The Udall Scholarship seeks to find and support undergraduate students from any ethnic group who demonstrate a commitment to improving or preserving the environment and to Native American undergraduates committed to a career in health care or tribal public policy.

Program Information

Students who...

  • Are current sophomores or juniors and have at least a 3.0 GPA...
  • Have a strong record of leadership and public service outside of the classroom...
  • Are committed to pursuing a career related to the environment...

...should strongly consider applying for a Udall Scholarship.

Award Amount

Udall Scholarships provide up to $7,000 in undergraduate scholarship support to U.S. sophomores and juniors.


To be eligible for the Udall Scholarship, students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be committed to a career related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. (*)
  • Be a full-time sophomore or junior-level student, pursuing a bachelor's or associate's degree during the year of application.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident.

Students pursuing environmentally related careers do not need to be Native American, nor do they need to demonstrate commitment to tribal public policy or Native health.

* To apply for the Udall Scholarship in the fields of Tribal Public Policy or Native American health care (only Native Americans and Alaska Natives are eligible to apply in tribal public policy or Native American health care). Native American students studying tribal public policy or native health do not need to demonstrate commitment to the environment. For the purposes of the Scholarship Program, a Native American or Alaska Native is any individual who is:

  • A member of an Indian tribe or band, as membership is defined by the tribe or band, including any tribe or band terminated since 1940 and any tribe recognized by the state in which the tribe or band resides;
  • A descendant in first or second degree of a member of an Indian tribe or band, as membership is defined by the tribe or band, who can demonstrate affiliation with the tribal community according to criteria set by the Foundation;
  • Considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose; An Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native.

Native American and Alaska Native students in tribal public policy or health care must submit copies of relevant enrollment forms or descent documentation.

What Makes a Good Udall Application?

The Udall Foundation provides application advice for all students interested in applying for a Udall Scholarship. In addition, email UVM's Office of Fellowship, Opportunities, & Undergraduate Research to receive advice on constructing a strong application or copies of sample Udall essays.

Application Procedure

Students interested in competing in the Udall Scholarship competition must participate in the campus application process. The application is due to the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research at noon on the day of the internal deadline (as listed on the Fellowships page) and is available online. All application materials, including transcripts, essays and letters of recommendation must be uploaded into the Udall Scholarship application form. To register for a Udall application, email the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research.

After the Application is Submitted

The University of Vermont Fellowships Committee may nominate up to six UVM Students to participate in the national competition. These students will have time to revise their proposals before the national deadline in March.

In early April, the Udall Foundation announces the names of Udall Scholars and Honorable Mentions.

Tips for Letter of Recommendation Writers

The Udall Scholarship exists to support the next generation of leaders in fields related to the environment and conservation. Up to 75 Udall Scholarships are awarded nationally each year to sophomores and juniors who are planning to pursue a career as a leader in these fields including (but not limited to) policy, science, activism, eco-design, urban design, engineering, health and education. If awarded a Udall Scholarship, a student will receive a $7,000 undergraduate scholarship, the opportunity to travel to Arizona for the annual Udall Scholars Orientation, and access to the Udall Scholars alumni listserv, which includes many current environmental professionals. It is a prestigious award; it opens doors to incredible academic opportunities, other fellowships, scholarships, graduate school acceptance and job opportunities. The University of Vermont can nominate up to six students each year for a Udall Scholarship.

The national Udall committee refers to four principle categories to evaluate each applicant:

  1. The student's commitment to improving or preserving the environment.
  2. The student's personal characteristics - the criteria include demonstrated leadership, community service, well roundedness, and references;
  3. The student's academic achievements;
  4. The student's application essay discussing a speech given by Mo Udall.

Your letter will play a central role in helping the committee evaluate the student's personal characteristics, and you have the opportunity to help convince them that the student is a person who has taken the initiative to be a leader and is someone who is genuinely committed to working toward making the world a safer, less wasteful and more environmentally friendly place. So when you sit down to write your letter, we have a few tips for you to keep in mind:

Make the Case for Excellence: The student will have ample space in his/her application to discuss his/her leadership experience, his/her commitment to improving or preserving the environment, and his/her academic achievements. Your letter can add depth to these experiences, so focus on how you've seen the student stand out among his/her peers, be it as a scholar, leader, or as someone committed to the environment. Also feel free to offer a personal perspective on the student's activities and character. That said, avoid being vague, and avoid statements such as, "X Student turned in assignments on time" or "X Student had perfect attendance in my class" (True, these are important qualities, but when articulating excellence these should go without saying).

Confirm and Validate the Student's Leadership Experiences and Career Goals: Be sure to comment on the student's sincere commitment as well as ability to continue going forward in a career related to the environment or conservation. Be sure to address the student's potential to make a significant and compelling impact as a leader in their field (think: broader impacts).

Speak to Your Audience: There are three things you need to know about the people who will be reading Udall applications at the national level: 1) The backgrounds of committee members vary widely: A former Udall reader noted that committee members ranged " . . . from professors of environmental policy and science, EPA officials, directors of scholarships and Honors programs, to representatives of Native American interests." 2) Readers have an overwhelming number of Udall applications they need to read; on average readers have about 10-15 minutes to spend on each application. 3) Readers will be quickly seeking to understand the significance of a student's leadership experience as well as their career goals.

So for Udall recommendation letters it's important to 1) get to the point, and 2) be brief. Letters that are around one page single spaced are appropriate for this competition.

Finally, some administrative details:

  1. All letters need to be printed on letterhead, signed and e-mailed to as a PDF. Students are responsible for collecting letters and making sure they get to the Fellowships Office. If students are collecting their letters from you in person please give it to them in a signed and sealed envelope. If the student is abroad you can send your letters through campus mail to me. Please drop me a note if you're sending your letter this way so I know to keep an eye out for it.
  2. Letters can be addressed to: Udall Scholarship Selection Committee.
  3. The deadline for students to submit their Udall applications is in late January, but students may need their references before then to complete their applications. Touch base with the student if you're uncertain about any deadlines.

Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research
50 University Heights North, Suite 017
Burlington, VT 05405
Phone: (802) 656-4658