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Giving Opportunities

There are a variety of ways you can support the work of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland. This list of both general and restricted funds provides alumni and friends with many opportunities to match giving preferences with the needs of our students and programs:

Annual Funds

Alumni and friends can make a gift at any level to the following funds. These enable the Dean of the Graduate School to provide ongoing support throughout the year for students and programs:

Graduate School Fund for Excellence – The Graduate School Fund for Excellence provides the most immediate source of support for graduate students and faculty. This fund gives the Dean of the Graduate School the flexibility to respond quickly to emerging opportunities and needs. Gifts enable and advance cutting-edge research, international collaborations, and dissertation and degree completion. Starting in the fall of 2019, Dr. Rita Leahy (’89 PhD) made a large contribution to this fund to enable the Graduate School to provide agile support for doctoral students seeking non-academic career paths. Smaller contributions can have a large impact. A couple of hundred dollars can address an immediate need a graduate student might have, and support and enhance their experience while at Maryland.

Graduate School Fellowship Fund - All students enrolled in UMD graduate programs are eligible for fellowships and awards, though doctoral students are the main recipients. Funds support students during different stages of a student’s doctoral program, from recruiting top applicants, to supporting summer research or research travel, to facilitating the completion of the dissertation and recognizing exceptional accomplishments. Small contributions can have a major impact on a student’s graduate experience. A contribution of $200 can fund fieldwork, data collection, travel, or an archival visit. Contributions of $500 to $800 can allow a graduate student to attend a professional conference and give them a chance to present their work and/or network with colleagues. Support in the amount of $5000 can allow a PhD student to do their own research in the summer.

Graduate School Diversity Fund – The Graduate School Diversity Fund advances the recruitment, retention, and graduation of students from underrepresented populations by providing them with academic programs, support initiatives, and co-curricular activities. The Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI) often facilitates programs and workshops that enhance the experiences of students in these populations. Even small contributions have a large impact in recruitment and retention initiatives that support the matriculation of underrepresented students. By helping individual students succeed, gifts to this Fund enhance diversity, promote inclusion, and help build a vital and vibrant graduate learning community.

Graduate School Writing Center Fund - The Graduate School Writing Center provides graduate students with workshops, one-on-one coaching, and other programs and resources to improve oral and written communication skills. Gifts to the Writing Center Fund provide enhanced services to help students develop skills that are vital for their continued academic and professional success. Even small contributions can have a large impact. Much of the programming offered by the Graduate School Writing Center operates on a peer model, giving students a community of writers for support and mentoring. With the funds to hire an additional graduate assistant or Communication Fellows, the Writing Center could enhance services in the following two ways:

  • This fall, we began a program to explicitly support students writing at the dissertation stage. The Dissertation Success Support program kicked-off with over thirty students. The program includes weekly meetings, facilitated by a postdoctoral associate, to discuss challenges and create a sense of accountability, as well as opportunities for students to develop their writing skills. We would like to continue and expand the program in future semesters. Total cost: $25,000.
  • In the 2019-2020 academic year, we expanded our oral communication support to include more one-on-one consultations and a weekly “Small Talk” conversation group for both international and native-born graduate students. More funds to hire and train additional graduate students to be Communication Fellows would allow us to increase our oral communication support and programming each week. People often name speaking in public as their greatest fear—increased oral communication support can help GradTerps overcome that fear. Total cost: $10,000.

Rita B. Leahy Professional Development for Doctoral Students Fund - This fund provides support for professional development efforts in the Graduate School that help doctoral students explore career alternatives. This fund is used to cover travel expenses, honoraria and other expenses associated with bringing experts to campus to serve as lecturers or panelists who help doctoral students explore career opportunities and workforce expectations associated with different job sectors.

Graduate School International Fund – The Graduate School International Fund provides graduate students with meaningful learning, research, and professional experiences in international settings. Gifts to this fund support students as they participate in collaborations between faculty and international colleagues with the International Graduate Research Fellowship. This fund also supports programming for our international graduate student population. Even small contributions can have a large impact.

To make an online gift to one of these funds, please visit

University of Maryland Giving Day

Giving Day is a one-day annual fundraising event the first Tuesday in March, for all members of the University of Maryland community. Students, faculty, staff, parents, friends and alumni are invited to join the largest day of giving because we are all Terps. The goal is to raise critical funding and engage our community to advance the mission of the University of Maryland.

Fellowship, Award and Programming Funds

Alumni and friends can create their own funds with a one-time gift, a current use or endowed fund. A one-time gift provides support for a limited time period (usually within the current fiscal year), while a gift to the endowment provides support in perpetuity.

Innovation Fellowships – Awarded to students pursuing bold, cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. They provide outstanding students full financial support in their first year of graduate study.

Flagship Fellowships – “Super fellowships” designed to attract truly exceptional doctoral students and enable the University of Maryland to compete successfully with other top private and public universities.

Dissertation Fellowships – Designed to shorten time to degree and to increase degree completion rates. They provide doctoral candidates full financial support during the critical dissertation phase. 

Summer Research Fellowships – Awarded to doctoral students at mid-career. They fund an uninterrupted summer of focused work on qualifying exam preparation or preliminary dissertation research.

Research and Travel Awards – Enhance opportunities for students to conduct and present their research. These award support fieldwork, participation in international research projects, or travel to national or international conferences.

Programmatic Funds - Provide support to enhance professional development for graduate students and postdocs in the following areas: (1) writing and communication, and (2) PhD career development (academic and non-academic).

To provide support to a fellowship or award fund, please contact our Director of External and Alumni Relations.