Per award (Fellowship), pending the availability of funds.
Each Fellowship provides three years of support over a five-year fellowship period. For each of the three years of support, NSF provides a $37,000 stipend and $12,000 cost of education allowance to the graduate degree-granting institution of higher education for each Fellow who uses the support in a fellowship year. The Fellowship award is made to the institution of higher education at which a Fellow is enrolled and the institution is responsible for disbursement of the stipend to the Fellow.
Estimated number of awards description
The NSF expects to award 2,750 Graduate Research Fellowships per fiscal year under this program solicitation pending availability of funds.
Eligibility is based on the applicant's status at the application deadline. Detailed Eligibility Requirements: Described in detail below are the eligibility requirements for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program:
Applicants must be United States citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States by the application deadline. The term "national" designates a native resident of a commonwealth or territory of the United States. It does not refer to a citizen of another country who has applied for United States citizenship and who has not received U.S. citizenship by the application deadline.
(2) Degree requirements
Applicants are eligible to apply: 1) as undergraduates or Bachelor's degree holders who have never enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program, and who will be prepared to attend graduate school in fall of the award year; or 2) as graduate students who have not completed more than one academic year of a graduate program in an eligible field of study (see Appendix).
Below are detailed guidelines to determine eligibility:
a) Applicants not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program:
With no prior graduate degree program enrollment
Undergraduate students on track to receive a Bachelor's degree by the fall of the year following the application (e.g., senior or final year of Bachelor's degree)
Bachelor's degree holders never enrolled in a graduate degree program can apply an unlimited number of times prior to enrolling in a graduate degree program. They must be prepared to enroll in a full-time graduate degree program by fall of the year they are offered a Graduate Research Fellowship.
With prior enrollment in a graduate degree program
Applicants must not have completed more than one academic year of graduate study as indicated in the academic transcript issued by the Registrar of the universities attended as of the application deadline (see exception below).
Applicants re-entering graduate study: applicants who have completed more than one academic year of graduate study or earned a previous Master's or professional degree are eligible only if they have had an interruption in graduate study of at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the application deadline, and are not enrolled in a graduate program at the deadline. Applicants must not have engaged in any graduate coursework during the interruption. Applicants should address the reasons for the interruption in graduate study in the Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement.
b) Applicants pursuing a Master's degree concurrently with a Bachelor's degree (joint Bachelor's-Master's degree program in which both degrees are awarded at the same time as indicated on the transcript):
Individuals applying while enrolled in a joint Bachelor's-Master's degree program are considered graduate students, who: 1) must have completed three years in the joint program, and; ii) are limited to one application to GRFP; they will not be eligible to apply again as doctoral students.
Individuals holding joint Bachelor's-Master's degrees, currently enrolled as first-year doctoral students, who have not previously applied as graduate students and enrolled in the doctoral program the semester following award of the joint degree, may only apply in the first year of the doctoral program.
Individuals holding joint Bachelor's-Master's degrees who did not progress directly to a doctoral program the semester following award of the joint degree must apply as returning graduate students (see above).
c) Applicants currently enrolled in a graduate degree program:
Applicants must not have completed more than one academic year of graduate study as indicated in the academic transcript issued by the Registrar of the universities attended, as of the application deadline.
Participation in pre-graduate summer activities PRIOR TO graduate status as indicated in the academic transcript issued by the Registrar before the start of the fall graduate program is not included in this total. Graduate status is understood to begin on the date indicated on the Registrar-issued transcript and ALL activities after that date will be considered graduate activities.
Graduate coursework taken without being enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program is not counted in this limit.
3. Field of Study, Degree Programs, and Proposed Research
Fellowships are awarded for graduate study leading to research-based Master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education, in eligible Fields of Study listed in the Appendix. If awarded, Fellows must enroll in a graduate degree program consistent with the Major Field of Study proposed in their application.
Only research-based Master's and doctoral degrees in STEM or STEM education are eligible for GRFP support. Professional degree programs and graduate programs that are primarily course-based with no thesis are ineligible for GRFP support.
Within eligible fields of study, there are ineligible areas of study and ineligible areas of proposed research. See below for ineligible areas of study and proposed research.
Applications determined to be ineligible will not be reviewed.
a) Ineligible degree programs
Individuals are not eligible to apply if they will be enrolled in a practice-oriented professional degree program such as medical, dental, law, and public health degrees at any time during the fellowship. Ineligible degree programs include, but are not limited to, MBA, MPH, MSW, JD, MD, DVM and DDS. Joint or combined professional degree-science programs (e.g., MD/PhD or JD/PhD) and dual professional degree-science programs are also not eligible. Individuals enrolled in a graduate degree program while on a leave of absence from a professional degree program or professional degree-graduate degree joint program are not eligible.
b) Ineligible areas of study
Individuals are not eligible to apply if they will be enrolled in graduate study focused on clinical practice, counseling, social work, patient-oriented research, epidemiological and medical behavioral studies, outcomes research, and health services research. Ineligible study includes pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic, and behavioral interventions for disease or disorder prevention, prophylaxis, diagnosis, therapy, or treatment. Research to provide evidence leading to a scientific basis for consideration of a change in health policy or standard of care is not eligible. Graduate study focused on community, public, or global health, or other population-based research including medical intervention trials is also not eligible.
c) Ineligible proposed research
Individuals are not eligible to apply if they will conduct research for which the goals are directly human disease- or healthrelated, including the etiology, diagnosis, and/or treatment of physical or mental disease, disorder, abnormality, or malfunction. Research activities using animal models of disease, for developing or testing of drugs or other procedures for treatment of disease or disorder are not eligible. Research focused on basic questions in plant pathology are eligible, however, applied studies focused on maximizing production in agricultural plants or impacts on food safety, are not eligible.
d) Limited exceptions to ineligible proposed research
Certain areas of bioengineering research directed at medical use are eligible. These include research projects in bioengineering to aid persons with disabilities, or to diagnose or treat human disease or disorder, provided they apply engineering principles to problems in medicine while primarily advancing engineering knowledge. Applicants planning to study and conduct research in these areas of bioengineering should select biomedical engineering as the field of study. Certain areas of materials research directed at development of materials for use in biological or biomedical systems are eligible, provided they are focused on furthering fundamental materials research.
APPLICATION PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
Fellowship applications must be submitted online using the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application Module at https://www.research.gov/grfp/Login.do according to the deadline corresponding with the Field of Study selected in the application.
Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. local time as determined by the applicant’s mailing address provided in the application. Applications received after the Field of Study deadline will not be reviewed.
All reference letters must be submitted online by the reference writers through the GRFP Application Module (https://www.research.gov/grfp/Login.do ) and must be received by the reference letter deadline (see Application Preparation and Submission Instructions/C. Due Dates of this Solicitation), of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Applicants are required to provide the name and contact information for three (3) reference writers. Up to five (5) potential reference letter writers can be provided. Two reference letters (from non-family members) must be received by the reference letter deadline applications to be reviewed. If fewer than two reference letters (one or none) are received by the reference letter deadline, the application will not be reviewed.
Applicants must submit the following information through the GRFP Application Module: Personal Information; Education, Work and Other Experience; Transcript PDFs; Proposed Field(s) of Study; Proposed Graduate Study and Graduate School Information; the names and email addresses of at least three reference letter writers; Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement PDF; and Graduate Research Plan Statement PDF.
Only the information required in the GRFP Application Module will be reviewed. No additional items or information will be accepted or reviewed. Do not provide links to web pages within the application, except as part of citations in the References Cited section. Images must be included in the page limits. Review of the application and reference letters is based solely on materials received by the application and reference letter deadlines. No materials will be accepted via email.
Applicants must follow the instructions in the GRFP Application Module for completing each section of the application. The statements must be written using the following guidelines:
standard 8.5" x 11" page size
11 point or higher font, except text that is part of an image
Times New Roman font for all text, Cambria Math font for equations, Symbol font for non-alphabetic characters (it is recommended that equations and symbols be inserted as an image)
1" margins on all sides, no text inside 1" margins (no header, footer, name, or page number)
No less than single-spacing (approximately 6 lines per inch)
Do not use line spacing options such as “exactly 11 point,” that are less than single spaced
PDF file format only
Compliance with these guidelines will be automatically checked by the GRFP Application Module. Documents that are not compliant will not be accepted by the GRFP Application Module. Applicants are strongly encouraged to proofread and upload their documents early to ensure they are format-compliant and that non-compliant documents do not delay upload of the complete application for receipt by the deadline. Applications that are not compliant with these format requirements will not be reviewed.
The maximum length of the Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement is three (3) pages (PDF). The maximum length of the Graduate Research Plan Statement is two (2) pages (PDF). These page limits include all references, citations, charts, figures, images, and lists of publications and presentations. Applicants must certify that the two statements (Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement, and Graduate Research Plan Statement) in the application are their own original work. As explained in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG): “NSF expects strict adherence to the rules of proper scholarship and attribution. The responsibility for proper scholarship and attribution rests with the authors of a proposal; all parts of the proposal should be prepared with equal care for this concern. Authors other than the PI (or any co-PI) should be named and acknowledged. Serious failure to adhere to such standards can result in findings of research misconduct. NSF policies and rules on research misconduct are discussed in the PAPPG, as well as 45 CFR Part 689."
Both statements must address NSF’s review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts (described in detail in Section VI). Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts must be addressed individually under separate headings in both Personal and Research Plan statements to provide reviewers with the information necessary to evaluate the application with respect to both Criteria. Applications in which Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts are not 8 addressed separately under separate headings will not be reviewed.
In the application, applicants must list their undergraduate institution, and all graduate institutions attended with a start date prior to the fall term in which the application is submitted. Transcripts are required for all degree-granting programs listed. Transcripts may be included for all other institutions listed in the Education section. If the applicant started at the current institution in the fall of the application year and the institution does not provide unofficial or official transcripts prior to completion of the first term, the applicant may submit a class schedule/enrollment verification form in place of a transcript. At least one transcript must be included for the application to be accepted by the GRFP Application Module.
Transcripts must be uploaded through the GRFP Application Module by the Field of Study application deadline. Applicants should redact personally-identifiable information (date of birth, individual Social Security Numbers, personal financial information, home addresses, home telephone numbers and personal email addresses) from the transcripts before uploading. Transcripts must be uploaded as a PDF to be accepted by the GRFP Application Module. Transcripts must not be encrypted; the GRFP Application Module does not accept encrypted or password-protected transcripts.
Applicants who earned master’s degrees in joint bachelor's-master’s degree programs should submit transcripts that clearly document the joint program. If the transcript does not document the joint program, applicants must upload a letter from the registrar of the institution certifying enrollment in a joint program, appended to the transcript for that institution. Failure to provide clear documentation of a joint program may result in an application being returned without review.
Failure to comply fully with the above requirements will result in the application not being reviewed.
Applications that are incomplete due to missing required transcripts and/or reference letters (fewer than two letters received), or that do not have "received" status in the Application Module on the application deadline for the selected Field of Study) will not be reviewed. Applicants are advised to submit applications early to avoid unanticipated delays on the deadline dates.
Applicants are required to provide the name and contact information for three (3) reference writers. Up to five (5) potential reference letter writers can be provided. Two reference letters from non-family members must be received by the reference letter deadline for an application to be reviewed. If fewer than two reference letters (one or none) are received by the reference letter deadline, the application will not be reviewed.
All reference letters must be received in the GRFP Application Module by 5:00 p.m. ET (Eastern Time) on the letter submission deadline date (see the deadline posted in GRFP Application Module and in Application Preparation and Submission Instructions/C. Due Dates of this Solicitation). No exceptions to the reference letter submission deadline will be granted. Each letter is limited to two (2) pages (PDF). The GRFP Application Module allows applicants to request up to five (5) reference letters and to rank those reference letters in order of preference for review. If more than three reference letters are received, the top three letters according to ranked preference will be considered for the application. Reference writers will be notified by an email of the request to submit a letter of reference on behalf of an applicant. Reference writers will not be notified of the ranked preference for review provided by the applicant.
To avoid disqualifying an application, reference writers should upload the letter well in advance of the 5:00 p.m. ET deadline. No letters will be accepted via email. Letter writers will receive a confirmation email after successful upload via the GRFP Application Module.
For technical assistance with letter upload: NSF Help Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-800-381-1532
Applicants must enter an email address for each reference writer into the GRFP Application Module. An exact email address is crucial to matching the reference writer and the applicant in the GRFP Application Module. Applicants should ask reference writers well in advance of the reference writer deadline, and it is recommended they provide copies of their application materials to the writers.
Applicant-nominated reference writers must upload their letters through the GRFP Application Module. Reference letter requirements include:
Institutional (or professional) letterhead, if available
Signed, including the name, professional title of the reference writer, department, and institution
Two (2) page limit (PDF file format)
Standard 8.5" x 11" page size
11-point or higher Times New Roman font and 1" margins on all sides
Single spaced using normal (100%) single-line spacing
The reference letter should address the NSF Merit Review Criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts (described in detail below). It should include details explaining the nature of the relationship to the applicant (including research advisor role), comments on the applicant's potential for contributing to a globallyengaged United States science and engineering workforce, statements about the applicant's academic potential and prior research experiences, statements about the applicant's proposed research, and any other information to aid review panels in evaluating the application according to the NSF Merit Review Criteria.
Application Completion Status
Applicants should use the "Application Completion Status" feature in the GRFP Application Module to ensure all application materials, including reference letters, have been received by NSF before the deadlines. For technical support, call the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or e-mail email@example.com.
NSF welcomes applications for interdisciplinary programs of study and research; however, data on interdisciplinary study is collected for informational purposes only. Interdisciplinary research is defined as "a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice" (Committee on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 2004. Facilitating interdisciplinary research. National Academies. Washington: National Academy Press, p. 2). Applications must be received by the deadline for the first Major Field of Study designated in the application. Applications will be reviewed by experts in the first Major Field of Study listed. If awarded, Fellows will be required to enroll in a degree program consistent with the Major Field of Study in which the application was funded.
The Graduate Research Fellowship Operations Center is responsible for responding to questions about the program. For questions concerning eligibility and fields of study, contact the Graduate Research Fellowship Operations Center, (866) 673-4737, international (202) 331-3542, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An eligible applicant may submit only one application per annual competition.
There is additional eligibility information. Please see solicitation for details.