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How to Fund your Graduate Studies: An Overview of Available National Fellowships and How to Compete


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Title: How to Fund your Graduate Studies: An Overview of Available National Fellowships and How to Compete

How to Fund your Graduate Studies An Overview
of Available National Fellowships and How to
Compete for Them
October 12, 2004
Presented by Office of Proposal
Development Sponsored by Office of Graduate
Studies and the Office of the Vice President for
Research Lucy Deckard Robyn
How to Fund Your Graduate Studies
  • Types of Fellowships
  • Why bother?
  • Wheres the ?
  • How to apply and win
  • Overview of the Process and Strategies
  • Examples

Two Types of Fellowships
  • Awards directly to Students
  • Students compete directly for award
  • Award is portable with student
  • Examples
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate
  • J. Javits, Ford Foundation, Humane Studies
  • Many targeted fellowships (e.g., Semiconductor
    Research Graduate Fellowship, Whitaker Fellowship
    for Biomedical Engineering, ATT Fellowship,

Two Types of Fellowships
  • Institutional Awards
  • Awarded to departments, programs, etc.
  • Students selected by department, program or
  • Examples Graduate Assistantships in Areas of
    National Need (GAANN), larger programs (IGERT,
    AGEP, etc.)

Graduate Fellowships why bother?
  • Guaranteed source of funding
  • Stipends generally much higher than department
    RAs (NSF stipend 30K/yr)
  • Fellowships are portable more autonomy in
    selecting advisor, research project
  • Fellowship can be path to a job (e.g., National

Fellowship Application is Mini-Research
  • You are selling yourself and your ideas
  • Identify Fellowship opportunities for which you
    are eligible
  • Analyze what they are looking for (review
  • Write best possible application
  • Gather and submit other required material
    (references, GRE scores, etc.)

Finding Potential Fellowships
  • Excellent web resources available
  • See hot link table (will be e-mailed to you)
  • Duke, Cornell, Mich. State have excellent sites
    listing fellowships by area, etc.
  • Google
  • Keep an open mind
  • As research becomes more multi-disciplinary, you
    may find opportunities in unexpected places
  • NIH, NSF fund aspects of social and behavioral
    sciences, philosophy (ethics), communication,
  • Talk to faculty in your department
  • Look at large fellowship programs and smaller
    targeted programs (by discipline, demographic
    group, etc.)

Finding Potential Fellowships
  • Variety of funders
  • Federal agencies (NSF, DoD, NIH, EPA, NEH, Dept.
    of Ed., etc.)
  • Foundations
  • Professional Organizations
  • Corporations

Example National Fellowships
  • National Science Foundation, 1000 awarded
    annually, due mid-Nov mid-Dec depending on
  • NASA, 90 new fellowships awarded annually, due
    February 2005
  • Department of Defense, 200 awarded annually,
    due January 2005
  • EPA, 100 awarded annually, due Nov. 23, 2004
  • DHS, 100 awarded annually due Feb. 2005 (?)
  • DoED, GAANN (943) J. K. Javits (238)
  • NIH, 180 awarded annually
  • Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering
    (GEM) (121)

Example National Fellowships
  • Humanities Social Science Fellowships and
    Grants for Graduate and Professional Students
  • http//
  • Cornell, Humanities
  • http//
  • Michigan State University Hotlinks to 31 academic
  • http//

Analysis of Applicant Instructions/RFP
  • What are eligibility requirements?
  • When is the application due?
  • How many are awarded each year?
  • What criteria are used to evaluate applications?
  • Check with faculty in your department (may have
    been on review panel)
  • Look at goals of funding organization
  • What are the required components of the
    application and what is application process?
  • Contact awarding organization if you have

Putting together your application
  • Find faculty mentor(s) if possible
  • Faculty with whom you plan to do your graduate
  • Faculty in your undergraduate department
  • Graduate coordinator in your department
  • They will provide advice on research plan,
    critique your writing
  • Ask for references early and check
  • Make sure GRE scores, transcripts, etc. will be
    available on time

Typical Application Components
  • Biographical information
  • GRE scores
  • Transcript
  • Letters of Reference
  • Essays/Proposal
  • Discussion of proposed research
  • Often, discussion of one or more research
  • Sometimes, other questions

What are They Looking For?
  • Will you be a successful graduate student and
  • Do you understand the research process?
  • Do you do your homework?
  • i.e., read the literature in your area,
    understand previous work, etc.
  • Can you express your ideas well?
  • Is your selected area of research something they
    want to support?
  • Varies in importance depending on mission of
  • Are you one of the best candidates in the
    applicant pool?

Writing Strategies
  • Start early and get others to edit your work!
  • Write in a scholarly style
  • Make it clear you understand your subject
  • Cite references if allowed
  • Make it clear that you understand the research
  • Clear hypothesis, goals, objectives
  • Discussion of your planned approach with
    sufficient detail to show your understanding of
    the topic

TIP Good Writing Cant Be Beat
  • Good writing is more than mechanics, and
  • Strong, comprehensive knowledge base
  • Organizational clarity (stepwise
    logic/connections sequencing)
  • Structural clarity (integrative logic
    transitions fabric)
  • Argumentative clarity (reasoning ordering)
  • Descriptive clarity (who, what, how, when, why,
  • Clear, consistent vision sustained throughout
  • Comprehensive problem definition corresponding
    innovative solutions
  • Confidence in performance must be instilled in
  • Internal consistency

Hotlinks to Writing Strategies
  • Many resources available on how to write good
  • See hotlink table e-mailed to you
  • Grant Doctor in Science Magazine
  • Agency-specific guides
  • Google
  • Excellent books on writing
  • Strunk, Elements of Style (http//
  • The Art of Writing Proposals, by the Social
    Science Research Council, available online at

Evaluation Review Criteria
  • Read application, related information carefully
  • find out what they are looking for
  • Investigate goals and culture of funder
  • Reflect vision of the funding agency

Analyzing Funding Agency
  • Every agency has a language
  • Read their literature
  • Use the agencys language in your essays/proposal
  • Look at their funding priorities and goals
  • Check dear colleague letter, FAQs
  • http//
  • Examples

  • Select faculty who know you well
  • Select faculty who will give you a positive
  • Undergraduate research experience great
    opportunity to develop references
  • Follow up and make sure they sent in your
    reference letter

Example NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
  • Typically due early November
  • 1000 to be awarded this year
  • For any research area funded by NSF
  • Includes Education, Social and Behavioral
    Sciences as well as Science and Engineering
  • Look through NSF web site at for
    research areas

How to Apply for NSF Fellowship
  • See and
    https// for
    application instructions, FAQ, etc.
  • Apply on-line using NSFs Fastlane system at
  • Parts of application
  • Information form (name, school, etc.)
  • Application form (includes two essay questions)
  • Proposed Plan of Research
  • Previous Research Experience
  • References
  • GRE, GPA form and transcript request form

NSF Fellowship
  • 30,000 per year plus 10,500 education allowance
    for 3 years
  • Must be US Citizen or permanent resident
  • May apply
  • during undergrad senior year
  • prior to or during 1st year of grad school,
  • or at beginning of 2nd year of grad school

Strategies to Win
  • Good grades and GRE scores help
  • GPAs typically 3.7 or higher but not always
  • Undergraduate research experience
  • Good essay answers
  • Great research proposal
  • Excellent references

Research Proposals
  • Be original.
  • A less polished essay that shows evidence of the
    students own creativity is usually more
    impressive than a sophisticated plan that is not
  • Be rigorous.
  • The best research proposals…demonstrate that the
    applicant understands how to conduct research in
    his/her discipline using the scientific method
  • Be clear and well-organized.
  • The best proposals… demonstrate creativity in
    thinking about research questions as well as
    communication and organizational skills.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate
  • Eligibility
  • US citizen or national
  • Pursuing doctoral degree in, or closely related
    to, one of the following disciplines having the
    greatest benefit to national security

Aeronautical and Astronautical Eng
Biosciences Chemical Engineering Chemistry Civil
Engineering Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral
Sciences Computer and Computational
Science Electrical Engineering Physics           
Geosciences Materials Science and
Engineering Mathematics Mechanical
Engineering Naval Architecture and Ocean
Engineering Oceanography                 
NDSEG Fellowship
  • 3 year 27K - 30K stipend/year
  • Application
  • Essays
  • GRE
  • Transcripts
  • 3 Letters of Reference

GEM Fellowships
  • Applications due Nov. 1 for 2005.
  • For underrepresented students pursuing M.S. in
    engineering or PhD in engineering or the natural
    and physical sciences
  • (African American, Hispanic American, American
    Indian, Mexican American, Puerto Rican American)
  • Junior, senior or graduate at time of application
  • Cover tuition, fees and stipend (3 semesters of
    M.S. and 5 years for PhD)
  • Fellowships portable to 90 consortium
  • Matched with company for internship

NIH Predoctoral Fellowship Awards for Minority
Students (F31)
  • Up to 5 years support for research training
    leading to PhD or equiv., or combined MD/PhD in
    biomedical, behavioral sciences or health
    services research
  • Stipend (was 15,060 in 2000), tuition, fees and
    health insurance up to 5 years
  • Due May 1 and Nov. 15
  • Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to
    consult with NIH staff before submitting
  • http//

Fellowships for Minorities
  • Ford Foundation - Predoctoral Fellowships for
    Minorities. The 21,500 fellowships are awarded
    to individual minority students who demonstrate
    superior scholarship and show promise for future
    achievement as scholars, researchers, and
    teachers. November deadline. http//www.nationalac
  • American Sociological Association - Minority
    Fellowship Program. An annual stipend of 14,688
    for up to three years for minority graduate
    students in the early stages of sociology
    graduate programs with emphasis on mental health
    issues and research. December deadline.

Fellowships for Minorities
  • United Negro College Fund Merck Foundation
    Science Initiative - Graduate Science Research
    Dissertation Fellowships. 30,000 to assist
    African-American graduate students in completing
    coursework, conducting research, and preparing
    dissertation in the life or physical sciences.
    January deadline. http//
  • Social Science Research Council and the Andrew W.
    Mellon Foundation - SSRC-Mellon Minority
    Fellowship Program. Up to 5000 to increase
    number of African Americans, Latinos, and Native
    Americans in the arts and sciences for students
    enrolled in Ph.D. programs in Mellon-designated
    fields. Citizenship unspecified. Deadline
    November (annual). http//

Fellowships for Women
  • American Association of University Women -
    International Fellowships. 18,000 awards to
    women graduate students studying in the United
    States who are not U.S. citizens. November
    deadline. http//
  • American Association of University Women -
    Selected Professions Fellowships. Approximately
    5,000-12,000 awards for women in the final year
    of graduate study in historically
    under-represented professions, including Business
    Administration, Law, Medicine, Architecture,
    Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering.
    December deadline. http//

Fellowships for Women
  • Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation -
    Dissertation Grants in Women's Studies. Fifteen
    winners receive grants of 3,000. Must be
    students in doctoral programs who have completed
    pre-dissertation requirements in any field.
    October deadline. http//
  • The Coordinating Council for Women in History
    (CCWH) and the Berkshire Conference of Women
    Historians - CCWH/Ida B. Wells Graduate Student
    Award. 500 to assist in the completion of
    dissertation work in any field of history. The
    Wells Award is given to a female student who is
    specializing in any field, but is currently
    working on a historical project. October
    deadline. http//

US Department of Education Jacob K. Javits
  • http//
  • Deadline October 8, 2004
  • About 70 awards anticipated this year
  • Average size of awards 41,511
  • Funding for up to 48 months
  • Includes a stipend for personal expenses and an
    institutional payment for tuition and fees
  • No cost sharing or matching requirements

Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Eligibility
  • Must be pursuing highest degree available in
    their field at an accredited US institution of
    higher learning
  • Apply during or before your first full year of
  • Must be a citizen or national of the US, a
    permanent resident or intend to become a
    permanent resident

Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Selected Fields of
  • ARTS creative writing, music performance,
    theory, composition literature, studio arts,
    television, film, cinematography, theater,
    playwriting, screenwriting, acting, dance
  • HUMANITIES art history, archaeology, area
    studies, classics, comparative literature,
    folklore, foreign languages/literature, history,
    linguistics, philosophy, religion, speech,
    rhetoric, debate
  • SOCIAL SCIENCES anthropology, communications and
    media, economics, ethnic cultural studies,
    geography, political science, psychology, public
    policy, sociology

US Department of Education Fulbright-Hays
Doctoral Dissertation Research Award (DDRA)
  • http//
  • Purpose for graduate students to engage in
    full-time dissertation research abroad in modern
    foreign languages and area studies
  • Deadline October 19, 2004
  • Estimated number of awards 150
  • Average award size 29,603
  • Funding for 6 to 12 months
  • No cost sharing or matching requirements

Fulbright-Hays DDRA Eligibility
  • Must be citizen or national of US or a permanent
  • Must be a graduate student in good standing and
    admitted to a doctoral program in modern foreign
    languages and area studies
  • Must be planning a teaching career in the US
  • Must possess sufficient foreign language skills
    to conduct research project

Fulbright-Hays Fields of Study
  • Fields of study include but are not limited to
    ecology, anthropology, history, political
    science, geography, economics, biology,
    archaeology, art history, literature, folklore,
    sociology, architecture, religion, city and
    regional planning, international health
  • Locations Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia
    the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East,
    East Central Europe and Eurasia, and the Western
    Hemisphere (Canada, Central South America,
    Mexico the Caribbean)
  • Projects in Western Europe will not be funded

Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowships
  • http//
  • Purpose to encourage new scholars to undertake
    research relevant to formal or informal education
  • Deadline November 10, 2004
  • Estimated number of awards about 30
  • Award size 20,000
  • Up to two years
  • Non-renewable

Spencer Foundation Eligibility and Disciplines
  • US citizenship not required, but must be a PhD
  • The dissertation topic must concern education,
    but can be in any academic discipline
  • Recent awards include anthropology, art history,
    architecture, economics, education, history,
    linguistics, literature, philosophy, public
    health, political sciences, psychology, religion,
  • Candidates should be interested in pursuing
    further research in education once the PhD is

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic
  • http//
  • A competitive award for first-year doctoral
    students only and cannot be deferred
  • Application Request Deadline Nov 12, 2004
  • Submission Deadline Dec 1, 2004
  • Estimated number of awards about 85
  • Covers tuition and fees for the first year of a
    PhD graduate program and includes a stipend of

Mellon Fellowships Fields of Study
  • Cultural anthropology, art history, classics,
    comparative literature, critical theory, cultural
    studies, English lit, creative writing, ethnic
    studies, ethnomusicology, film theory, foreign
    language, history, history of architecture,
    history philosophy of math, history
    philosophy of science, humanities, linguistics,
    music history theory, philosophy, political
    history/philosophy, political theory, religion,
    rhetoric, womens studies