National Science Foundation - Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF-GRF)
The NSF-GRF is one of the nation's premiere fellowships for graduate students. Fellowships support students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the sciences, engineering, and social sciences. The three-year fellowship provides a stipend, a cost-of-education allowance, international research opportunities, internships with federal agencies, and access to supercomputing facilities.
Eligible fields of study: Chemistry, Computer & Information Science & Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology (except clinical/counseling), Social Sciences, and STEM Education & Learning Research. See full list of eligible fields in the Appendix of the Program Solicitation.
Ineligible fields of study: Joint professional degree-science programs (MD/PhD, JD/PhD, etc.), medical, dental, law, and public health programs, practice-oriented professional degree programs (MBA, MPH, MSW, JD, MD, DDS, etc.), and clinical study, including patient-oriented research or epidemiological and medical behavioral studies, outcomes research and health services research. Graduate study focused on community and other population-based medical intervention trials are also ineligible. However, research projects in bioengineering to aid persons with disabilities or to diagnose or treat human disease are eligible, provided they apply engineering principles to problems in medicine while primarily advancing engineering knowledge. See the GRF Program Solicitation for complete details on eligible and ineligible fields.
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.
- Applicants must intend to enroll or be enrolled full-time in a US research-based master's or doctoral degree program in an eligible field of study in STEM or STEM education.
- Applicants must be one of the following:
- an undergraduate senior
- a college graduate preparing to enter graduate school
- a 1st-year graduate student
- a 2nd-year graduate student
- NOTE: Graduate students are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted either in the first year OR the second year of graduate school.
- Applicants must have completed no more than one academic year of graduate study as defined by the universities attended as of the application deadline. Pre-graduate participation in summer activities (e.g., bridge programs, field studies, lab rotations) offered by a graduate program prior to the start of the fall graduate program are not included in this total. Otherwise, all post-baccalaurate, graduate study is counted towards the allowed one year of graduate study.
- Individuals who have earned any graduate or professional degree are INELIGIBLE except: 1) applicants who have completed a joint BS/MS program and have not completed any further graduate study outside of the joint program or 2) applicants who have had an interruption in graduate study of at least two consecutive years prior to the application deadline and are not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the application deadline.
- Individuals pursuing a master's degree simultaneously with the bachelor's degree (joint bachelor's-master's degree) will be limited to one application to GRFP, i.e., they will not be eligible to apply again as a doctoral degree student.
- Individuals holding joint bachelor's-master's degrees who have not previously applied as graduate students may apply as first-year doctoral students.
- The GRF provides three years of funding, which can be distributed over five years. During a funded year, a Fellow is designated as "active." During a non-funded year, the Fellow is designated as "on reserve." Fellows can choose which three years during the five to be "active."
- GRFs cannot be concurrently accepted or combined with another US government fellowship, irrespective of Fellow's GRF funding status (i.e., "on reserve" or "active").
- $37,000 stipend during each of the three "active" years.
- $12,000 cost-of-education allowance during each of the "active" years.
- Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement (3 pages).
- Graduate Research Plan Statement (2 pages).
- Three letters of reference.
Applications will be evaluated according to NSF's two evaluation criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts. Applicants should familiarize themselves thoroughly with these two criteria. To do this, read the Program Solicitation and the Helpful Resources listed below and talk with your advisor and other letter writers. Your essays should address BOTH criteria explicitly.
Applications are due at 5:00 p.m. local time, as determined by the applicant's mailing address.
- October 17, 2022: Life Sciences.
- October 18, 2022: Computer, Information Sciences, and Engineering; Materials Research; Psychology; Social Sciences; STEM Education and Learning.
- October 20, 2022: Engineering.
- October 21, 2022: Chemistry; Geosciences; Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy.
- NSF-GRF FAQs - New and extended FAQ listing by NSF Program Directors.
- NSF Fellowship Advice, by Alex Lang (features many samples proposals).
- Video: Tips for a Winning NSF-GRF Application, by UIUC alum Ritu Raman.
- Where Storytelling Meets Science, by Lesley McCollum and Michelle Lavery.
- Advice for NSF-GRF Applicants, by Mallory P. Ladd (features many sample proposals).
- Helping Students to Tell Their Stories (general advice on personal statements) - by James M. Lang.
- Leave Dr. Seuss Out of It (general advice on personal statements).
- See additional materials on our Proposal Writing Resources page.
RESOURCES FOR UIUC STUDENTS: The Graduate College's Office of External Fellowships offers the following services for NSF-GRF applicants:
- Summer Writing Lab (June-July 2022).
- Collection of sample proposals.
- Information Session (held in early September and announced in GradLinks).
- One-on-One Proposal Advising.
GRFP Operations Center
Office of External Fellowships
Categories: Annual stipend of at least $10,000; Social Sciences; Sciences/Engineering/Math; US Citizens, Nationals, or Permanent Residents; Master's; Early Years of Doctoral Program; Fellowship/Grant; Unrestricted
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