The Howard Roepke Undergraduate Scholarships

Professor Howard Roepke was a Geography faculty member from 1955-1985, and his estate provided a generous gift to the University of Illinois Foundation to support Geography and GIScience undergraduate majors. The deadline for Spring 2020 Roepke Scholarships is TBD February 2020 .
Please note that you are only eligible for one Roepke Scholarship per academic year.

Four different financial awards are available to our undergraduate majors:

Freshman/Sophomore: Roepke Academic Scholarship | Application

Freshmen and sophomore GGIS majors can apply for an academic scholarship of up to $1,000.

Junior/Senior: Roepke Research Opportunity | Application

Junior and Senior GGIS majors can apply for a scholarship of up to $2,500, to aid in conducting research with a GGIS faculty member, based on their research interests.

GGIS undergraduate majors have the unique opportunity to work as part of a faculty member's research team, where they can learn to identify significant research questions, develop hypotheses, collect primary data, perform appropriate data analysis though the use of statistical and mathematical methods, and use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology when needed. As part of a research team, GGIS juniors and seniors awarded the Roepke Research Opportunity will aid in the collection and analysis of data, and assist faculty with the writing of papers and manuscripts.

Research Opportunities may be planned for one or two semesters or for 2-3 months during the summer. The number of hours a student works will depend on the student's course load, the nature of the research project, and the type of work to be performed. Research Opportunities during the academic year will not exceed 10 hours per week.

Please feel free to explore our faculty's research interests, and then speak directly a faculty member about their research. Then, collaborate with the faculty member to write a one page letter to the Undergraduate Committee describing how your research aligns with the designated faculty member's research, and outlining the your specific research duties and goals. This letter should be included in your application.

Research Opportunities do not carry academic credit; however, credit can be earned if you enroll in GEOG 391 in a subsequent term, and carry out your own research project based on the Roepke Scholarship experience. In such cases, a Plan of Study agreement outlining the nature of the work to be performed, the anticipated end result or product, and the amount of independent study credit to be earned should be developed and signed by the faculty member and student. The extent to which the Plan of Study is fulfilled will serve as the basis for assigning a grade for GEOG 391.

GEOG 391 - Plan of Study Agreement

All Levels: Roepke Study Abroad Opportunity | Application

GGIS undergraduate majors who intend to apply for either Study Abroad or Courses Abroad may also apply for a Roepke Study Abroad Scholarship. Opportunities also exist for supplemental funding for unpaid internships; please contact our undergraduate advisor for more information,

Criteria for Roepke Scholarship Selection

Students must have declared Geography and Geographic Information Science as their major. Undergraduate Scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis. The GGIS Undergraduate Committee, composed of three GGIS faculty members, will select recipients for these awards. Criteria for selection will be based on academic performance and relevance of the required essay. Also, Research Opportunities requiring specific analytical or technical skills may also limit selection to qualified students. Financial awards will be deposited directly into students' accounts.
Students are only eligible for one Roepke Scholarship per academic year.

Examples of Successful Student Research

  • A Roepke Research scholar traveled to the Pacific Northwest to help Prof. Piotr Cienciala establish a new field research site.
  • A student assisted Dr. Sara McLafferty in identifying “health care deserts,” neighborhoods where different types of health care services (doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc.) are in short supply, with the overall goal of analyzing healthcare accessibility within the city of Chicago.
  • An Earth, Society and Environment student worked with Professor Tom Bassett to investigate and map hunger throughout the world, which contributed to publication of the Atlas of World Hunger (University of Chicago Press, 2010). A Physical Geography student worked with Professor Bruce Rhoads on the analysis of stream flow characteristics of streams in Illinois and their influence on flood regimes.

For further information, please email or our main office,

General Scholarships Available to Geography Majors


Organization | Scholarship



American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Ta Liang Memorial Award (travel) $1,500 Dec. 1
Kenneth J. Osborn Memorial Scholarship $2,000 Dec. 1
Abraham Anson Memorial Scholarship $1,000 Dec. 1
John O. Behrens ILI Memorial Scholarship $1,000 Dec. 1
Francis H. Moffitt Memorial Scholarship $3,000 Dec. 1
Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships $2,500-$10K late fall
Cartography and Geographic Information Society Annual Map Design Competition $500 late Jan.
Garden Club of America Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship $2,000 Feb. 10
Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Truman Scholars <$15,000 Feb. 2
Illinois Lakes Management Association Robert Esser Student Advancement Scholarship $500/$1,000 Dec. 31
Morris and Stewart Udall Foundation $5,000 Mar. 2
National Environmental Health Association $1,000 Feb. 1
U of I YMCA Fred S. Bailey Scholarship $5,000 Apr. 16