Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

This page is designed for students pursing a doctoral degree and who have qualified as doctoral candidates (or will do so soon). The funding discussed on this page will support dissertation research or writing.

What Can You Apply for As a Doctoral Candidate?


What are you looking for?

As a doctoral candidate, we can assist you with identifying and applying for funding to support dissertation research and dissertation write-up/completion.  Your options may include dissertation research grants, fellowships for international field work, archival awards, and dissertation completion fellowships.

What can I apply for?

Awards at this stage are generally aimed at enabling you to complete dissertation research that will make a mark on your field.  This may involve funds for research supplies, support for international travel for research or for visits to an archive. Write-up fellowships fund your cost of living, allowing you to concentrate more fully on writing the dissertation.

Who is eligible to apply?

Carefully research your eligibility to apply before you craft your application materials.  If the award’s website and other documents don’t bring you clarity, contact the program officer.  Many dissertation grants will require that you be ABD to receive funds; almost all dissertation completion awards will require that you be ABD.


When should I apply?

Work with your advisor to develop a timeline for you dissertation research and write-up funding applications. Remember that you will typically apply for funding the academic year before you will use the funds and many of the deadline are during the fall semester.

Ready to apply? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

GradFund Resources for Doctoral Candidates

Step-By-Step Tutorial

The GradFund Proposal Writing 101 tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of writing your fellowship or grant application. From getting to know your funder to completing the last piece of the application, this guide will get you there.

Forums & Chat

Use our forums to exchange ideas with your peers and GradFund staff about applying for funding as a predissertion student.  We also offer an online chat service called ‘Ask a Fellowship Advisor’, where you can ask quick questions about our services, your scheduled meetings, or application procedures.

Meet with Us

Meet with a GradFund Fellowship Advisor for a Building a Funding Plan Conference in order to organize your applications and then when you are ready to apply, schedule a Help with a Funder or Application Essay Conference meeting. Learn more about our meeting types and other services here.

Mentoring Program

Join a mentoring program, and meet regularly with a peer mentor and other graduate students working on this application for help, support and expert guidance.

Fellowships and Grants to Support your Dissertation

Proposal Writing 101 Tutorial

We have developed this tutorial to assist you in the development of your external funding applications. Our tutorial is designed to teach you best practices in proposal development, to understand how to navigate the application process, and to help you with the task of writing a competitive application, including organizing all of the necessary application components.

Proposal Writing 101

Articles & Advice

Do I Have to? Motivation to Apply for External Funding

Applying for grants and fellowships can be daunting on top of the typical graduate student workload. It is easy to convince yourself to delay the application process when faced with coursework, teaching, research, and meetings. Here are several motivating factors to...

Make the Case That Your Project Will Contribute to Your Field

From a funder’s perspective, your passion for your project isn’t enough. Funders want to know that you have designed a project that does more than simply exercise your own intellectual curiosity. Even when it is not explicitly stated among the priorities listed in the...

Developing a Relationship with your NSF Program

*This blog is in preparation for GradFund’s upcoming Applying to the NSF workshop The National Science Foundation funds graduate students every year in a wide array of disciplines, from cultural anthropology to biomedical engineering. Awards are available for almost...

Strategies for Revision Series (Part 2)

Have a draft of a research statement or personal narrative for your fellowship application? Feel like it’s in pretty good shape, but not sure how to give it that top-level shine? This post suggests a strategy of revision for seeing each part of your essay in a new...

Strategies for Revision Series (Part 1)

Have a draft of a research statement? Sometimes get a sneaking suspicion that it’s not quite hanging together? This post suggests a strategy for revision that’s quick, straightforward, and yet often effective in shedding light on structural problems. I can’t claim...

Procrastinating on your Proposal? Try These Tips To Jump-Start Your Writing Process (Post 2)

Some applications have so many different parts, each with its own guidelines, that the process can feel overwhelming. But remember: you only have to work on one piece at a time! Research statements and personal statements are required components in most grant...

Procrastinating on your Proposal? Try One of These Tips To Get Started (Post 1)

We all procrastinate from time to time. The high standards and minimal structure of many graduate programs can make procrastination especially likely for even the most capable students, and when we slip into feelings of guilt or shame, it can become even harder to...

How to Identify What Reviewers Want?

At GradFund we always say "you need to know the funder". But, why is this important? And how do you do it? Reviewers for graduate grants and fellowships are usually interested in both short-term deliverables (i.e. what training or research you will undertake for the...

Good Writing Happens in Good Company: Three Benefits of Peer Feedback 

Image credit: Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash Ever hear of “Lonely Writer Syndrome?” It’s the clinical-sounding term that Writer’s Digest uses to describe the isolation that writers can feel as they toil away by themselves in front of their laptops. But writing does...

Incorporating Parenting Experiences into Your Personal Statement

This is the third post in a series on navigating the world of external funding as a parent in graduate school. Can an experience as normal as parenting be incorporated into your personal statement? The answer is: it depends. On one hand, it might seem that there is...

Proposal Writing 101 Workbook

Once you’ve watched Proposal Writing 101, dive into our proposal writing 101 workbook. The workbook will take you step-by-step through the development of a funding application.

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In order to access the step-by-step guidance found in our Proposal Writing 101 Workbook, please log in to our website using your Rutgers Scarletmail credentials.


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