Scholarships and Awards

The Division of Undergraduate Education provides information and manages the endorsement process for students on campus who are applying to National Scholarships which require instituational nomination, and also orchestrates several of the UCSB-based Commencement Awards.

Undergraduate Education does not maintain a directory for third-party scholarships that do not require campus endorsement, but may be able to provide support to students pursuing an application. For resources on third-party scholarships and other financial need based support, please refer to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

National Scholarship Listings

Visit the UCSB National Scholarship Listings to investigate prestigious national and international scholarship opportunities for qualified undergraduates.  These scholarships have rigorous and highly competitive application processes, so students must begin their applications well before the deadlines. 

While it is true that a successful applicatant to a national scholarship often receives financial support, the prestige of receiving one of these awards is in some ways even more valuable, as the scholarships can open up a variety of academic, research, and professional opportunities for students who are able to stand out amongst their peers.  Interested students should read the listings carefully and evaluate national scholarships for compatibility with their specific background and interests.

Students considering applying for a national scholarship are advised to send a message to scholarships@ltsc.ucsb.edu to set up an appointment to discuss their interest and the application process.

Commencement Awards

The Commencement Awards are presented each year to four graduating seniors. Applicants for the awards must graduate during the same year (fall, winter, spring, or summer of the current year). As the primary purpose is to recognize outstanding academic achievement, nominees should have a strong cumulative grade-point average.

Interested students submit an online application (link below) upon nomination or self-nomination for one of the following commencement 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.

To apply, complete the online Commencement Award application (opened in late February) before the deadline of Monday, April 1, 2024.

In order to be considered for one of the awards, each online self-nomination form must be accompanied with the following materials:

  • 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 amelero@ltsc.ucsb.edu.

* 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.

The deadline for all Commencement Award applications is Monday, April 1, 2024.

Commencement Speakers

Have you dreamed of sharing your experience and inspiring your fellow Gauchos? Apply to be a Student Commencement Speaker! The College of Letters and Science is seeking applications for Student Commencement Speaker positions for all Letters & Science ceremonies. See the Commencement website for official commencement schedule information.

If you are a senior who has graduated or will graduate during the current year, please consider applying for this exciting opportunity by completing the Commencement Speaker application before the deadline of Monday, April 1, 2024.

Other Scholarships & Support

Honors Program and Campus Recognition

For information on scholarship awards related to the Letters & Science Honors Program, and on general recognition available for graduating L&S students, please see this page: https://www.duels.ucsb.edu/honors/awards/campus

Support for Other Scholarship Applications

The Division of Undergraduate Education does not maintain a directory for third party scholarships that do not require campus endorsement.  However, we are able to provide support for students working on any scholarship application, including providing comments on essays if permitted by that scholarship policies, and advice on application strategies and seeking recommendation letters. UCSB students working on applications for any academic scholarship may contact us at: scholarships@ltsc.ucsb.edu

For information on general financial support opportunities, including FAFSA related scholarships, we recommend students contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.