About the Graduate School Diversity Office

Learn About Our Office

The Graduate School Diversity Office, located in 333 Johnston Hall, coordinates activities relating to underrepresented graduate students. It assists directors of graduate studies with recruitment, retention, and funding of underrepresented graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The office provides students with strategies for clarifying goals, selecting a graduate program, preparing the best possible graduate school application, and funding graduate work through assistantships and fellowships. For more information about our mission please refer to the "Mission Statement".

Diversity Initiatives

Strategies that facilitate identification of prospective graduate students include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Direct contact with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, tribal colleges, and institutions with a high percentage of students of color;
  • Advertise opportunities for students of color at the University nationally;
  • Use existing resources within the University (e.g., identify students involved in the undergraduate summer research programs, enlist the assistance of faculty and students of color within departments, collaborate with related disciplines in recruiting efforts, and respond to inquiries generated through the National Name Exchange);
  • Make use of network opportunities outside the University (e.g., mail recruiting materials to national organizations and professional societies; attend national conferences, recruiting fairs, and professional meetings; network with professionals in the field, sponsoring companies, and professional organizations to create a pool of applicants; and maintain relations with minority alumni to refer students to departments);
  • Secure financial support for students of color (e.g., through block grant funds, fellowship programs, departmental support, and internships).
  • Additional efforts by programs that aid in the retention of women and students of color include examining the curriculum for inclusiveness; developing mentoring programs; providing diversity workshops for faculty, staff, and students; and examining the general climate for underrepresented students within the program.

Programs and Activities (Recruitment, Funding, Retention and Graduation)

If you have questions about the following programs and activities, please call the Graduate School Diversity Office at 612.625.6858.

Prospective Student Advising

We invite prospective students to schedule an individual consultation to help plan their graduate school pursuits. Consultations provide students with information on how to map out plans to realize their educational goals, to complete successfully the admission process, to take advantage of local and national resources, and to finance graduate studies. Students will also be introduced to the appropriate program(s) faculty and staff.  We have a strong commitment to serve students; we especially encourage students from the following programs to take advantage of the services that we offer: McNair Scholars Program, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, GEM Fellows, North Star Alliance Program, Wallin Scholars Program and the Miller Scholars Program.

Proactive Approach to Recruitment

The Graduate School Diversity Office invites students to join the Prospective Student Roster. The Roster enables the office to maintain contact with students via e-mail and telephone, to help applicants understand the admission process, to ask them if they are receiving department information, and to determine if their questions are being answered.

Hobson Connect Prospective Student CRM application 

In Fall 2011, we recently launched a new Request for Information page to better serve our prospective students and to comply with the recent recommendations made by the Provost's graduate education restructuring working group. The purpose of this page is to enhance the visibility of your graduate program by actively welcoming prospective students, linking them to your program, and sending general follow up emails with application information.

This is a modest first step, but we hope to be rolling out more sophisticated recruitment tools for you in the future.  To read more about the Request for Information page, click here. Once the system had been tested and debugged, programs will be able to use the system to do more than the existing Prospect Module can offer.  The new software will keep track of the contacts by recording communications between prospects and the University sent via the CRM system.  Programs will be able to develop communication plans that will send customized emails to prospective students on an automated schedule.  Finally, it will be possible to measure outcomes of recruiting methods in terms of the number of prospects who apply, who are invited to campus interviews, who are admitted and who enroll.

Recruiting Underrepresented Graduate and Professional Students

The Recruitment ToolKit presents best practices, prospective student data bases and recruitment resources that are available to University of Minnesota faculty and staff to assit them in efforst to diversify the graduate and professional student body. In addition, representative(s) of the GSDO attend National Graduate Fairs, Conferences and Symposia to speak with prospective graduate students about our summer research and graduate school programs. Please refer to our Recruitment Schedule website for a listing of our current recruitment activities.

Graduate School McNair Summer Visitation Program

The Graduate School Admissions Office and the Graduate School Diversity Office staff invites some 25 regional McNair Scholars' Programs held once a month during the summer on the Twin Cities campus. The day consists of a presentation about the process of applying for admission to graduate programs.  In addition, students meet with faculty and staff to discuss their research, and receive a staff-led tour of the campus. We encourage students to attend our annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium held in August. Our Summer 2012 McNair Visitation Program was the most successful to date; over 200 McNair Scholars from 17 regional McNair Scholars' programs attended. For more information about our McNair Scholar Resources and initiatives please refer to the McNair Scholar Resources Website.

McNair Scholars Applying to the University of Minnesota

We encourage McNair Scholars to contact our office at gsdo@umn.edu early in their graduate studies process in order to help them with their graduate school pursuits and introduce them to the appropriate program(s).  We offer application fee grants to qualifying McNair Scholars. The deadline to request and submit an application to receive the grant is December 15th; be aware that some programs may have an earlier deadline.  If your deadline is after December 15 and you need more time, students can opt to pay and submit their own application. In addition, The Graduate School of the University of Minnesota has designated at least two of its Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowships to be awarded to McNair Scholars. For more information about our McNair Scholar Resources, application fee grants and initiatives please refer to the McNair Scholar Resources Website.

National Name Exchange (NNE) Program

The University of Minnesota participates in The National Name Exchange Program (see a list of the 55 research institutions).  The institutions collect the names of their students of color who are sophomores, juniors and seniors with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 and are interested in graduate study. The institutions then share this information with each other and send application and financial information to the students. After obtaining the portal access from the GSDO, departments will be able to sort by filters (including major of interest, GPA, undergraduate institutions, ethnicity, etc.) via the internet.  We encourage programs to be proactive and contact the students to inform them of their program.  This year the total number of NNE students on the list was 7058.

The CIC FreeApp Program

"The CIC FreeApp Program" is designed to expand participation of underrepresented groups in graduate education. The Program targets prospective students who have participated in: CIC SROP, MARC, Howard Hughes, McNair, and COR programs. Through "The CIC FreeApp Program", prospective students can apply for a graduate application fee waiver or request graduate information for Ph.D. or Master of Fine Arts programs at CIC institutions. Each serving Institutions has their own specific eligibility requirements. Funds are limited at the University of Minnesota. The deadline to request and submit an application to be considered for a grant is December 15th.

Campus Community Connection Visitation Program

The GSDO staff is available to assist graduate programs with recruitment of prospective students whom programs invite for campus visits and orientations. We have found that it is important for under-represented students to know that there is a community on and off campus. The GSDO staff, for example, will inform prospective students during their campus visit about the Community of Scholars Program (COSP) and campus wide resources.

Annual Welcome Luncheon for Students

In September, underrepresented graduate students are invited to attend the Welcome Luncheon in order to meet Graduate School Staff, meet new and returning graduate students, reconnect with peers and learn more about the Community of Scholars Program (COSP).

The Community of Scholars Program (COSP)

The Community of Scholars Program (COSP) works towards creating the institutional environment required for the academic achievement of graduate students. The Program assists underrepresented students (U.S. Citizens and permanent residents) to more fully participate in the University, develop supportive relationships with advisors and mentors; build a sense of community through academic seminars and professional development workshops; and connect students to the Twin Cities community through research and civic engagement opportunities.

The DOVE Summer Institute

Prospective graduate students nominated for the Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) fellowships are candidates for participation for the DOVE Program Summer Institute. The DOVE Summer Institute is held prior to the initial fall enrollment. For ten weeks students conduct research with a faculty and attend weekly seminars focusing on topics relevant to the graduate school experience.

The Multicultural Summer Research Opportunities Program (MSROP)

Administered by GSDOMSROP is a ten-week program held on the Twin Cities campus. The program provides students from various academic and cultural backgrounds an opportunity to develop research and inquiry skills with a faculty mentor on an individual basis or as part of research team. In addition to conducting research, students also participate in weekly meetings, seminars, and a national research conference. The experience provides participants groundwork for advanced study and prepares them for graduate and professional degrees at the University of Minnesota.

The Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Annual All Campus Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium held in August is an opportunity for the University community to view research conducted during the summer by undergraduate students from across the nation who have collaborated on research projects with University of Minnesota faculty. This is an interdisciplinary event that will include a keynote presentation, luncheon and poster session.

Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Recruiting Fellowship

The Graduate School Diversity Office (GSDO) administers the DOVE Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to approximately 10 to 15 first-year students from under-represented groups (U.S. citizens or permanent residents). The fellowship provides approximately a $22,500.00 stipend, tuition at regular graduate school rates (up to 14 credits per semester), and subsidized health insurance for one academic year. Graduate programs must nominate prospective students. The nomination procedures are announced by the GSDO during the fall semester. Students who wish to be nominated should contact the Director of Graduate Studies in advance. The recipients of the DOVE Fellowship are encouraged to participate in the Community of Scholars Program (COSP). For further information please refer to the DOVE Fellowship FAQ website.

Travel Award Funds (For DOVE Fellowship Nominees)

The GSDO has limited funds - up to $400 of transportation expenses only - to assist with the expense of bringing DOVE Fellowship Nominees to campus for a visit. Request should be made before mid-March, and visit must take place no later than April 15th.  Please contact the GSDO for more information.

National GEM Consortium Member Institution

Our office works with the National GEM Consortium, one of the oldest nonprofit corporation offering technical graduate fellowships to underrepresented students. The National GEM Consortium enables outstanding students from the United States and Puerto Rico to obtain master's degrees in engineering and doctorates in engineering and the natural and physical sciences from the nation's top universities and research institutions. For more information refer to their website at www.gemfellowship.org.

UNCF Partnership

The UNCF/University of Minnesota Partnership Program is a two-pronged approach that helps feed the educational pipeline from undergraduate years through graduate school. The Program reinforces the importance of students giving back to their own communities. This partnership's emphasis ison Minnesota residents, however, students that are non-Minnesota residents are considered if their written statement demonstrates a compelling reason.  

The Partnership Program consists of:

  • The University of Minnesota Scholars Program, and 
  • The UNCF/University of Minnesota Graduate Fellow Program

For more information contact:

United Negro College Fund
Program Services Department
P.O. Box 10444
Fairfax, VA 22031


Wells Fargo Midland Building
401 2nd Avenue South
Suite 532
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Common Ground Consortium (CGC) Program

The Common Ground Consortium (CGC) is a program that develops proactive and collaborative Black intellectual leaders of education and human development whose focus is to impact and transform the university, greater communities, and world.