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Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

Proposal Writing 101

Welcome to the GradFund Proposal Writing 101 Resource Page. We have developed this page to provide you with general assistance with the development of a proposal for a funding application. By using these resources, you will learn the mechanics of proposal writing and best practices in grantsmanship while you develop an outline of your funding application, including the research proposal, supporting materials, and the application form(s).

We encourage you to complement your work here with individual meetings with a GradFund fellowship advisor. We are able to provide individual consultations to graduate students who are applying for external funding. While we are unable to offer individual consultations for internal awards, feel free to use the resources on this page as you develop your Graduate School-New Brunswick pre-dissertation, special opportunity, or Bevier Fellowship applications.

Understanding Your Funder

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What are they looking for?

What is the mission of the funding agency? What is the goal of this award competition? Considering the funder’s goals for this fellowship or grant, in what ways are you a competitive fit for this award?

What does this fellowship include?

What impact would this award have on your graduate career? How would these resources shape your trajectory in a way that is a fit with the goals of the funder?

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.

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When should I apply?

Many awards target a specific stage of study, and you may need to apply up to a year in advance of funds being disbursed to you, should you win. Work with your advisor to decide when it makes sense to begin working on your application.

Ready to write your application? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

If you need to look for other funding opportunities, use our award search.

GradFund Resources for your Funding Application

Keep in Touch

Sign up for the GradFund newsletter for important news about funding opportunities and new resources to help you apply for them. Our blog is also a great source for fresh advice and news about graduate funding.

Step-By-Step Workbook

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 external fellowships and grants. 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 Help with a Funder or Application Essay Conference meeting. Learn more about our meeting types and other services here.

Proposal Writing 101 Tutorial

We have developed the Proposal Writing 101 tutorial to assist you in the development of any merit-based fellowship, grant, or scholarship. Our tutorial is designed to teach you best practices in proposal development, to understand how to get to know your funder, and to help you with the task of writing a competitive application.

Proposal Writing 101

Articles & Advice

Applying for External Funding as a Master’s Student

One of the most common feelings that master’s students express is frustration with not having enough grant opportunities to support their graduate education. Indeed, there are less external funding opportunities for master’s students than there are for those pursuing...
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STEM Proposals: Is the Science Sufficient?

As engineers, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, or computer scientists, we have a propensity to get caught up in our work. Because Science! When our work is rejected or criticized, we ask questions about how we can improve it. I write from experience as I type...
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Introduction to GradFund Workshop: Diversity in Grant Writing

Photo credit: WOC in Tech When we see or hear the word "diversity," many images, questions, and assumptions come to mind. One common assumption is that diversity means equal treatment of individuals or groups in spite of what makes them or their experiences different...
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Applying for Fellowships and Grants as an International Student – Part Two (Advice from the Archives)

Advice from the Archives Series Note: Occasionally, we dig into the archives to uncover a post we feel holds relevant and timely information worthy of a repost. If you are interested in learning more about research grants and fellowships to support your graduate...
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Applying for Fellowships and Grants as an International Student – Part One (Advice from the Archives)

Advice from the Archives Series Note: Occasionally, we dig into the archives to uncover a post we feel holds relevant and timely information worthy of a repost. If you are interested in learning more about research grants and fellowships to support your graduate...
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Telling Stories of Adversity Effectively in Funding Applications

Addressing issues of adversity--any condition that may have impacted a student's academic trajectory--is one of the major stumbling blocks that applicants for grants and fellowships encounter when starting to draft their applications. Adversity can take on many forms,...
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Writing Strategies to Help You Start and Finish Your Funding Applications – Part Three

Series Note: The following post is the third, and final, installment in the Writing Strategies to Help You Start and Finish Your Funding Applications series. Click here to read Part One and click here to read Part Two.  The first post in this series focused on tips to...
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Six Years, Four Points: Advice on Grant Writing (Advice from the Archives)

Advice from the Archives Series Note: Occasionally, we dig into the archives to uncover a post we feel holds relevant and timely information worthy of a repost. If you are interested in learning more about research grants and fellowships to support your graduate...
Read More

Writing Strategies to Help You Start and Finish Your Funding Applications – Part Two

Series Note: The following post is the second installment in the Writing Strategies to Help You Start and Finish Your Funding Applications series. Click here to read Part One.  The first post in this series focused on tips to warm up to the idea of writing. Now that...
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Finding Conference/Travel Grant Awards for Humanities

Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash One of the best opportunities for graduate students to build a professional network, and meet other people in and out your respective fields, is by attending conferences. These annual gatherings of professionals happen in different...
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Proposal Writing Workbook

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

Login for Access!

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.

GradFund Forums

Use our forums to ask questions about your application and exchange application tips!

Join the Discussion

Stay in Touch!

Sign up for the GradFund Newsletter to get up-to-date news and advice on fellowship and grant competitions.

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Meet with Us!

Introducing A New Booking System!

We look forward to meeting with you!  Effective May 2017, we are using a new meeting booking system to manage GradFund appointments.

Whether you are a new or returning user, if you have not yet used our new meeting platform WCOnline, please click on the first time user link to set up an account so you can log into the system.

First visit? Click here to register. Returning? Log in below to book a meeting.

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