Scholarships and Awards

Piggy bank wearing a mortarboard

 The Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences offers a variety of scholarships and funding sources for undergraduate and graduate students. 

The Harm de Blij Scholar Award | $1,000 per semester | Deadline 09-30-23
Instituted in 2013 by Harm de Blij and supported by other major donors to award scholarships to promising incoming students who choose to major in Geography at Michigan State University. de Blij Scholars will be awarded $1000 each Fall/Spring semester that they are a primary major in one of the Department’s degree programs. Applicants must have fewer than 56 earned credits at the time of application.

Owen Gregg Endowment for Global Climate Change Research | $1,000 | Deadline 03-01-23
Established in 2012 to support global climate change science research in the MSU Department of Geography. Environmental Geography Majors (with a minimum GPA (all courses) of 3.0) and graduate students in MSU’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences who have completed coursework that pertains to climate change and related topics (climatology, meteorology, physical geography, and political geography). are eligible to apply. 

James Potchen Awards in Geography for Graduate and Undergraduate Students | $1,000 each | Deadline 03-01-23
These are the highest student awards given out by the Department of Geography, Environment, & Spatial Sciences, and come with considerable honor. Winners have their names engraved on a plaque that is displayed permanently in the Department. The award is in honor of Dr. E. James Potchen, University Distinguished Professor, Radiology Chairman Emeritus, Professor of Management in the College of Business, Professor of Lyman Briggs College, and Professor of Physiology at Michigan State University. 

Students must actively be completing a degree program offered by the Department. Winners of these awards must have demonstrated excellence in scholarship, as evidenced by grade point average, rigorous coursework, and (for the graduate award) successful involvement in research, as indicated in their application and as supported by recommendation letter(s) from faculty. Additional, but important, criteria include timely progress within the degree program, as well as leadership in, and service to, the Department. Students who have earned this recognition will have shown remarkable professionalism and leadership skills in activities within both the Department and the campus community. They are seen as positive role models for the Department and its many students, faculty and alumni. They will have advocated for geography when interacting with university officials, policymakers, and campus organizations.

Dr. Harold A. “Duke” Winters Memorial Fellowship | $500 | Deadline 03-01-23
The Dr. Harold A. “Duke” Winters Memorial Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding student at the Junior level, majoring in Environmental Geography. Dr. Winters was a leader in physical geography and geomorphology, with a special interest in the depositional landforms associated with continental glaciation. Environmental Geography majors at the Junior level (56 or more earned credits) with a minimum GPA (all courses) of 3.0 are eligible. 

Marjorie and Lawrence Sommers Geography Graduate Fellowship for International Research & Travel | $1,500 | Deadline 03-01-23
The Marjorie and Lawrence Sommers Graduate Fellowship for International Research and Travel annually provides financial support to a graduate student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences who will conduct international research within the next 12 months. A high degree of
academic excellence is expected in the work of the M.S. or Ph.D. student who receives this Fellowship. This fellowship honors the contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Sommers, who for several decades advanced the study of geography worldwide and supported MSU’s international programs.

M.S., and Ph.D. students in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at MSU who conduct their thesis/dissertation research outside of the United States are eligible. 

Michael A. Graff Dissertation Completion Award | $2,000 | Deadline 03-01-23
Graduate students at the Ph.D. level in Geography who have successfully defended their proposals are eligible to apply for this award. The award is meant to provide financial support towards completion of their dissertation research.

Daniel Jacobson Memorial Scholarship in Cultural Geography | $500 | Deadline 03-01-23
The Daniel Jacobson Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student at the Junior level, majoring in Human Geography or Economic Geography, and especially interested in the cultural geographies of Native Americans, other marginalized groups, and geography education. Human Geography or Economic Geography major at the Junior level (56 or more earned credits), with a minimum GPA (all courses) of 3.0 are eligible for this award. 

Jay R. Harman Undergraduate Scholarship in Geography
To support undergraduate study in Geography at MSU.

Geography at MSU Fund
Established in 2001 to promote the MSU Department of Geography, including related advertising, fundraising, travel, and similar expenses.

Geography Literacy Fund
To promote the field of Geography to students.

Geography Field Experience Fund
Established in 2001 to fund student field experiences, including field trips, primary data collection, course-related field experience, and transportation and lodging expenses.

GTU/Geography Endowment Fund
Established in 1999 by Robert and Dorothy Thomas to fund geography-related student activities.

Ian Matley Memorial Fund
Established to bring guest speakers to campus to enrich the geographic education of students and faculty.