Deans' and Chancellor's Award Guidelines

The Deans and Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz wish to recognize excellence in research and creativity among undergraduate students as evidenced through projects and theses performed in the normal pattern of academic activity at UCSC. Click here to see a listing of previous winning projects.

The online application for the 2024 Deans' and Chancellor's Undergraduate Awards is open. Please read the application guidelines below and apply by clicking the Apply Here link at the bottom of this page.

Prior to starting an application, contact your project mentor to confirm that they are willing to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. 

All 2024 applications must be completed and submitted online by FridayMarch 29, 2024All graduating Dean's and Chancellor's winners will be recognized in the commencement program during UC Santa Cruz's graduation ceremonies.

To see the 2023 award winners, click here.




Dean's Awards are granted to fifty of the most excellent undergraduate research theses or projects (ten from each academic division) completed at UCSC during the academic year. Each Dean's award project will receive $100 for outstanding achievement in their division. Winners of the Dean's awards will be announced by the end of April 2024. 

Up to fifteen Chancellor’s Awards are given to the top theses or projects from each division's Deans' Awardees. Each Chancellor's Award project will recieve a $500 award. Winners of the Chancellor's awards will be announced by the beginning of May 2024. 


The Steck Award is given to the most outstanding research project chosen from the fifteen Chancellor’s Awardees. This student (or team) will receive (or share) an award of $2,000 and the winner's mentor will receive an award of $1,000. In addition, the winning research project will be bound and copies given to the student(s), the research supervisor, the UC Santa Cruz Library, and the Steck Family whose generous contributions have made this award possible.

The Steck Award winner will be announced by the end of Student Acheivement Week - early June 2024.

Winners of the Deans', Chancellor's and Steck awards will be honored during Undergraduate Student Achievement Week. The names of the 2024 winners will be posted on the DCA Awards site and graduating winners will be acknowledged at the 2024 UCSC commencement ceremonies.

Click here to see the two 2023 Steck Award winners, Joseph Cruz and lavender higley. In 2023, the Steck committee decided that two students each had outstanding projects that deserved to be recognized as best research projects. 


  1. All research project submissions must include at least one letter of recommmendation by a faculty mentor/sponsor. Once the student submits their application, a seperate email to the listed letter writer will be sent automatically containing the link for them to upload the letter of recommendation.
  2. All applicants must contact their mentor/sponsor before submitting their application in order to confirm that a letter of support will be possible.
  3. All applicants must sign up for direct deposit through their MyUCSC student portal. Instructions to sign up for dirtect deposit are here.
  4. All applications must include a Description/Abstract of their research project.
  5. All applications must include either an attachment of a completed thesis or completed project or performance (by URL). Research projects must be finished when the application is submitted. Projects that are still in progress, or are planned to be completed after the application deadline, should be submitted in the following application cycle. Submitted applications that are incomplete, or do not have a project attachment or link, or are projects that are not yet completed, will be rejected.
  6. The applicant should choose the one faculty mentor/sponsor of their project who is most familiar with the project and who will be able to provide the strongest letter of recommendation. Only one letter of recommendation is required. Mentors should be UCSC faculty/lecturers/post-docs/researchers etc that have a CruzID.
  7. For group projects, only one student in the group (usually the lead in the project) completes an application. They then must list the other students as project students. Each project member must approve of the application that is submitted. 
  8. When the faculty mentor/sponsor submits their letter of recommendation, they must also approve the submitted project. As soon as the student submits their application a seperate email to the designated letter writer will be generated automatically containing the link to upload the letter of recommendation as a pdf. The deadline for letters and approvals is a few days after the student application deadline. It is strongly recommended that the letter writer complete their recommendation as soon as possible after being contacted by the student.
  9. Foreign language projects must be accompanied by appropriate translation.
  10. Technical papers must include an abstract in non-technical language.
  11. Projects completed in spring 2023 (and therefore not submitted in last year’s competition) are eligible for the 2024 awards competition, even if the student has already graduated. 
  12. Previous award winners are only eligible to submit projects in the current application cycle if those projects are significantly different in scope or topic from the previously awarded project.


Application requires use of your CruzID Gold password

Please contact if you have any questions regarding the application or the application guidelines