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Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholars Program

The Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program provides funding to enable current CSU students to explore whether graduate school is right for them and to prepare those who are certain they want to pursue a PhD program in their chosen field of study.

Sally Casanova Scholar recipients receive a $3,000 stipend plus a funded summer research experience for Scholars who are not enrolled in a PhD program by fall 2021.

  • Scholars may apply the $3,000 stipend to a number of educational and professional expenses. For example, students may visit U.S. doctoral-granting institutions and/or to attend professional meetings appropriate to the student's development. Similarly, students may use the stipend for other related activities, such as student membership in professional organizations, subscriptions to academic journals, graduate school applications and test fees, or GRE test preparation.
  • Scholars complete a summer research experience at a University of California campus or other U.S. major research university, fully funded by the Pre-Doctoral Program, so that the scholar can participate in doctoral-level research prior to applying to a Ph.D. program.

Who Can Apply

  • Applicants must be upper-division or master's degree students who are enrolled at a CSU institution and will be enrolled at a CSU campus for at least one semester in the academic year.
  • Applicants are required to have a faculty sponsor who will be available during the academic year to help them implement a plan that will prepare them for admission to a doctoral program. The plan should be tailored to the specific needs and career objectives of the student.
  • The successful applicant must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or a DACA recipient.

Submission Process

To apply to the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars program, students must complete the three steps below. 

  1. Submit a draft of your three application essays Graduate Writing Specialist ( by January 31, 2020. You will receive emailed feedback from the Graduate Writing Specialist by February 10, 2020.
  2. Submit paper application materials to the CSULB Campus Coordinator ( by the internal CSULB deadline of February 21, 2020.  Once your application is approved by the Campus Coordinator, you will receive access to submit it online to the Office of the Chancellor.
  3. Submit application materials online to the Office of the Chancellor no later than February 28, 2020. Faculty sponsor letter of support must be submitted by February 28th; faculty sponsor must submit letter themselves online. 

Important Dates

  • January 31, 2020: Internal CSULB deadline; students submit essays to the Graduate Writing Specialist ( for feedback
  • February 10, 2020: Applicants receive feedback from the Graduate Writing Specialist
  • February 21, 2020: Completed paper application materials must be submitted to the CSULB Campus Coordinator ( for internal CSULB deadline
  • February 28, 2020: Applications due via the online CSU site (using access code provided by Campus Coordinator); Faculty sponsor letter of support deadline.
  • Mid-March, 2020: Applicants are informed of the status of their application (accepted for review or declined)
  • March/April 2020: Applications are reviewed and scored
  • May 2020: Eligibility of potential scholars are verified
  • June 2020: Applicants who are selected as Sally Casanova Scholars and Honorable Mentions are identified

Meet Our Pre-Doc Scholars