National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Funding for 3-year graduate study (master’s or doctorate) in STEM field at any accredited institution in the U.S.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) aims to ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the U.S. by providing funding for outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM fields. It is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind and supports future leaders and contributors to the scientific community. The GRFP provides funding for 3 years in support of graduate education for individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. The fellowship provides a $34,000 annual stipend for 3 years, $12,000 annually for tuition and fees that is awarded to the graduate institution.


  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or a permanent resident
  • Be in an eligible program at an accredited U.S. graduate institution with a U.S. campus, by fall following selection
  • Intend to pursue a research-based master’s or PhD program in a GRFP-supported field:
    • Chemistry
    • Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering
    • Engineering
    • Geosciences
    • Life Sciences
    • Materials Research
    • Mathematical Sciences
    • Physics and Astronomy
    • Psychology
    • Social Sciences
    • STEM Education and Learning Research
  • Be at an early stage in your graduate career
  • Have completed no more than one academic year of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent)
  • Graduate students are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted either in the first year or in the second year of graduate school
  • Have never earned a doctoral or terminal degree in any field
  • Have never earned a master’s or professional degree in any field or completed more than one academic year in a graduate degree-granting program, unless (i) returning to graduate study after an interruption of two or more consecutive years immediately preceding the application deadline, and; (ii) not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the application deadline


  • ~2,000 per year

Selection Criteria:

  • Intellectual merit
    • The potential to advance knowledge
  • Broader impacts
    • The potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes
  • Creativity/originality in proposed activity
  • Proposed activity plan that is well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on sound rationale
  • Ability of the individual, team or organization to conduct the proposed activities
  • Adequate resources available to the PI to carry out the proposed activities

Application Material:

  • NSF GRFP Application
  • 2-5 letters of reference
  • Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement
  • Graduate Research Plan Statement


External deadline: Dependent on area of study:

October 19, 2020: Life Science

October 20, 2020: Computer and Information Science and Engineering,

Materials Research, Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM

Education and Learning

October 21, 2020: Engineering

October 22, 2020: Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and


NOTE: Applications are due at 5 pm local time, as determined by the applicant’s mailing address


For NSF GRFP Fellowship Writing Workshops:




Early July/Early August: Application opens

October 2020: National application deadline. Deadline dependent on area of


October 30, 2020 by 2 pm MST: Application deadline for reference letters

Early April: Notification of selection

May 1, 2021: Deadline to accept fellowship

Length of Scholarship: 3 years

Scholarship Website:

Contact Information:

Tony Butterfield:

(801) 699-1969