Department of Physics

Scholarships and Awards

The Physics Department at the University of Northern Iowa offers the personalized atmosphere of a private liberal arts college with the opportunities of an affordable public institution. Physics students enjoy small class sizes and wide-ranging research opportunities, all in a state-of-the-art physics building. Additionally, the University of Northern Iowa has a large number of scholarships for new and returning students. Search for scholarships here and then apply using the UNI Scholarship Application by January 15. Apply for as many scholarships as you are qualified to increase your chances of success.

Scholarships for New Freshmen include:

Scholarships Awarded on Admission to UNI

Distinguished Scholar Award

  • Renewable for four years with a college GPA of 2.5 or above
  • $1,000, $1500, $3000 or $3,500
  • Must be Iowa resident and new graduate from an Iowa high school
  • $3500/yr., minimum high school 3.8 GPA and 29 ACT (SAT 1330).
  • $3000/yr., minimum high school 3.5 GPA and 25 ACT (SAT 1200).
  • $1500/yr., minimum high school 3.3 GPA and 23 ACT (SAT 1140).
  • $1000/yr., minimum high school 3.5 GPA and 20-22 ACT (SAT 1030-1100).

Scholarships for Which an Application is Required

Apply on-line from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website at “UNI Scholarship Application.” Make sure you apply! 

Physics Scholarships

Jourdan Scholarship For Excellence in Physics provides approximately $4,000 per year for 2 years to incoming physics students.

Butterworth Physics Scholarship provides $2,000 per year for one year to incoming physics students. 

Jourdan Scholar-Mentor Physics Scholarship provides $3,000 per year for two years to incoming physics students.

Dostal Physics Scholarship provides $1,500 per year for one year or two years to incoming physics students.

McKay Scholarship  provides approximately $1,300 per year for 2 years to incoming physics students.

Selection Timeline: UNI Scholarship Application due January 15. Contact the Physics Department (215 Begeman, 319-273-2420) if you have questions. Make sure you check “Physics” on your online scholarship application—otherwise your application might not arrive at the Physics Department.

Presidential Scholarships

The awards are $4000 per year for 4 years ($16,000 total).

Application Criteria

  • ACT composite of 29 or above (SAT-CR&M of 1280 or above) and top 10% high school class rank
  • or RAI of 335 or above

Selection Timeline

January 15

Applications must be submitted using the UNI Scholarship Application.

February 1

Finalists for Presidential Scholarships will be invited for a campus interview

March 1

Presidential Scholarships awards will be announced.

Other Scholarships include:

College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences Scholarships

College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences (CHAS) scholarships and awards are available to both incoming UNI students (first-year and transfer students) and current UNI students.

Grossman-Perrine Scholarship

The Grossman-Perrine Scholarship honors Dr. J. O. Perrine, a former UNI physics professor, and Mr. Eugene Grossman, a physics student from Delmar, Iowa, who studied with Dr. Perrine. Declared undergraduate physics majors at all levels are eligible for this scholarship. For more information, contact the Physics Department ( or 319-273-2420).

Physics Alumni Scholarship

The recipient of this $500-$1500 award must be a declared major in the Department of Physics who has achieved academic excellence in his or her major. Nominations and selection of the recipient are conducted by the Physics faculty in April.

Robert E. Allender Physics Teaching Scholarship ($1000 / 1 year)

Open to students with a Physics Teaching major. Minimum of 30 credit hours in a declared teaching major. Apply by January 15 using the online UNIversity Scholarship Application.

Other Scholarships Include Special Case Scholarships

Dorothy Muzzey Scholarship-Loan Program

The recipient must be a declared major in Physics or Chemistry and must have completed 60 credit hours at UNI. The criteria for the award are: (i) financial need; (ii) scholarly achievement; and (iii) potential for success in the major field. The maximum amount available is $1,500 with an interest rate of 5%. Repayment begins 90 days after graduation.

Research Fellowships

Undergraduate research is an essential component of the major programs in the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. To encourage and sustain the involvement of undergraduate students in research activities, several research fellowships are awarded each year. The fellowships provide stipends for students who will conduct research for ten weeks during the summer period, under the supervision of a Physics faculty member. Departmental applications are available each year in February. The recipients are selected by the Physics Department Scholarships and Awards Committee and notified in late March. Several fellowships are awarded each year and paid a stipend of $4,000.