The Department of Political Science has scholarships available for continuing students. Students are encouraged to apply and include as part of their application a short personal statement (no more than one page) about their background, leadership, academic merit and plans. Applications are due the Friday before Fall Break begins. Scholarships are announced early spring semester and are awarded for the following academic year.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Aramis Martinez (


Below is a list of all available departmental scholarships.

Bob Byars Scholarship

Bob Byars was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science from 1968-1975. He enjoyed the solidarity and support of many students and colleagues at Illinois during his struggle to gain tenure in the department. Some 25-30 years later, he resumed contact with several former students who had succeeded in a variety of fields, who pooled their resources for a need-based scholarship fund for first-generation college students in political science at the University of Illinois.

William Jennings Bryan Prize

Bryan was the Democratic Party’s Candidate for President three times, the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, and the prosecutor of John Scopes in the famous Tennessee court case on evolution. Bryan left a small bequest to the University for the best essay on government. This prize is awarded every five years, the next upcoming year is 2023.

Burnier Family Scholarship

The Burnier Family Scholarship, founded by DeLysa Burnier, B.A., M.A., and Ph.D alumna of the University of Illinois, honors Professor Fred Wirt, her mentor in the department, and recognizes the many members of the Burnier family who attended the University of Illinois. This scholarship is awarded annually to students interested in civic leadership and/or public policy and based on academic merit.

Dean S. Dorman Award

Dean S. Dorman graduated for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1909. He and his employer, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, created a fund to allow undergraduate students to travel as departmental delegates to conferences and symposia in which they are participants. There are several awards as needed. Applications should be submitted in the term previous to the one in which the student plans to travel.

Ronald H. Filler Political Science Scholarship

Ronald H. Filler is a commodities attorney who funds a scholarship to be awarded annually to two sophomores based on their academic merit. He also provides mentorship to awardees.

Graham Scholarship in Civic Leadership

The Dr. Charles J. Graham & Mrs. Florence Y. Graham endowment funds up to two scholarships awarded annually for outstanding students enrolled in the Civic Leadership concentration or minor, characterized by academic excellence and a record of involvement in organizations and leadership opportunities.

Charles E. Merriam Scholarships

Charles J. Merriam donated to the University of Illinois in honor of his father, the late Charles E. Merriam, who was a distinguished political scientist. Up to two scholarships are awarded annually to undergraduates in political science for the following academic year. Students with outstanding academic records must submit a letter indicating advanced level courses taken or in progress currently, along with a copy of a current transcript.

Charles E. Merriam Essay Contest

The Charles E. Merriam endowment also funds the Merriam Essay Award. Up to two prizes are awarded annually for the best essays submitted in the area of local government and politics. The essay should not exceed 7500 words. The award is open to all undergraduate students except seniors.

Peter F. Rossiter Scholarships

Up to two Peter F. Rossiter Scholarships are awarded annually to majors in political science, based on financial need. All freshman, sophomore, or junior political science majors registered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are eligible to apply. Each applicant must submit a letter expressing interest to be considered for the award. Since awards are based on applicants’ financial need as well as their academic record, each student in consideration must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have the Parent’s Confidential Statement submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Zishen Ye Scholarship

Zishen Ye is a 2019 graduate of the University of Illinois. The Zishen Ye Scholarship supports undergraduate scholarships for internships and other field practice activities within the Department of Political Science. Preference shall be given to students with internships of exceptional quality and superior academic merit.

Brent and Mary Sharon Gregory Scholarship

Brent E. Gregory is a 1968 graduate of the Department of Political Science. He and his wife Mary Sharon (BA 1969, University of Illinois) generously set up a scholarship to support students participating in off-campus programs or internships. Preference shall be given to students with financial need.


Khushali P. and Jigar H. Shah Scholarship

Khushali Shah has a BA in Political Science from Illinois (1996), and a MA in Public Policy from Maryland (2001) Jigar Shad is also an alum from Illinois and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering.  He is the Director of the Loan Programs Office in the Department of Energy. The Shahs established this scholarship to improve access to off-campus programming, such as study abroad or internships, for students in the Department of Political Science of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


Lucius Barker Award

Lucius Barker (1928-2020) was a renowned scholar of constitutional law, civil liberties, and African American politics. He earned his B.A. at Southern University and A&M College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois. At Illinois, he was the first African American to hold a teaching assistant position in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was a fellow at the Harvard Law School, returned to Illinois as an associate chancellor, served as chair of the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and then taught at Stanford University. He served as the president of the American Political Science Association in 1992-93 and also as president of the Midwest Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. His book Black Americans and the Political System is considered a defining book in the study of systemic racism through a political lens. His book Civil Liberties and the Constitution is also widely used in political science courses. He served as an academic mentor to multiple government officials from underrepresented backgrounds and was involved as an active participant in multiple political campaigns.

The Lucius Barker Award honors Professor Barker’s legacy by recognizing undergraduate research that engages with the themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The award comes with a monetary prize and recognition for the winning paper. Relevant topics might include, but are not limited to, identity-based representation or exclusion; the origins or effects of disenfranchisement; inequities in economic, education, health, or legal systems; the origins or effects of systemic discrimination; strategies for promoting perspective-taking, understanding, and/or belonging.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria: Undergraduate papers or honors theses written for Department of Political Science courses are eligible for the award. Currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible to apply, as are students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the academic year prior to the award competition. Papers may be self-nominated or nominated by a faculty member. Nominated papers should be independent research that substantially engages with the themes of diversity, equity, and/or inclusion (broadly defined). Nominated papers may be empirical or theoretical and may come from any subfield of political science. Papers should be at least 10 pages in length; papers may be co-authored with other undergraduate students but may not be co-authored with faculty or graduate students. The award will be given annually or biannually (depending on the number and quality of submissions) in the spring semester.

Apply for the Lucius Barker Award HERE. Deadline to apply/nominate a student is March 15th at 11:59pm CST.

Philip Monypenny Scholarship

This $500 scholarship was established in the name of Philip Monypenny, who was head of the department of Political Science from 1967 to 1972. The scholarship may be taken in any semester after being awarded.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria: Applicants must have a declared Political Science major or minor, or be pursuing a graduate degree in the discipline; must demonstrate active engagement with the Women’s Resources Center (WRC), prior to applying; and must be enrolled at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana during the award period. Enrollment may be full or part time. Preference for awards will be given to WRC interns and volunteers. All currently enrolled students are eligible regardless of citizenship or in-state status. Students will be eligible for the awards no more than twice per degree. All students must submit a copy of their Financial Aid Award Letter (if applicable). A fully completed application will be required for all applicants.

Apply for the Philip Monypenny Scholarship HERE. Deadline to apply November 30th at 11:59pm CST.


If you have any additional questions, please contact Aramis Martinez (