California Predoctoral Program


The California Predoctoral Program is designed to increase the diversity of California State University students who will continue their studies at the doctoral level and be eligible for faculty positions. A special emphasis will be placed on increasing the number of CSU students who enter graduate programs at one of the University of California institutions.

Each of the applicants selected will be designated a Sally Casanova Predoctoral Scholar and will work closely with a California State University faculty sponsor to develop an overall plan which leads ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program. Each of these plans will be tailored to the specific goals and career objectives of the student.

In addition, the program provides:

  • Travel funds for the student and faculty sponsor to visit U.S. Ph.D.-granting institutions and also for them to attend a professional meeting appropriate to the student's development
  • Opportunity to apply for a fully funded Summer Internship for the student to participate in doctoral level research
  • Funds for other related activities, such as membership in professional organizations, special research costs, and graduate school application and test fees

Click here to access the application to the 2017-18 California Predoctoral Program. Directions for online scholarship application processing will be available here shortly.

Interested students should submit their application to the Dean of Graduate Education, Richard Savage (Building 52, Room E47), by February 1.

Selected scholars will be notified in June each year.

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General Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The students selected as Sally Casanova Predoctoral Scholars must be upper division or master’s degree students who are enrolled at a CSU institution as of Spring quarter and who will be enrolled at a CSU campus for at least two terms of the following academic year.

Applicants will be selected on the basis of three major criteria:

  1. Potential for success in completing a doctoral program
  2. Probable effectiveness of the student/faculty plan
  3. Degree of underrepresentation in the national pool of doctoral recipients in the area of study proposed by the applicant. (e.g. African Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Latinas, and students with disabilities are underrepresented in most disciplines; women are underrepresented in agricultural sciences, computer and information science, engineering and physical sciences; men are underrepresented in nursing and home economics.)

All applicants must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application. Current or previous Predoctoral Scholars are not eligible to apply. Each applicant must have a faculty sponsor who will be available for the duration of the plan specified in the application. The program is designed for students interested in obtaining doctoral degrees. Students interested in entering professional schools to obtain professional degrees in law, medicine, dentistry, or related fields are not eligible.

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Tips for Successful Completion

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  • ACADEMIC RECORD – indicators suggest that admission to and success in a doctoral program are likely.
  • ACADEMIC EXPERIENCES – student had sufficient preparation for doctoral study, including theoretical sophistication and research experience.
  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS – of sufficient quality for success in a doctoral program.
  • FACULTY CAREER – student has interest in and potential for a faculty career, and willingness to teach a diverse student body.
  • LETTER FROM THE SPONSOR – indicates realistic confidence in the student and a willingness to provide necessary mentoring.
  • PLAN, BUDGET, AND TIMELINE – realistic and appropriate.


  • Long, rambling essays that are usually off topic.
  • Essays don't demonstrate necessary experience in areas of research, community service, diversity, interest in teaching, etc.
  • Research interests are described too generally or not described at all.
  • Applicants' education and experience do not match the discipline they want to pursue in doctoral studies.
  • Poor writing skills (i.e. grammar, syntax, spelling errors, etc.).
  • Applications are incomplete and may be missing statements, faculty signatures, faculty recommendation letters, transcripts, budget, etc.
  • Low GPAs that are not explained by faculty mentor.
  • Activity plan and budget don't correlate; budget exceeds $3,000; inappropriate activities/expenditures such as international travel or purchase of major computer hardware.
  • Applicants do not meet qualifications to apply (must be junior, senior, master's degree student at time of application and award).
  • Overkill on the 'poor me' syndrome.
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