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Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship

Guidelines for Award

The Joseph F. Nelson Graduate Scholarship is open to graduate students at South Dakota State University who are in good standing with the University and meet the criteria for the award.


  • The student must be an active student and have successfully completed 15 semester credit hours of academic work toward a master’s or doctoral degree. 
  • The student must be completing, as part of the degree, original research, preferably in one of the following sciences: biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physical geography, physics, soils or other physical sciences. 
  • Awards are restricted to students pursuing thesis option.  Exceptions may be made for substantive defined original research papers recommended by the advisor.
  • Applicants must be of good moral character, and must not use drugs or be habitual users of tobacco or alcoholic beverages.


Scholarship applications should be submitted electronically by November 16, 2023 at 5 p.m.


  • Awards will be granted at $2,500 each
  • Recipients must remain in good standing (with a GPA of 3.0 or above) to receive the award. 
  • Students must have an approved Plan of Study in place to receive the award.


Applications will be evaluated by the Joseph F. Nelson Scholarship Committee.  Applications will be evaluated on:

  • potential for successful completion of the degree
  • the subjective evaluation of the research work
  • written information from the thesis advisor and applicant

Financial need is not a factor in selection of the recipient.  This award is not intended to replace any part of a graduate assistantship.

Publicity:  Applicants must agree to provide personal information as normally needed for publicity of the award and permit the use of name, picture and statement of the significance of the scholarship activity in such publicity.  Applicants also must agree to provide, at the end of the graduate degree, a statement of accomplishment detailing how the award was used.  This statement is intended for use by the SDSU Foundation with other potential donors.  Where appropriate, recipients are encouraged to acknowledge this award.