UTSA Supports Mexican PhD Hopefuls with Fellowship Opportunities

University of Texas at San Antonio
Latin America
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By Matt Killorin
Published on March 20, 2024

The ConTex program offers up to five years of support for doctoral candidates at The University of Texas.

University of Texas at San Antonio

Two Mexican female PhD candidates at The University of Texas at San Antonio work with a microscope in a UTSA lab while their professor looks on.

For the ConTex fellowship program hosted at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), it’s the calm before the admissions portal opens. Soon, Dr. Guadalupe Carmona and the ConTex team will be contending with a flurry of applications from Mexican PhD candidates with plans to continue their studies in the United States.

“ConTex is an educational initiative between UT [The University of Texas System] and Conahcyt in Mexico — which is the equivalent to the National Science Foundation in the United States,” said Dr. Carmona, executive director of ConTex and STEM professor at UTSA. “We provide funding for doctoral students from Mexico who want to come to the US to one of the 14 institutions in the UT System, and we can provide a scholarship for up to five years.”

More than 100 students have benefitted from the ConTex program since 2017, with close to three dozen program graduates and doctoral degrees awarded from The University of Texas System with support from Conahcyt. In addition, over seven years, UT and Conahcyt have committed more than $20 million to program grants and scholarships.

Learn more about scholarships for international students >

“Through the fellowship agreement, students pay the in-state tuition rate, which is less than half of what an international student usually pays,” said Dr. Carmona. “And not fully, but we do provide support for health insurance through Conahcyt, [as well as] a monthly stipend for 48 months that then extends through ConTex for another 12 months [or] up to 60 months.”

Doctoral students in the ConTex program study a wide range of subjects, and fellowship offerings span every discipline across the UT institution framework. For example, Janeth Alexandra García Monge is studying for her PhD in physics from UTSA, while Raphael Iván Reyes Juárez is pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of Texas at El Paso. Since 2017, 13 students have chosen to continue their studies at UTSA in several disciplines, including:

“April 15th is a critical date for all students trying to get admitted into US universities, because it’s the date when they should accept admissions to a graduate program,” said Dr. Carmona. “If students register with ConTex first, then we can give them guidance so that their application to Conahcyt is successful.”

Dr. Carmona recommends perspective students visit the ConTex website for application instructions, but the basic protocol for applying starts with registration.

UTSA Carnegie Classification Draws Doctoral Candidates from Texas, Mexico, & Beyond

Business and STEM programming at UTSA, including areas taught by Dr. Carmona, have recently received recognition for research and impact within the greater San Antonio area. In 2023, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) awarded UTSA the Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) designation for demonstrating the university’s $2.5 billion impact on the San Antonio region.

“In addition to the APLU award, which is national recognition at the institutional level for research with a global impact, we also like to highlight the achievements of our students and researchers, and those who do a great job with the collaborative grants,” said Dr. Carmona.

Of the 61 ConTex fellowship awardees profiled in ConTex Conversations, nine students study at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

UTSA Is Dedicated to Student Research Success

UTSA spent more than $152 million on research in FY 2023 on projects ranging from brain health to manufacturing cyber security and is one of only three Tier One universities to hold three National Centers of Academic Excellence from the National Security Agency. UTSA is also recognized for its international student support, as one of 10 Tier One universities to have the Seal of Excelencia for Latino student success.

Research-based doctoral students in the ConTex program and all other international students attending UTSA have access to one of the highest-ranked research institutions in the United States. A designated Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education R1 university, UTSA is among the nation’s top 4% of research universities.

“It’s competitive, there are a lot of Mexican students interested, and this is a way for them to get funding,” said Dr. Carmona. “These are students in all areas of expertise with unique perspectives. Every month we feature one student who talks about their experiences as a Mexican student in Texas.”

Learn more about Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) >

ConTex’s dedication to celebrating student researcher success is found in the online profiles of international students, as well as in ConTexere, a bilingual publication profiling student work through stories of research and collaboration.

Support for International Students Starts Before Campus Arrival

The ConTex program is specific to students with Mexican citizenship, but UTSA support for all international students can begin before they arrive on campus. Students who apply to The University of Texas at San Antonio through Shorelight benefit from admissions and visa application support services, as well as career development programs.

Once on campus at UTSA, students can access academic, language, and social support systems designed specifically for international students away from home for the first time. These programs, clubs, and events are geared toward generating friendship and comfort in the United States, as well as fostering academic success.

Undergraduate and graduate-level International Pathways Programs help non-native-speaking English students transition to their new classrooms with personalized attention and support. Other on-campus services help students with everything from health insurance to legal status in the US after graduation.

Students also have a dedicated career center and services team to help them make forward-looking decisions and find professional development opportunities — including internships, CPT, and OPT with major global corporations and research institutes — while studying at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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