Scholarships and Awards

The Division of Undergraduate Education assists students with applications for National Scholarships requiring institutional nomination and oversees UCSB-based Commencement Awards. While we don't handle third-party scholarships not needing campus endorsement, we offer support to applicants.

If you have questions regarding a specific merit-based scholarship competition, contact to schedule a consultation to discuss your candidacy.

For resources on locating third-party scholarships, financial-need based scholarships, and general financial aid for new and continuing students, check the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

National Scholarship Listings

Discover prestigious national and international scholarships at UCSB National Scholarship Listings. These opportunities offer more than just financial aid; they unlock doors to exciting academic, research, and professional paths. Applications require significant preparation and are highly competitive, and we recommend students reach out to our office to consult and lay a strong foundation for their application well before the deadline.

Commencement Awards

Each year, the Commencement Awards celebrate the achievements of four exceptional graduating seniors. If you're graduating this year (fall, winter, spring, or summer), you could be one of the recipients. We want to recognize students with outstanding academic achievements, so if you've maintained a strong cumulative GPA, we encourage you to apply and be recognized for your hard work and dedication! The deadline for all 2024 Commencement Award applications is Monday, April 1, 2024.

Interested students may submit an application for the following awards:

  • Deans' Award for Outstanding Senior*

    Awarded to a graduating senior in the College of Letters and Science for outstanding scholarship. Nominees for any of the three divisional Awards will automatically be considered for the Deans' Award.

  • Frances Colville and Terry Dearborn Memorial Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in Mathematical, Life, or Physical Science, in memory of Frances M. Colville, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1955-64), and Terry H. Dearborn, Associate Professor of Physical Education (1940-64).

  • Luis Leal Social Sciences Undergraduate Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in the Social Sciences in honor of Don Luis Leal, a visiting professor whose presence and scholarship have greatly enriched the Santa Barbara campus (1976-2010).

  • William R. Reardon Undergraduate Award

    Awarded for outstanding academic achievement to a student with a major in Humanities and Fine Arts, in honor of William R. Reardon, Professor of Dramatic Art (1965-86) and Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1979-86), emeritus.

* Where appropriate, one nominee for the Colville-Dearborn, Leal, and Reardon awards will be selected for the Deans’ Award for Outstanding Senior, based on academic achievement consistent with the Deans’ Award criteria.

Nomination & Application Process:

  1. Complete the online Commencement Award application upon nomination or self-nomination before the deadline of Monday, April 1, 2024. Application opens mid-February.
  2. Secure a letter of recommendation from a UCSB faculty member, preferably in your major department. Letters of recommendation should discuss scholarly achievement, as well as any service to the campus community, or special circumstances you would like us to consider. The letters should be emailed to Alicia Melero, Assistant to the Dean, at

Questions regarding the applicatin process can be sent to: Alicia Melero, Assistant to the Dean, at

Commencement Speakers

Are you eager to share your journey and inspire your fellow Gauchos? The College of Letters and Science is looking for Student Commencement Speakers for all Letters & Science ceremonies. If you're a senior graduating this year, don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to leave your mark. Visit the Commencement website for official commencement schedule information.

Application Process:

  1. Submit the Commencement Speaker application by Monday, April 1, 2024.
  2. Include an essay not to exceed 500 words on how your academic experience at UC Santa Barbara has transformed you. It is acceptable (and inspirational) to talk about obstacles you have overcome. This essay will be what you expand upon for your draft commencement speech.
  3. A small group of finalists will be chosen out of the application pool to be interviewed by a committee of faculty and deans before final selection is made.
  4. Student speakers will be selected to deliver a brief commencement address (about 5 minutes) as representatives of their classmates.

Other Scholarships & Support

Letters & Science Honors Program and Campus Recognition

Chancelor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognize four distinguished undergraduate researchers and one faculty research mentor each year. Student recipients come from departments within each of the four broad disciplinary divisions: science, engineering, social sciences and humanities and fine arts.

Support for Other Scholarship Applications

Seeking expert guidance for an application to a competitive merit-based scholarship or fellowship? The Division of Undergraduate Education offers support refining essays, devising strategic application approaches, and seeking recommendation letters. For personalized assistance with any competitive merit-based academic scholarship application, contact us at