National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

UCI (Big 10 Pre-Application) Optional Advising Deadline:

April 8, 2019 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time (U.S. & all other countries of citizenship) for Fall 2020 admissions

Access the Big 10 Pre-Application between late February – early April annually to begin the optional advising process.

For Reference Only: 2019 Application Process Overview

A fellowship for three years of graduate study in the sciences or in engineering leading to master’s or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and most social sciences, and in the history and philosophy of science. Recipients may attend graduate programs in the United States.

Awards are also made for work toward a research-based Ph.D. in science education that requires a science competence comparable to that for Ph.D. candidates in those disciplines. (Awards are not made in clinical or business fields, in other education programs of any kind, in history or social work, for work leading to medical, dental, law, or public health degrees, or for study in joint science-professional degree programs.)

Awards are made by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency. A complete list of fields supported by the Program is available online.

Who is Eligible
United States citizens or nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. These fellowships are intended for students at or near the beginning of their graduate study in science or engineering. Most applicants are seniors, first-year graduate students, and others who have completed a limited amount of science or engineering graduate study.

For the Graduate Fellowship Program, applicants may not have more than 12 months of full-time graduate study in the science and engineering fields supported by the Program.

Please note that external scholarship agencies will consider all of your credit-bearing coursework from any college or institution as part of the review process (including CSU, community colleges, private colleges or other UC campuses/Extension programs, and including units earned while in high school). Grades from other colleges will be included in calculation of your overall GPA for eligibility purposes.

UCI graduate students: contact the Graduate Resource Center for advising.

Selection Procedure
Evaluation is based on academic records and recommendations. Each application is evaluated by a panel of research faculty in a discipline closely related to the science or engineering field of the applicant’s proposed advanced degree program. Reviewers will evaluate the way candidates’ written statements demonstrate their intellectual merit and the broader impacts of their study/research.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the NSF Fastlane Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application Module according to the Field of Study deadline. If you would like feedback on your essays prior to submitting your application directly to NSF, please send your drafts to and by Monday, October 2nd at noon. You will receive feedback by mid-October.

The application comprises: Personal Profile, Education and Work Experience, Planned Graduate Program, Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement, Graduate Research Plan Statement, and References. Applications and transcripts must be submitted by the deadline for your field of study. All supplemental materials are due on the day of your respective field deadline.

The deadline for reference letters this year is November 1, 2018.

Reference letters will not be accepted after the module closes on November 8.

Winners will be announced in early April.

Who Wins
Winners have significant research experience and convincing and serious research proposals.

In 2018-19, Noreen Garcia and Kimmai Phan received the fellowship. Christian Totoiu, Stephanie Doering, and Rochelle Radzyminski obtained honorable mentions.

In 2017-18, Elena Thomas and Kenny Huynh were selected as fellows.The honorable mentions named were Devan Nisson, Wyeth Gibson, and Alexander Alvara.

In 2016-17, Nikolai Vogler, Manuel Torres, and Araceli Serrano were granted the fellowship. Rebecca Combs, Jason Yu, Ashlee Davis, Michelle Herrera, Pauline Ho, and Shiaki Minami were recognized with honorable mentions.

Current stipends are $34,000 for three 12-month tenures. An additional annual cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 is paid to the fellow’s institution for tuition and fees. A $5,000 International Research Travel Allowance is available to some Fellows through Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW), and a $5,000 allowance is available to some Fellows to support internships at federal agencies through the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP).

Any undergraduate or recent graduate with a strong academic record who intends graduate work in engineering, the sciences or the social sciences should consider applying for these fellowships. While SOP only officially manages the GRFP, NSF offers a great array of other undergraduate and graduate research scholarships, and we encourage students considering GRFP to also explore these options.

World Wide Web
Further information and applications are available at the NSF website.

Access the Big 10 Pre-Application between late February – early April annually to begin the application process.

SOP is able to advise competitive undergraduate candidates at UC Irvine only.