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Academic Competitions

Click here for a listing of additional academic competitions available to UC Merced undergraduate students.

Strauss Scholarship

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

November 15, 2023 4:00 pm-5:00 pm: Strauss Foundation Scholarship Webinar. Register here.

December 15, 2023: Optional Campus Intent to Submit Notice (see more below)

Friday, February 9, 2024: Campus Deadline

The Donald A. Strauss Scholarship provides a $15,000 award, consisting of a $7,000 scholarship and an $8,000 project grant. Applicants must be sophomores and juniors who will use the grant to pursue a self-initiated public service project during the year after winning the award. The project may be a new undertaking or an extension of an existing project. The Strauss Foundation annually awards the scholarship to students from twenty-two eligible California institutions, including UC Merced.

Click here for the UC Merced November 2022 Information Session Recording

Eligibility Requirements

  • full-time sophomore or junior
  • have a GPA in the upper third of class
  • have outstanding leadership potential
  • have a passion for social change, public service or social entrepreneurship 

Campus Intent to Submit Notice

UC Merced students who are considering submitting an application are encouraged to complete the Intent to Submit Notice (link coming soon) as soon as possible but no later than December 15, 2023. The form will ask for your year, major and contact information and a brief description of your project. Once submitted, we will reach out to connect you with support and coaching as you develop your proposal. Note that completion of a Campus Intent to Submit Notice is not required for you to submit an application. 

Selection Criteria

  • Projects will be selected by a committee of UC Merced faculty and staff, based on the following criteria
    • Project
      • Demonstrated connecting between project and applicant's passion
      • Innovative and timely approach to addressing important issues
      • Realistic in scope, implementation and timeline
      • Clear articulation of intended impact and measures of success
      • Sustainable and designed to continue after initial implementation
    • Applicant
      • meets class and GPA requirements
      • will graduate no earlier than June 2025
      • demonstrated interest in public service, social change or social entrepreneurship 
      • commitment to positively impacting local, regional or national communities
      • leadership potential
      • effective communication skills

Additional guidance about expectations for projects can be found here:  

Application Process

Campus Deadline: Friday, February 9, 2024.

All materials should be submitted through the 2024-2025 UC Merced Strauss Scholars Form, with the exception of letters of recommendation which may also be submitted from authors to All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received no later than Friday, February 9, 2024. 

Resources for Applicants