The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing or intend to pursue research-based graduate degrees at accredited United States institutions. This fellowship provides students with three years of financial support including a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance. 

National Deadline

Typically in mid- to late October. Deadline varies based on your discipline.  

Institutional Nomination

This scholarship does not require institutional nomination. Candidates are encouraged to work with Fellowships Advising on their application. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, an applicant must meet all of the following eligibility criteria by the application deadline: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident 

  • Intend to enroll or be enrolled in a research-based master’s or doctoral degree program in an eligible Field of Study in STEM or STEM education 

  • Have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program 

  • 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 (in short, current graduate students can typically apply in their first OR second year of graduate study. See the program solicitation for more information, and when in doubt, consult with Fellowships Advising.) 

See the Program Solicitation for more information on eligibility. 

Number of Times an Individual May Apply

  • Undergraduate seniors and bachelor's degree holders who have never enrolled in a graduate degree program have no restrictions on the number of times they can apply before enrolling in a degree-granting graduate program. 

  • Graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted in the first year or beginning of the second year of their degree program.

  • See the Program Solicitation for more information on how many times an individual in a joint-degree program may apply. 

Application Instructions and Resources

  • Applicants apply directly through 

  • The application includes biographical information, a personal statement, a proposed graduate research plan, and three letters of recommendation from faculty in their proposed field of study and/or research supervisors.  As you ask for letters, be sure to include this link to NSF-GRFP advice to letter writers. You should not simply select three people who will say the same thing. Instead, you are encouraged to select references who can comment on different aspects of your qualifications for the fellowship. The GRFP application allows you to list up to five reference writers; the three highest-priority reference letters that are submitted will be included in the application package for review. Seeking four or five references gives you a fallback if one of your top three references is unable to submit a letter for some reason. Ask for reference letters early, you will want to give your reference writers time to write compelling letters. 

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to work closely with their PI or faculty in their own department, particularly for the Research Statement. Fellowships Advising is helpful for the Personal Statement.   

Resources for Applicants


Campus Contact

Barbara Gorka

Director, Scholar Development and Fellowships Advising

Phone: 215-204-0708