The Graduate School is pleased to announce the Thurgood Marshall Graduate Fellowship (formerly Thurgood Marshall Graduate Award), honoring the life and work of the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice. This fellowship aligns closely with the intent of the national Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Program and acknowledges Marshall's life-long commitment to civil rights and effecting change. The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship is intended to support the retention of meritorious graduate students whose accomplishments and activities demonstrate leadership, service, and commitment to fostering a just and equitable community.

The award also aligns with and supports development in the OSU Grad Advantage core competencies for graduate students. Nominees are encouraged to complete the OSU Grad Advantage Self-Assessment Tool at the time of their nomination, or in the case of prospective students after they have been formally admitted to gauge their ongoing professional development.

Award Details

The Graduate School intends to offer up to four of these fellowships for the 2024-2025 Academic Year. Awardees are able to select which academic term best meets their needs for graduate fellowship appointment. The fellowship appointment includes:

  • A one-time academic term (3-month) stipend ($9,250 for doctoral students, $8,000 for master’s students)
  • An academic term (12 credits if either fall, winter, or spring is selected, or 3 credits if summer is selected) tuition waiver.
  • A fee subsidy to cover costs associated with mandatory OSU fees ($700 for either fall, winter, or spring, or $300 for summer)
  • Formal appointment as an OSU graduate fellow to allow access to subsidized health insurance under the prevailing graduate assistant/fellow health insurance plan


  • Nominee must have been admitted for graduate study through the domestic student application
  • Nominee must be a full-time, graduate degree-seeking student in an OSU doctoral program, or in an OSU master’s program where a doctoral degree does not exist at OSU
  • Nominee must have successfully completed at least 3 graduate credits toward their current OSU graduate degree in each of the 3 academic terms directly preceding the nomination (minimum of 9 credits) by the time the award will be administered
  • Nominee must have a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Nominee must be making satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the graduate program

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation of nominations will be based upon:

  • The nominee’s previous academic success
  • The nominee’s scholarly potential
  • The nominee’s commitment, persistence, and leadership
  • The nominee’s life experiences and background

Nomination Period

The nomination period begins on September 27, 2023. All nominations must be submitted by 5 p.m., Monday, March 4, 2024. Awards will be determined in late March 2024.

Nomination Procedure

Nominations may be submitted by the nominee's graduate program director, department chair/head, college leadership, or appropriate leadership in an institutional partner unit. Students may not apply directly for this award. Each unit (as defined by university major code) and institutional partner may nominate no more than TWO nominees (total) per award cycle.

In the online nomination form, nominators will be required to prepare/upload the following materials as one PDF document using the following file name convention:
"Nominee's Last Name_Department_Thurgood.pdf", and upload it through the nomination form.

  1. A statement from the nominee (1 page maximum) that speaks to the following areas; nominees are encouraged to review the Graduate School’s OSU Grad Advantage core competencies and complete the OSU Grad Advantage Self-Assessment Tool to assist in responding to these prompts:

    1. Their academic merit and intellectual vitality

      • This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, their commitment and persistence related to previous academic pursuits, their intellectual curiosity and commitment, and the strengths and skills they bring to their graduate studies.

    2. A discussion of their skills, knowledge, and previous experiences and how those contribute/will contribute to fostering an inclusive and diverse university community.
    3. How this award will support them in their graduate studies.
  2. A nominating letter (1 page maximum) from college leadership or the nominee’s major professor, unit chair/head addressing the following:

    1. The nominee’s previous academic success, scholarly potential, and the potential to grow and succeed in graduate studies.

      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This can be demonstrated by a combination of possible indicators including, but not limited to, prior coursework, degrees, and institutions of higher education; honors, awards, scholarships, or other academic distinctions; scholarly activity at previous institution(s) or employment; scholarly engagement in volunteer or service activities, membership in professional organizations, and research endeavors; the nominee’s skills and aptitudes that support scholarly activity; skills and aptitudes that would support academic success such as motivation, persistence, self-direction, planning, organization, and initiative

    2. The nominee’s life experiences and background including the diversity and richness of an individual’s background and the value those bring to the academic context.

      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This can be demonstrated by a combination of indicators including, but not limited to, previous institution(s) attended; previous participation in educational or scholarly programs; previous work experiences; special talents or skills; experiences with overcoming substantial educational or economic obstacles; experience living or working in diverse environments; a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; cross-cultural experiences and opportunities for meaningful engagement with those different from self.

    3. The nominee’s commitment, persistence, and leadership including personal resolve, dedication, and initiative.
      • This can be demonstrated by a combination of indicators including, but not limited to, progression of academic performance over time and contextual factors; extracurricular involvement including the diversity of activities, duration and type of involvement, and growth in leadership; community service or volunteerism; quality and impact of leadership role(s); personal hardships or obstacles encountered and evidence of resilience.
  3. A copy of the nominee’s résumé or curriculum vitae

NOTE to Institutional Partners:

If an institutional partner is submitting the nomination, they must also have confirmation from the student’s academic unit that:

  • the student is not already being nominated for the same award by the academic unit, and
  • the student is in good academic standing, making satisfactory progress, and that the nomination aligns with the student’s status in the program.

Nomination Form

Submit a nomination

Nomination form overview


For questions about this award or any Graduate School administered awards, please contact our Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships team