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What is the CIC Training Program?

The Creating Inclusive Cohorts (CIC) Training Program assists graduate programs in their efforts to increase and sustain the diversity of students receiving graduate degrees. The Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program, previously named the Graduate School Pilot Recruitment Initiative, provides each selected graduate program with multiple recruiting fellowships for students from under-represented communities in one year, as well as assistance to the program in recruitment. Similar to a training grant, the program is expected to develop specific support and training to the recruited cohort of students in order to enhance student retention and graduation. 

Students to be recruited under this initiative will be offered a Graduate School Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program Fellowship. Each program will be able to offer a Graduate School Fellowship to 6 admitted students, with the expectation that a minimum of 3 students will be successfully recruited to the program as a cohort.

Each fellowship includes one year of support: a stipend of $25,000, academic year tuition at the general graduate rate for up to 14 credits per semester, subsidized health insurance, and dental care for the academic year and the summer following their first year in the graduate program. Fellows are responsible for all other fees or charges and tuition beyond 14 credits (general tuition rate).

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Program Expectations and Requirements

  • The Graduate School views the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program as a partnership with graduate programs in recruiting and supporting outstanding students. In order to be eligible for funding, programs will:
  • Provide continuing financial support for their successful nominees for the duration of their graduate work, at the level of support normally provided for their best students - such as a half-time teaching or research assistantship - subject to satisfactory progress and performance;
  • Provide a $4,000 stipend, plus insurance coverage, for each Creating Inclusive Cohorts Fellow to participate in the Summer Institute experience. Please note that participation in the Summer Institute by the Fellow is optional and not a condition of accepting the award;
  • Commit a minimum of $1,000 that will be available for use at any time during the fellows’ enrollment to support the participation in research/conference travel;
  • Develop and implement best practices in diversity and inclusion; and to support the retention of the CIC cohort and all subsequent students from underrepresented backgrounds who enter the graduate program
  • Provide specific support and training for the recruited cohort of students during the course of their tenure in the program in order to enhance retention and graduation.

Program Eligibility

Graduate programs that anticipate being able to admit a minimum of 6 eligible doctoral students may apply for support from the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program. Similar to the DOVE Fellowships, the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program seeks to recruit academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences.

Programs that only offer terminal master's degrees may be eligible to apply via exception. Please contact for more information.

Fellow Eligibility

Students receiving a Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program fellowship must be U. S. citizens or permanent residents entering a research-based doctoral program at the University of Minnesota for the first time in the 2022-2023 academic year. Students who have already earned a terminal degree (such as M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D. etc.) are not eligible. Nominated students must have applied for admission, and be must be admissible under the graduate program’s standards. The Graduate School requires that all nominees will be admitted for admission to the graduate program as a degree-seeking student for fall semester 2022.

Application Components

Programs will be asked to address the following (separate) prompts in their application:

  • Please describe the targeted student cohort and how this cohort will contribute to the University’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity. Specifically, what new or severely underrepresented social identities (based on race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, etc.) would this particular cohort add to your graduate program(s)?
  • Describe the impact the successful recruitment of this cohort of students will have on the graduate program(s).
  • What specific efforts will the program(s) make to select this cohort of students from the programs' overall applicant pool and to successfully recruit this cohort of students to the program(s)?
  • How might your recruitment model change for 2022-23 in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic?
  • Please describe the current diversity of both graduate and faculty in the program(s).
  •  Describe the completion rate and time to degree for students from underrepresented groups in the program(s) and whether they are comparable to students from well-represented groups.
  • Please provide a self-assessment of the current programs' climate and the specific steps being taken to enhance climate. Include specific data (e.g. GradSERU results).
  • Describe the programs' specific plans to develop and implement new initiatives and/or best practices to enhance diversity and inclusion in the graduate program(s) throughout the award year (at minimum). Please include new or proposed initiatives or practices only.
  • How will your program(s) measure the success of these new initiatives and/or best practices?
  • Please describe the training, support, and mentorship that will specifically be provided to the newly recruited cohort of students that will enhance the cohort’s success in their first year of study.  Describe only the support that is new and distinct from the support provided to all students in the graduate program(s).
  • Describe the financial support that the graduate program(s) will provide to each student in the cohort after the initial fellowship year.

Joint Program Applications

Starting in award year 2021-22, we will allow two programs to apply for one CIC Training Grant as a joint program application. Programs applying for a joint application will need to address the existing collaborations between the two programs, in addition to how they will create and maintain a cohesive cohort of CIC fellows.

Previously Awarded Programs

If the graduate program has received support from the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Grant previously*, the application must also address:

  • Success of the previous effort and any changes that will be made to recruiting and retaining the new CIC cohort; and
  • Why Graduate School support for the recruitment of an additional cohort is necessary.

* Please note that programs are eligible for a MAXIMUM of two years of funding. Any applications received that are requesting a third year of funding will be disqualified.


Program staff can access the CIC Training Program application here. You will need to create a new login the first time you access the application.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY 4:30 PM, OCTOBER 8, 2021. Confirmation of receipt will be sent by email to the Director of Graduate Studies and to the support staff indicated on the electronic form. No paper copy is required.

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact the Graduate School Fellowship Office at

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What review criteria is used when evaluating applications for the CIC Training Program?

A faculty committee will review all applications and make a recommendation to the Graduate School. Selection considerations include:

  • Evidence that the targeted cohort are representatives of communities under-represented in that discipline and will contribute to the University’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity;
  • Strong rationale and evidence that the successful recruitment of this group of students as a cohort will have a substantive, positive impact on the graduate program and future recruitment of under-represented students;
  • Commitment of the program to successful recruitment and retention of the cohort;
  • The program’s efforts to create a welcoming environment, including the implementation of diversity and inclusion best practices and support and mentorship that will enhance the cohort’s retention and success;
  • The level of commitment by the nominating graduate program to fund the student beyond the first year and to provide support for participation in the Summer Institute, as well as research and conference travel; and
  • The overall effectiveness of the nominating program’s presentation.

The Graduate School will also consider historical data regarding the number of eligible students admitted each year to the program, gradSERU data on program climate and advising, and the distribution of these fellowships to graduate programs in multiple colleges in the final selection process.

If awarded the CIC Training Program, how do programs select and award CIC fellows?

f a graduate program is selected for support by the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program, they will have until no later than March 15, 2022 to identify eligible students who will be admitted and offered the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program fellowship. Before offering any CIC fellowships to incoming students, the program must submit to the Graduate School:

  • Names of all 6 students who have been admitted and will be offered a fellowship;
  • A brief description of how each student will contribute to the University’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity; and
  • A copy of the offer letter of admission that will be given to each student selected for the cohort. The offer letter should minimally include:
    • A description of the financial support that the graduate program will provide to the student after the initial fellowship year;
    • Program support for a $4,000 stipend, and summer health insurance, for the participation of the student in the Summer Institute; and
    • Program support for a minimum of $1,000 in financial support to the student for research and conference travel.

Fellowship offers can only be extended to each student following Graduate School approval.

Can my program apply for the CIC Training Program and also nominate students for the DOVE Fellowship?

Graduate programs selected for the Creating Inclusive Cohorts Training Program will not be eligible to submit applications to the 2022-2023 DOVE Fellowship Program.

What makes a strong application for the CIC Training Program?

Traditionally, strong applications for the Creating Inclusive Cohorts (CIC) Training Program will focus on recruiting a cohesive cohort of students who have a shared identity and/or background and experiences.

Additionally, programs should critically review their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and develop a plan for implementing and assessing new initiatives as part of their CIC application.

Where can I access information about diversity statistics for my program?

We recommend you start by reviewing the most recent gradSERU survey data for your program. You should also review your program’s recruitment and retention data when drafting your application. Some of this information can be accessed via the Reporting Center. If you need assistance requesting this information, please contact