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Healthcare Scholarship: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Overview of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is aimed at outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported disciplines, including fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Candidates for the fellowship must be completing research-based master or doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. higher education institutions.

In order to qualify for the fellowship program, applicants must complete and submit a detailed application. This application must be submitted by October 29th for applicants from the fields of engineering, computer and information science, or materials research. Applications are due by October 30th for applicants from the fields of mathematical sciences, chemistry, physics and astronomy. Candidates from the social sciences, psychology and STEM education and learning must submit their applications by November 3rd and applicants from the life sciences and geosciences must submit by November 4th.

Recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship are provided three years of financial support over the course of a five-year fellowship period. The National Science Foundation pays an annual stipend of $32,000 to cover the fellow’s living expenses, as well as a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to defray tuition costs. The stipend may change slightly from year to year, in accordance with inflation rates and depending on NSF’s congressional funding.

In order to qualify, students must be U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents. They must never have previously received a fellowship from the NSF. They must also have a graduate plan of study that meets degree requirements and be conducting their research within a relevant field of study. In most cases, applicants submit their applications during their senior year of undergraduate study, after receiving their undergraduate degree and before entering a graduate program, or during the first year of graduate study. Applicants may not have completed more than 12 months of full-time graduate study at the time they submit their application.

The candidate’s field of study must be research-oriented. Therefore, students in practice-oriented professional degree programs, including medical, dental, law or public health, are not eligible for the fellowship. Likewise, researchers with disease-related goals are usually not eligible for the award, with some possible exceptions.
The application itself must include three reference letters; a three-page personal statement with relevant background information and personal goals; and academic transcripts. The reference writers must be non-family members, and ideally academic advisors, department heads or other relevant faculty members. All applications will be assessed according to their intellectual merit and the potential broader impact of the proposed research.

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