen relations between the U.S. and other countries receiving its funding from an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress.  Grants are awarded in all academic fields and disciplines.

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowships

As a means of increasing the number of U.S. citizens and nationals trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance, the Department of Defense (DOD) will offer fellowships to individuals who have demonstrated the ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering.

Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens, study in one of the 15 supported disciplines and intend to pursue a doctoral degree.

Award ~$30k/year.

Application deadline: December

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program

The DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE SCGF) program supports outstanding students to pursue graduate training in basic research in areas of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computational sciences, and environmental sciences relevant to the Office of Science.

Computational Science Graduate Fellowships

The DOE CSGF fellowship support allows students to focus on their academics and research without excessive teaching or other departmental support activities.

Eligibility: Students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien who is planning full-time, uninterrupted study toward a PhD.

Award Size: yearly stipend $36k, full tuition paid, $5k the first year toward equipment, fellowship is renewable for up to four years.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR Fellowship for Graduate Environmental Study

STAR fellowships are intended to help defray the ever-increasing costs associated with studies leading to advanced degrees in environmental sciences.

Eligibility: Open to U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are pursuing research in an environmentally related field.

Application deadline: November

The U.S. National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG)

This highly competitive fellowship is awarded to U.S. citizens and nationals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in one of fifteen supported disciplines. NDSEG confers high honors upon its recipients, and allows them to attend whichever U.S. institution they choose. NDSEG Fellowships last for three years and pay for full tuition and all mandatory fees, a monthly stipend, and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance (this excludes dental and vision insurance). Must be U.S. citizens or nationals.  NDSEG Fellowships are intended for students at or near the beginning of their graduate study in science or engineering. This means current seniors, current first year graduate students and those who have received their bachelor's degree but have not started graduate school. Applicants must have received their bachelor's degrees by fall of application year. Fellowships are tenable only at U.S. institutions of higher education offering doctoral degrees in the specified areas of science or engineering. Applicants do not have to have been accepted by such a graduate program at the time the application is submitted. In that case, information supplied should reflect a plan or preference at the time of submission. Should the applicant be selected, appointment will be contingent upon admission to a suitable graduate program.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA offers support to graduate students interested in the study of the earth’s oceans and atmospheric systems.

Private Foundations and Industries

Bass Instructional Fellowships at Duke University

The Bass Instructional Fellowship Program supports high-quality teaching experiences for PhD students where normal means of funding are unavailable. It also helps students become more knowledgeable in online college teaching.

Recipients of Bass Instructional Fellowships receive compensatory payment at the level of Arts and Sciences teaching assistants (currently $6,000) and a scholarship covering full or partial tuition and fees for their semester of participation. A Bass Instructional Fellowship should not lessen a student’s competitiveness for other fellowships. If the student wins another fellowship after having also won a Bass Fellowship, that other fellowship can be decreased by the amount provided by the Bass Fellowship so that there is no penalty or disadvantage to receiving a Bass at the same time unless this arrangement is prohibited by terms of the other fellowship.

Chateaubriand Fellowship Program

The Chateaubriand Fellowship Program is designed for doctoral students enrolled in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory for a 4- to 9- month period. The Office of Science and Technology provide a stipend and cover the cost of travel and student health insurance. Priority is given to candidates working towards a "double degree" with their host institution. All Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Health disciplines are eligible. The required level of understanding of the French language is at the discretion of the host laboratory.

Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation is a private Foundation supporting graduate study and research over a wide range of disciplines with a wide range of target audiences.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs

Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity

Eligibility: To be considered, students must be a citizen or national of the United States and have evidence of a superior academic achievement. Applicants should also be committed to a career in teaching or research in a college or university.

Application deadline: November

IBM PhD Fellowship Program

The IBM PhD Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional PhD students who have an interest in solving problems that are fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study.  Students must be nominated by a faculty member. The faculty member is encouraged to contact an IBM colleague prior to submitting the nomination. The student must be enrolled full time in a PhD program.

Award: up to $17,500/year

Application deadline: October

The fellowship award provides partial tuition support, an annual stipend for living expenses, and a research stipend for full-time graduate study and thesis/dissertation research at a U.S. academic institution for three years.

MERCK Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship

The Merck Science Initiative (UMSI) provides graduate support to outstanding African-American students who are pursuing studies and research careers in biological and chemical sciences.

Eligibility: To be considered, students must be African-American (Black), enrolled in a doctoral program, engaged in and within 1-3 years of completing dissertation having successfully completed all qualifying exams, and a citizen of permanent resident of the United States. Awards up to $52,000. Each fellowship provides up to a maximum of $52,000, which includes a stipend of up to $42,000 for the fellow and a research grant of up to $10,000 to support the research needs of the Fellow. The fellowship stipend is intended to cover from 12-24 months of fellowship tenure.

Application deadline: December