Nelson Institute Scholarships

The Nelson Institute offers many scholarship opportunities for its undergraduate and graduate students. All of these scholarships are made possible by private philanthropy from generous donors.

Typically, scholarship opportunities are announced in early February of each year, applications are due in March, and recipients are notified in April. Scholarship recipients are formally acknowledged at the Nelson Institute’s Spring Commencement Celebration and Recognition Ceremony, which takes place a week or two in advance of the official UW-Madison commencement.

Comprehensive information about Nelson Institute scholarship opportunities can be found at Scholarships@UW-Madison.

Questions about Nelson Institute scholarships should be directed to Tara Mohan, temohan@wisc.edu.

Eligibility

Student applicants must be enrolled full-time in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and actively pursuing one of the following:

  • Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Studies
  • Undergraduate Major in Environmental Studies
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability
  • MS in Water Resources Management
  • MS/PhD in Environment and Resources

Applicants must be in good academic standing, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Other, unique eligibility requirements apply to each scholarship; a full description of each of the scholarships and programs listed below can be found at Scholarships@UW-Madison.

Undergraduate Student Scholarships

Aldo Leopold Great People in Environmental Studies Scholarship

  • This is a need-based scholarship; FAFSA required.
  • Per the donor’s wishes, preference will be given to those applicants pursuing the Undergraduate Major in Environmental Studies.

Arthur B. Sacks Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

  • This scholarship award is intended to support students who are exploring the relation of environmental studies to the concept and practice of sustainability.

Cal DeWitt Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Given Professor Cal DeWitt’s scholarly interests, this scholarship award is intended to support students who are exploring the relation of environmental studies to religion or spiritualism.

Community Environmental Scholars Program

  • The Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) is not a traditional scholarship, but a cohort-based program that provides varying levels of scholarship support to students participating in it.
  • CESP is designed for students who want to link their passion for the environment with a commitment to the community and allows participants to work with community-based environmental organizations.
  • Students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education (e.g., first-generation, communities of color, veterans, returning adult students) are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Review the Community Environmental Scholarship eligibility and program requirements

Charles G. Meyer Undergraduate Study Abroad Travel Award

  • The purpose of this scholarship is to provide support to undergraduate students in the Nelson Institute who are participating in traditional (non-internship), for-credit, international study-abroad programs.

Kikkoman Environmental Studies Scholarship

  • The purpose of this scholarship award is to provide financial support to undergraduate students in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
  • Per the wishes of the donor, student applicants who are residents of Walworth County will be given special consideration for this scholarship.

Reid Bryson Scholarship

There is a special application process for this scholarship.

  • The Reid Bryson Scholarship honors the life and legacy of Professor Reid Bryson, founder of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research and first director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. This scholarship rewards exemplary students whose research mirrors the innovative and interdisciplinary studies of the late Professor Reid Bryson.
  • Applicants must be a registered undergraduate or graduate student at UW-Madison, from any department. The student’s research should either involve research into fundamental climatic and meteorological processes or environmental issues that connect climate, people and the environment. Students from across the sciences and humanities are encouraged to apply.
  • Learn more about the scholarship at the Center for Climatic Research website

Graduate Student Scholarships

Arthur B. Sacks Award for Graduate Excellence in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

  • This scholarship award is intended to support students who are exploring the relation of environmental studies to the concept and practice of sustainability.

Cal DeWitt Graduate Scholarship

  • Given Professor Cal DeWitt’s scholarly interests, this scholarship award is intended to support students who are exploring the relation of environmental studies to religion or spiritualism.

Reid Bryson Scholarship

There is a special application process for this scholarship.

  • The Reid Bryson Scholarship honors the life and legacy of Professor Reid Bryson, founder of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research and first Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.  This scholarship rewards exemplary students whose research mirrors the innovative and interdisciplinary studies of the late professor Reid Bryson.
  • Applicants must be a registered undergraduate or graduate student at UW-Madison, from any department. The student’s research should either involve research into fundamental climatic and meteorological processes or environmental issues that connect climate, people and the environment. Students from across the sciences and humanities are encouraged to apply.
  • Learn more about the scholarship at the Center for Climatic Research website

Linda Wernecke Marshall Graduate Award in Environmental Studies

  • The purpose of this scholarship award is to provide financial support to graduate students in the Nelson Institute to work in areas of transformative education, public environmental literacy, or outreach to diverse stakeholder groups (e.g., agricultural or business leadership) related to environmental issues in the United States or Canada.

Campus-Wide Environmental Scholarship Opportunity

Holstrom Environmental Scholarships

This campus-wide scholarship competition is coordinated not by the Nelson Institute, but by the Office of the Provost and provides support to undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW-Madison faculty or staff.

  • Research proposals must have an environmental focus, and applicants must have at least a junior standing at the time of application.
  • Students apply in the spring semester to fund research during the summer or following academic year.
  • Proposals are evaluated for research quality, originality and intellectual significance, and the ability of the student applicant to carry out the proposed research. Applicants who do not receive a Holstrom scholarship will be automatically considered for a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship.
  • Find application information at Scholarships@UW