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Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Awards

Arts and Humanities
Social Science
Full Year
2 or More Years


NOTE:  The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced in August 2014 that its Graduate Arts Program has been discontinued and had selected its final cohort of fellows last spring.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Awards enable current students or recent graduates with exceptional promise and significant demonstrated financial need to pursue up to three years of study at an accredited graduate institution in the U.S. or abroad.  Students in the performing arts, visual arts, and creative writing are eligible to apply. 

Individual award amounts vary according to several factors, including the education costs at a recipient’s graduate institution and the amount of other grants and scholarships he or she may be receiving.  Individual awards can be as much as $50,000 annually for three years.

To be eligible to compete for the Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Awards, a candidate must

  • be a current college senior at or have graduated (within the past five years) from an accredited college or university in the U.S.,
  • plan to pursue a graduate degree in the performing arts, visual arts, or creative writing,
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or better on a four-point scale,
  • plan to begin his or her first graduate degree program in the coming fall,
  • have unmet financial need,
  • not have been previously nominated for the award.

Phase I of the application is open to all eligible candidates and includes a short application form and portfolio submission directly to the Jack Kent Cook Foundation in late November.  The Foundation will select a subset of these candidates to apply in Phase II, which includes a longer application form and letters of recommendation.  Selected Phase I candidates will be invited to compete in Phase II in early January, and their home campuses will administer screening procedures to identify no more than two of these candidates and nominate them for the national competition.

University nomination:  Columbia University may nominate a total of two eligible candidates for consideration each year, from among those candidates the Foundation considers viable based in an initial screening phase.  Current seniors in and recent graduates of Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies are eligible.  Please note:  the internal campus competition ultimately places students into consideration for nomination.  Students must apply directly to the Foundation for Phase I of the competition, but may not apply directly to the Foundation in Phase II of the competition.

Meet Columbia's most recent Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award winner:  Stephen Jackson ’13GS