What is a Graduate SEED Award? 

The Graduate and Professional Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards honor graduate and professional students at the University of Minnesota whose research and scholarly interests are focused on issues of equity, diversity, and/or social justice, and who demonstrate outstanding creativity, innovation, and potential for scholarly and/or professional excellence in their discipline or field. In addition, SEED Award recipients will demonstrate experience with or commitment to serving or working with under-served, underrepresented or marginalized populations.

Up to two graduate and one professional SEED Awards with a value of $2,000 each will be awarded in 2021. Award funding will be paid as a scholarship via Financial Aid in Fall 2021. It is the students' responsibility to check with OneStop to see if receiving this funding would cause them to be over-awarded (based on any other scholarships awarded or loans taken out). Graduate SEED Award winners will be requested to participate in OED’s 2021 SEED Award Winners video and will be presented their awards at the 2021 OED Equity and Diversity Breakfast.

Who Is Eligible? 

  • U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents whose background and/or identities are underrepresented at the University of Minnesota
  • Students currently enrolled in graduate or professional degree programs at the University of Minnesota, and who will continue to be enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester
  • Students who will not have completed all degree requirements before December 2021

 Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Further Information

If you have any questions related to this award, contact the Graduate School Diversity Office.

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How Do I Apply?


For a detailed explanation of the electronic application form, please review the instructions below.

  1. Create a Login to access the application form.
  2. Complete the electronic application form.
  3. Complete the required fields and upload your narrative statement, 500-word abstract, and current CV. Select either SAVE/UPDATE or SUBMIT.
    • SAVE/UPDATE - You will remain in the form and may continue editing.
    • SUBMIT - You will exit the form. A confirmation email will be sent to the you and the Graduate School Diversity Office (GSDO).
      • Both options will save the application, overwriting any previously saved/submitted information, and enable GSDO staff to access the information.
      • Both options will allow you to continue editing the application until the deadline.
      • The review committee will ONLY view submitted information after the application deadline.
      • Confirm Receipt of the Submission: log in and select SUBMIT at the bottom of the form. An email will be sent to you and GSDO.


  • A narrative statement discussing how your academic and personal experiences at the University of Minnesota have contributed to your thinking about issues of equity, diversity, and social justice. Give examples of your experiences or involvement with equity, diversity, and or social justice.
  • A 500-word abstract of your current scholarly, research, thesis or capstone experience.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation:
    • One letter, preferably from your adviser or a member of your examining committee, to support your academic involvement with issues directly or tangentially related to equity, diversity, and/or social justice.
    • One letter, from a colleague or former student, who can attest to your manifestation of a commitment to diversity, equity, and/or social justice.
    • Your letters should be sent directly by your recommenders as an email attachment to gsdo@umn.edu by 11:59 p.m. (CST), Thursday, April 15, 2021.


The letter of recommendation should entail the following information:

  • Relationship to SEED Applicant
  • If the recommender is an advisor, please write about the applicant’s academic involvement with issues directly or tangentially related to equity, diversity, or social justice.
  • If the recommender is a colleague or former student, please write about the applicant's manifestation of a commitment to diversity, equity, and or social justice.

Recommenders should send the letter as an email attachment to gsdo@umn.edu by 11:59 p.m. (CST), Thursday, April 15, 2021.


Graduate students who have demonstrated impressive achievement and leadership in at least one of the following areas:

  • Academic performance and engagement with the chosen field of study
    • The field of study need not be in the area of equity, diversity, ethnic studies, GLBT studies, etc., but the research or scholarly interests must focus on issues related to diversity and equity.
  • Community outreach and activism
    • Students should demonstrate an exceptional commitment to and engagement with a particular issue of social justice, community, and/or community organization. Such community activism can take place on or off any of the University of Minnesota's campuses. In addition, all SEED Award recipients will demonstrate a deep understanding of and commitment to issues of equity, diversity, and social justice through their academic work and/or service to the community.


If you wish to donate funds to the SEED Scholars program, you may do so online. You can also contact the University of Minnesota Foundation directly at 612-624-3333, or 800-775-2187 (toll-free).