Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship


The Pathways to the Doctorate represents a partnership between OGAPS and TAMU faculty members.  The goals of the Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship program are to recruit into and graduate from TAMU doctoral programs high quality and diverse students who received their baccalaureate degrees from Texas A&M System institutions and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 
Programmatic outcomes associated with these goals are:

  • Create potential future faculty for Texas Higher Education institutions,
  • Build institutional links and pipelines, and
  • Increase diversity at the Texas A&M University.

TAMU Faculty will mentor Pathways to the Doctorate students in:

  • Gaining authentic research experiences,
  • Developing a capacity of critical problem solving,
  • Establishing relationships with research professionals,
  • Developing leadership skills to manage diverse teams, and
  • Improving their curriculum vitae.

Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowships are awarded by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies to qualified doctoral students mentored by faculty partners in the Program.  The following text describes: (a) the numbers and types of faculty partnerships, (b) Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship benefits, (c) faculty and fellow requirements, (e) sources of supplemental funding to augment Pathways to the Doctorate activities, (f) recruitment tactics of Pathways to the Doctorate eligible fellows, (g) TAMU System Graduate Faculty information, and (h) the application process.

A. Faculty Partnerships

The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies seeks Texas A&M University (TAMU) faculty members of faculty teams to partner in the Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship program.  As partners, faculty must be committed to providing high-quality and diverse doctoral students with the support, effective mentorship, training and experiences necessary to transform graduates into highly sought after candidates for competitive postdoctoral positions or faculty at Texas Higher Education institutions.  Faculty may partner in the Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowships program through the following options.

  1. Faculty Teams might be organized around a common research area or goal (e.g., faculty teams supported by a training grant, an Initial University Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives (IUMRI), etc.) or within an academic department or interdisciplinary degree or research program.

  2. Individual members of the TAMU faculty with a commitment to recruiting, supporting, and mentoring high quality, diverse graduates of Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) undergraduate programs into TAMU doctoral programs. 

The Energy and Sustainability Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (E&S AGEP) project is a TAMU-led alliance of TAMUS institutions that supports underrepresented minority students working to complete their doctorates in energy and sustainability and/or STEM related fields; subsequently transitioning to competitive postdoctoral and/or faculty positions.  This National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate operates to reduce the student’s average time to degree, to increase the probability of successful completion of their doctorate, provide the preparation necessary to successfully compete for postdoctoral and faculty positions, and foster alliance-wide research and teaching collaborations (additional details on the E&S AGEP can be found at http://tamus-agep.tamu.edu/).  Therefore, TAMU faculty members and faculty teams in STEM disciplines are expected to collaborate with the E&S AGEP.  Also, all Pathways to the Doctorate fellows who meet the eligibility requirements for inclusion in the AGEP project will be expected to participate in the E&S AGEP project. Finally, all Pathways to the Doctorate Fellows and their faculty advisor will be required to maintain an Individual Development Plan (an example here).

B. Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship Benefits

OGAPS Funding of each Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship award includes a one-year stipend of $21,600 and reimbursement for the cost of personal health insurance coverage up to $1,896 for the first year. The award will also include $10,000 (9 graduate hours fall and spring and 6 graduate hours in summer) for tuition and fees for the student’s first year. Funding is contingent on the student fulfilling all requirements associated with the Pathways to the Doctorate Program, in making satisfactory progress toward completion of their PhD, and maintaining employment by the faculty member/department associated with the award. 
Faculty/Department Funding of each Pathways to the Doctorate Fellow is required for years 2 through 4.  Team or individual faculty must commit to providing the fellows support for these subsequent years through a graduate assistantship or other sufficient financial contributions.  If a Pathways to the Doctorate Fellow remains in good standing and the faculty member or team is unable to meet their financial assistance obligations to the student, then the student’s home department or IDP shall assume the responsibility for meeting the outstanding financial obligations.
Tuition for Pathways to the Doctorate Fellows funded by graduate assistantships in years 2 through 4 will be paid from the by the host department or IDP (from the Ph.D. tuition pool) if the fellow is supported by a departmental GAT or GAR; whereas OGAPS will pay the tuition if the fellow is supported on a faculty-funded GAR.  

C. Pathways Faculty Requirements

The expectation of the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) is that the individual faculty member or faculty team will closely mentor, develop a community, and guide the graduate students, specifically monitoring and encouraging them in their fellowship and academic program.  Examples of outcomes of this mentoring relationship might be the writing of a grant proposal to fund the students’ research in succeeding years or assisting the student in achieving the Senior Fellow Certificate from the Graduate Teaching Academy.
Faculty or Team awardees must file an annual report of progress with the Associate Provost of Graduate and Professional Students by March 1 of each year.  If an individual faculty or faculty team is not successful as a Pathways to the Doctorate partner (e.g., unable to successfully recruit student, students are not progressing, GPA’s are low, students are leaving the program, mentoring is not recorded or beneficial to student) within 3 years of creation of the partnership, then the partnership may be terminated at the discretion of the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies. Individual faculty or representatives of the faculty teams actively mentoring Pathways to the Doctorate Fellows will be required to attend Pathways to the Doctorate activities.

D.Pathways to the Doctorate Fellow Requirements

The fellowship requires fellows to be in a doctoral program and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the first year, and 3.25 in subsequent years.  Should a fellow fall below the required minimum, they will be given a one semester probationary period. Fellows must be enrolled full-time (9 hours in the fall and spring semesters, 6 hours in the summer) at Texas A&M – College Station to receive their fellowship stipend and their payment toward tuition and fees.  Summer enrollment requirements are based on the fellow’s stipend selection (9- or 12-month payout).
Fellows are expected to work collaboratively with their research advisor and other members of their advisory committee.  Pathways to the Doctorate fellows are required to present a poster at the TAMUS Pathways Research Symposium at least once during the two years of their OGAPS support, adhere to all OGAPS reporting requirements, and attend educational and social events organized by OGAPS for Fellows and AGEP students, until completion of their doctoral degree.
Fellows who desire to change their departmental association, degree objective, major advisor, and/or type of degree, must first contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

E. Recruitment of Pathways to the Doctorate Fellows

OGAPS will actively recruit Pathways to the Doctorate eligible doctoral candidates for evaluation by the Pathways to the Doctorate teams and individual faculty.  In addition, at various times in the Fall and early Spring semesters, OGAPS will provide Pathways to the Doctorate teams and individual faculty the names and contact information of Pathways to the Doctorate eligible students who have applied to or been admitted by his/her graduate program.  Pathways to the Doctorate faculty and teams shall recommend acceptable candidates to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies who will award Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowships to the prospective TAMU doctoral students who meet program requirements.   OGAPS will work to coordinate the delivery of a single award package to the student that will detail the Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship together with the faculty/department plan for the types and amounts of financial assistance to be provided to the student for years 2 through 5 of their doctoral program.

F. Supplemental Funding

The Pathways to the Doctorate Program has set aside a pool of funds to support Pathways to the Doctorate faculty partner activities to build relationships with TAMUS institutions and mentoring activities of Pathways to the Doctorate fellows.  Examples of allowable expenses include travel costs for: (i) a TAMU faculty member to visit a TAMUS campus, (ii) a TAMUS faculty visit to TAMU, or (iii) a prospective Pathways to the Doctorate Candidate for a TAMU campus visit.  Individual faculty or faculty teams may submit these funding requests no later than 6 weeks (but not before 4 months) before the activity is to occur. 
The major advisor to a Pathways to the Doctorate fellow will be eligible to request up to $2,000 to enhance student success (e.g., enriched mentoring activities, travel support for the fellow to present their research at a research conference).

G. TAMU System Graduate Faculty

Pathways to the Doctorate faculty may wish to become members of the TAMUS Graduate Faculty as a means of developing pipelines for students to flow from TAMUS institutions to TAMU-College Station or to facilitate the formation of multi-institutional graduate advisory committees encouraged by the E&S AGEP project (with some types of direct funding available from this project requiring multi-institutional graduate advisory committees).  The Texas A&M University System has established a System Graduate Faculty which enables and facilitates the collaborative research and teaching among faculty members of the nine universities and the Health Science Center within the System. By acquiring status through the System Graduate Faculty, a member of the Texas A&M University System Graduate Faculty may teach graduate courses and serve as member or co-chair (but not as chair) with a member of the Texas A&M University Graduate Faculty. These individuals will be automatically granted Associate Member status on the Texas A&M University Graduate Faculty. 

H. Application Process

TAMU faculty or faculty teams should submit nominations materials by February 7 to George Cunningham, gbcunningham@tamu.edu. Nominations should include:

  1. Faculty Member or Faculty Team Information (Name, Department of IDP, and contact information).
  2. Student Information (TAMUS undergraduate institution; UIN; PhD program into which the applicant has been admitted; confirmation of status as US citizen or permanent resident)
  3. Rationale for the Fellowship: How the student contributes to the Fellowship goals to “to recruit into and graduate from TAMU doctoral programs high quality and diverse students who received their baccalaureate degrees from Texas A&M System institutions and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”
  4. Mentorship plan to ensure the student’s success throughout the PhD program.
  5. Completion of Financial Support Form (see attached)