National Science Foundation Graduate 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 and are intended for students in the early stages of their graduate study. offering approximately 900 graduate fellowships each year, including awards for women in engineering study.
Eligibility and Qualifications
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.
application instructions. A list of supported fields of study is at the end of the document.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S.
Application Procedures and Selection Criteria
All applicants are required to use NSF’s FastLane Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) process. Applications consist of:
- Information Form
- Application Form
- Proposed Plan of Research Form
- Previous Research Experience Form
- Recommendations and transcripts
GRE general and subject tests are no longer required but still highly recommend. NSF will pay the subject test registration fee for those who so request. Be sure to check dates. Scores will be reported only for NSF, to applicants, and to applicants’ undergraduate institutions. The general test is optional.
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 Penn and — ideally — consult with those they may work with at their proposed graduate program.
There is no internal Penn process for the NSF, but potential applicants are encouraged to let CURF know when applying and seek help during the application process.
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 1: Interdisciplinary Fields of Study
- November 2: Mathematical Sciences and Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering
- November 6: Social Sciences, Psychology, and Geosciences
- November 7: Life Sciences
- November 8: Engineering
- November 9: Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy
Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships