Koo Fellowship

The Dr. C.F. Koo and Cecilia Koo Chair Fellowships for Outstanding Graduate Students in East Asian Studies

Purpose and Description

The Dr. C.F. Koo and Cecilia Koo Chair endowment was established in 2008 at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Koo was a distinguished business leader and statesman who led the Taiwan-based Pan-Asian Group, and who served as senior advisor to successive presidents of Taiwan. As Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, he also helped to arrange the first direct talks between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

The Koo Chair supports the research of a distinguished faculty chairholder with research interests in East Asia whose research and teaching will contribute to the achievement of global peace and understanding. It also provides funding for currently enrolled graduate students.

The Dr. C.F. Koo and Cecilia Koo Fellowships in East Asian Studies have been established at Berkeley's Institute of East Asian Studies to honor outstanding graduate students in East Asian studies, as demonstrated by their academic record and by the submission of an original research paper. Students must first be nominated by a Berkeley faculty member, then will be invited to submit applications. For 2024, two fellowships of $10,000 will be awarded.

Eligibility and Criteria

Students (both MA and PhD) in any field of East Asian studies (defined as a focus on China, Japan, Korea and Inner Asia) who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at UC Berkeley and who will file their dissertations no earlier than December 2024 are eligible for nomination. Undergraduates and those who have already received a PhD degree are not eligible. In making the awards, the faculty review committee will consider the students' overall success within the graduate program as documented by supporting materials, and their research skills as demonstrated by an outstanding, original research paper. Papers submitted for consideration must be unpublished, can be on any subject in East Asian studies, and may be in the form of theses, seminar papers, dissertation chapters or unpublished manuscripts. Papers must make use of primary sources in an East Asian language.


The Koo Fellowships are announced in late spring annually. Winners each receive an award of $10,000, which may be taken as a stipend, or applied, at the recipients' discretion, to (non-taxable) fees or research support.

Application Procedures 

There are two stages to the application process.

Stage 1: Each Berkeley faculty member in East Asian studies may nominate ONE student. Nominations in the form of a letter of recommendation should be submitted to IEAS by Friday, March 1, 2024 at 5 pm. Nominations must be emailed to Dylan Davis, IEAS Associate Director, at davisds@berkeley.edu..

Stage 2: Nominated students will then be invited by IEAS to submit the following materials by Monday, April 1, 2024

  1. Application Cover Sheet (to be emailed to nominated students).
  2. A current Transcript (unofficial "BearFacts" copies OK) from UC Berkeley.
  3. A candidate Statement (two pages or less) containing a précis of the paper plus information about how it fits into the student's overall career trajectory.
  4. A second Letter of Recommendation, emailed separately to IEAS by a faculty member with knowledge of the student's overall performance within the program. One of the two letters of support must be from the student's major advisor. Emailed recommendations go to davisds@berkeley.edu..
  5. A curriculum vitae.
  6. A PDF or Word version of an original research paper in East Asian studies, written within the last 12 months. The main text of the paper preferably should not exceed 40 pages (double-spaced), with additional pages allowed for citations, bibliography, etc. Papers are to be written in English, but must demonstrate use of primary source documents in an East Asian language.

Materials must be submitted in PDF or WORD FORMAT ONLY, preferably in a single file that will be easily forwarded to review committee members. Materials go to Dylan Davis at davisds@berkeley.edu. Materials submitted by postal mail or hand-delivered — as well as those received late — will not be accepted.

The fellowship recipients may be invited to participate in future academic events honoring the donors.

Please contact Dylan Davis at davisds@berkeley.edu with any questions you may have about the Dr. C.F. Koo and Cecilia Koo Chair Fellowships in East Asian Studies.