GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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GRFP Overview

The basics

student in lab coat

The GRFP is a prestigious, nationally competitive fellowship offered by the National Science Foundation. It provides three years of financial support for beginning graduate study leading to a research-based degree in the STEM disciplines.

Financial support

The fellowship includes a $32,000-per-year stipend for three years. Additionally, each fellow's graduate institution receives a $12,000 annual cost-of-education allowance that covers tuition and fees during the fellowship period. After one year of graduate study, Fellows become eligible to apply for international research funding support through Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW).

Eligibility requirements*

*Always refer to the NSF-GRFP Solicitation for official eligibility information.

  1. Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen, national, or a permanent US resident by the application deadline.
  2. Degree requirement: Individuals are typically eligible to apply during the senior year of college, or after graduating from college and prior to entering graduate school, or during the first year of graduate school, or prior to completing the Fall term of the second year of graduate school. Not eligible: Those who have earned a graduate or professional degree (exception may be a joint BS/MS program).
  3. Field of study (disciplines): Biological sciences, computer sciences, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, information science, social sciences, life sciences, mathematics, materials research, psychology, physics and astronomy, or STEM education and learning. Interdisciplinary research is also possible. Not eligible: professional practice degrees - see details in the GRFP solicitation.

Award cycle

The GRFP competition generally opens in August with deadlines in early November. Awards are announced the following spring. Fellows must commence graduate study in the summer or fall after accepting the award. About 2,000 fellowships will be offered pending availability of funds.

Special Note

Whereas the National Science Foundation awards grants to investigators to fund their research, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program funds students who are training to become well-rounded researchers. It's a fine distinction, but an important one.

Social network discussions
Advice from Fellows

Having this award on your record shows that you are capable of thinking beyond the average student and are able to do great research.

Melonie Williams

'07 Fellow, Psychology

Vanderbilt University

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Updated July 7, 2014 | Site content and handouts created by Robin G. Walker, PhD
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