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Office of the Vice President for Research

Opportunities for Students

Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award

The Breakthrough "family" of awards are presented each year by the Office of the Vice President for Research to recognize outstanding researchers and scholars at the University of South Carolina. The Breakthrough Graduate Scholars award honors our outstanding graduate-student researchers.

Breakthrough Awards have been paused for 2023-2024

The Breakthrough award process is temporarily on hold. The Office of the Vice President for Research is reexamining the program structure during this cycle.


The Office of the Vice President for Research's Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award recognizes exceptional graduate students who demonstrate excellence in the classroom, and make considerable contributions to research and scholarly activities in their field. We honor approximately one dozen exceptional graduate students with this award each spring.

The call for Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award nominations is distributed each year in the fall semester. All graduate students are eligible for nomination by their graduate program directors. Each graduate program director may nominate only one exceptional graduate student per year for the Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award.

Nominees should demonstrate excellence in the classroom and make considerable contributions to research and scholarly activities in their field. Examples of award-worthy activity include obtaining fellowships and awards, presenting at national and international conferences, creating performances or exhibitions, publishing papers or book chapters.

Nominations are submitted through an award nomination system based on the university's sponsored award administration system, USCeRA, which is a familiar interface for most faculty members.

2023 Breakthrough Graduate Scholars Nomination Materials


Breakthrough Graduate Scholars Nomination Notes

  • Breakthrough Graduate Scholar nominations may only be submitted by the graduate director for the nominee’s department or program. Graduate Scholar nominations submitted by anyone other than the nominee’s graduate director will not be accepted or reviewed.
  • Each department or program may submit only one Graduate Scholar nomination. Departments or programs that submit more than one nomination will be asked to select only one nominee.
  • Refer to the Breakthrough Awards Nomination Submission Guide (pdf) for details on how to submit a 2023 Breakthrough Scholars nomination. 


The below guidelines and forms are from the fall 2022-2023 Breakthrough Star Awards nomination cycle. This documentation is subject to change from year to year.

Submit nominations here.

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