Department of Defense SMART Undergraduate Scholarship

Fields of Study

Eligibility by UCI School: Biological Sciences, Engineering, Information & Computer Science, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences (Psychology and Cognitive Sciences only)

Applicants must be pursuing a technical undergraduate degree in one of the 21 STEM disciplines listed on the SMART Scholarship website.



To be eligible for an SMART Undergraduate Scholarship, a student must be:

  • A citizen of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom at time of application;
  • 18 years of age or older as of August 1st of the year of application;
  • Able to complete at least one summer internships at a DoD facility;
  • Requesting at least 1.5 years of degree funding prior to graduation (which starts in the following spring term);
  • Willing to accept post-graduation employment with the DoD;
  • A student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Active duty military members who wish to apply for the SMART Scholarship must be separated or on terminal leave on or before August 1 of the subsequent (next) year to be eligible. Reserve and National Guard members are eligible to apply. Current ROTC participants with a future service commitment are not eligible to apply.


Service Requirement

The employment obligation to the DoD civilian Science and Technology (S&T) workforce upon graduation is a one-to-one commitment. For each academic year of a scholar’s award, the scholar is required to commit to one year (12 months) of civilian employment with the DoD.

On the application, potential scholars can indicate their top three Sponsoring Facility Preferences. Upon selection, awardees are assigned to the DoD laboratory where he/she will be expected to serve as a summer intern and complete a period of post-graduation employment service as a DoD civilian. Scholars are expected to begin fulfillment of the post-graduation employment period immediately upon graduation and must be geographically mobile for placement following graduation.

Detailed information about the Service Requirement is available on the SMART Scholarship website.


Scholarship Benefits

The SMART Program provides STEM students with the tools needed to pursue higher education and begin a career with the DoD. With a full scholarship, students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees will be able to focus on complex research to further the DoD’s mission and create lasting impact. Summer internships prepare scholars for full-time employment and get them accustomed to working with the DoD.

SMART offers a large package of benefits to qualified candidates:

  • Full tuition and education related educational expenses (meal plans, housing, and parking not included)
  • Stipend paid at a rate of $25,000 – $38,000 a year depending on degree level (may be prorated depending on award length)
  • Summer internships ranging from 8 to 12 weeks
  • Health Insurance allowance of up to $1,200 per academic year
  • Miscellaneous allowance of up to $1,000 per academic year
  • An experienced mentor at one of the Sponsoring Facilities
  • Employment placement at a DoD facility upon degree completion.



Recent Recipients & Honorable Mentions

Goldwater reviewers seek to identify undergraduates who demonstrate a passion for research and who exhibit the creative spark that will make them leaders in their fields.

  • In 2023, Grant Lai (Chemistry & Biological Sciences) and Alexis Ventura (Computer Science) received a Department of Defense SMART Undergraduate Scholarship



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