Political Science majors are eligible for a variety of scholarships and awards, which reward academic excellence or support students who are participating in research or obtaining practical experience in government and politics. For example, Political Science majors are eligible for three of the awards granted by the The Pittsburgh Foundation to undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines: the Thomas H. and Sarah Jane McIntosh scholarship supports meritorious Pitt students who have demonstrated financial need; the Jack Wilson Fund is designated to support students whose foreign travel integrates a service-learning component, especially one whose aim is to foster international peace and community development; and the J. Steele Gow Political Internship to support students from western Pennsylvania while they intern in a local members' Congressional office, in an executive or administrative office of the national or local governments, or in the national, state, and local offices of the political parties. Because there are many opportunities for independent and directed research in the major, particularly in upper level field courses as well as through the B.Phil. and B.S. degree options, Political Science majors are also competitive for the Ossip Awards for Excellence in Writing. Consult these links for details and application instructions for the respective awards.

Students can also research scholarship opportunities online, and the University of Pittsburgh Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is a good place to start the search for other opportunities both within the university and externally.

Congratulations to our 2014-2015 student award winners!

Departmental Awards

In addition, the Political Science Department makes a variety of awards each year to students who have excelled in our program. Some of these awards support research and study abroad, while others recognize outstanding student achievements and academic performance. Details and application instructions appear below.

All applications for these departmental awards should be submitted in person to the Department of Political Science, 4600 Posvar Hall. Applications can be submitted starting in January of each year.

Awards for Research and Study Abroad

Gary J. Rathburn Undergraduate International Research Award

The purpose of this award, generously funded through an endowment established by Gary J. Rathburn, is to support undergraduate research in the Department of Political Science, with a preference for research that is international in scope. Each year the Department will award one or more grants of up to $5,000, depending on the quality of applications received and the amounts requested.


Any student who is a Political Science major, who is taking PS courses, or who is researching a PS topic may apply for funding in support of a research project. Preference will be given to continuing students, but all students should apply. Applicants should submit:

  • a resume or curriculum vitae;
  • official or unofficial transcript;
  • a statement describing the research project and its significance in the student’s intellectual development (three page maximum);
  • a simple budget explaining how the award money will be used; and
  • a letter of support from the sponsoring faculty member.

We begin considering applications on January 15; deadline for application is April 1.


Holbert N. Carroll Memorial Fund to Support Study and Travel Abroad

Beginning in 2012, the Department has offered awards in honor of Holbert N. Carroll, a former Professor of Political Science at Pitt. These awards will support students undertaking serious programs of study or research abroad.


Any continuing Political Science student planning to study or conduct research abroad may apply. Applications should submit: a resume or curriculum vitae;

  • a resume or curriculum vitae;
  • an official or unofficial transcript;
  • a statement describing the program the student plans to enter or the proposed research, if applicable, and explaining how it will contribute to the student’s intellectual development (three page maximum);
  • a simple budget explaining how the award money will be used; and
  • the names of two faculty members (at least one in Political Science) who can provide references.

We begin considering applications on January 15; deadline for application is April 1.


Prizes for Academic Achievement

Horace Umberger Memorial Prize for Outstanding Political Science Major

A legacy left by Mr. Horace Umberger allows the Department to offer this prize to the outstanding Political Science major.


Any Political Science major graduating in the current academic year (Dec. April, or August) is eligible to apply. Other requirements include: a minimum 3.5 overall GPA and a minimum 3.7 PoliSci GPA. In addition, applicants should provide:

  • an official or unofficial transcript;
  • a resume or curriculum vitae indicating any publications, presentations, research, awards, or other relevant evidence of academic achievement in the discipline;
  • names of two Political Science faculty willing to serve as references (no letters necessary at this stage); and
  • a one-page statement indicating why the student should be chosen "outstanding Political Science major." The statement may be single spaced but may not exceed one page.

Deadline: April 1

John P. Bracken Undergraduate Political Science Awards

A generous endowment from Mr. John P. Bracken allows us to honor outstanding junior and senior political science students. This award recognizes academic achievement and a commitment to political or public service.


For Juniors: Overall GPA of 3.0 or better; Political Science Major; demonstrated campus leadership; and, a developing and responsible interest in political or public service.

For Seniors: Overall GPA of 3.5 or better; Political Science Major graduating in the current academic year (Dec. April, or August); must have successfully completed University Honors College Courses.

To apply, complete and submit the appropriate application form for Juniors or for Seniors.

Deadline: April 1

Morris S. and Eleanor S. Ogul Award

Professor Morris Ogul was committed to promoting the study of American Politics at the University of Pittsburgh. His life and career left an enduring legacy on our Department to which many generations of Pitt students who studied with him can attest, especially in the area of undergraduate teaching of this field of the discipline.

He endowed the Department with a fund to recognize excellence in the undergraduate study of American Politics. With that in mind, and as a continuing tribute to his career and to his wife’s service to the University of Pittsburgh community, the Morris S. and Eleanor S. Ogul Award recognizes the outstanding senior undergraduate Political Science major who emphasizes the study of United States Government and Politics. The sole criterion for selection is outstanding academic achievement.


Students who have completed three or more upper division undergraduate American Politics courses (at the PS 1200-level) and who are graduating in the current academic year (Dec. April, or August) are eligible for consideration. Candidates who wish to be considered must submit:

  • a letter of application detailing their suitability for the award;
  • a resume or curriculum vitae; and
  • official or unofficial transcript(s) from the University of Pittsburgh and official transcripts from any other institutions attended at which courses in the field of American Politics were completed.

Deadline: April 1