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.

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.