National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The National Science Foundation offers approximately 900 graduate fellowships each year, including additional awards for women in engineering and computer and information science. Fellowships provide three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master's or doctoral degrees in science, mathematics and engineering supported by the NSF. The Fellowships are intended for students in the early stages of their graduate study.

Fellowships are awarded for graduate study in fields supported by the NSF, including the mathematical, physical, biological, behavioral and social sciences; engineering; the history of science and the philosophy of science; and for research-based PhD degrees in science education. In most cases, an individual has three opportunities to apply: during the senior year of college, prior to or during the first year of graduate school, and at the beginning of the second year of graduate school.


  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or national, or permanent resident.
  • Applicant must be a graduating senior; have completed a B.S./B.A. degree in a STEM field; or in their first year or the first semester of their second year in graduate school.
  • Applicant must be pursuing a research-based master's or doctoral degree at an accredited US institution in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields supported by NSF.


All applicants are required to use NSF's FastLane Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) process. Applications consist of:

  • Application form
  • Personal statement
  • Previous Research Experience essay
  • Proposed Plan of Research
  • Three reference letters
  • Academic transcripts

Competitive NSF applications will have a highly-focused plan of research and study specific to an institution with strength in the appropriate sub-fields. Applicants should work with mentors at Rutgers to prepare their application and are encouraged to consult with those they might work with at their proposed graduate program.


Application materials should be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 p.m. in the applicant's local time zone according to the following schedule (dependent on proposed field of study):

  • November TBD, 2018 - Engineering fields
  • November TBD, 2018 - Mathematical Sciences; CISE; Chemistry; Physics and Astronomy; Materials Research
  • November TDB, 2018 - Social Sciences; Psychology; Geosciences; STEM Education and Learning
  • November TBD, 2018 - Life Sciences


Arthur D. Casciato, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Distinguished Fellowships
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey