Rutgers - School of Graduate Studies

Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides support to outstanding early graduate students in science (including social science), technology, engineering, and mathematics.  The NSF GRF is a prestigious fellowship that has been awarded since 1952 with the goal of supporting the next generation of “knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.”

Is NSF GRF the Right Fit for You?

What are they looking for?

The NSF GRF supports early graduate students who show the potential for outstanding STEM research careers.  Strong applicants will demonstrate both ‘intellectual merit’ and ‘broader impact’.

What does this fellowship include?

The NSF GRF provides three years of support and includes a stipend for living expenses and funds for tuition and fees. Fellows also have access to special opportunities for professional development and international research.

Who is eligible to apply?

The NSF GRF supports early graduate students who are US citizens, US nationals, or permanent residents in STEM fields (including the social sciences) who are pursuing a research-based master’s or Ph.D.


When should I apply?

You may apply only once as a graduate student, in either your first or second year of graduate study.  The deadlines for the 2018 competition can be found here.

Ready to apply? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

GradFund Resources for your NSF GRF Application

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Step-By-Step Tutorial

The GradFund NSF GRF will take you step-by-step through the process of writing your application. From getting to know the NSF to completing the last piece of the application, this guide will help get you there.

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.

NSF GRF Proposal Writing Tutorial

We have developed the NSF GRF tutorial to assist you in the development of a NSF GRF application. Our tutorial is designed to teach you best practices in proposal development, to understand how to navigate the NSF GRF application process, and to help you with the task of writing a competitive application.

Proposal Writing 101

Articles & Advice

What to Expect: Application Review Meeting

I’ve had this experience often: At the end of an exhaustive meeting with a fellowship applicant—after we’ve gone over specific points of structure and tone in minute detail; after we’ve reviewed broader issues of purpose and audience; after we’ve discussed background...
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Unpacking Jargon—Part Two

Part One of this post [link] described reasons to limit jargon in your proposal, and two strategies to help you minimize your use of jargon. Part Two offers more specific advice for addressing jargon in your writing. Define for yourself each term you or your readers...
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Unpacking Jargon—Part One

Jargon serves important functions in any field of activity. It lends accuracy and efficiency to communication within a subfield, and terms that begin as jargon may eventually enter into common use: consider the current popularization of specialized terms like...
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A Visit from the SSRC- Part II

Looking to apply for the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship (SSRC IDRF)? Recently, GradFund hosted an information session on the IDRF presented by its Program Director Daniella Sarnoff. The presentation provided a wealth...
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A Visit from the SSRC-Part I

At Rutgers, we recently had a visit from the program officer of one of the most prestigious fellowship awards for which we help graduate students apply: the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship. The IDRF supports 9-12 months...
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Alternative grants for STEM graduate students

Although the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) F31 grants are two of the most well-known research fellowships for STEM graduate students, they are not the only sources of substantial...
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“But What If It’s Just a Waste of Time?”: How the Process of Grant Writing Can Advance Your Career—Part Two

Part One of this post described ways to use the application process to expand and strengthen your professional network. Part Two describes how attention to detail in the grant writing process offers benefits beyond increasing your application’s chance of success....
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Applying to the NSF-GRFP: Advice from a Student in Neuroscience

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) provides three years of graduate support to students pursuing doctorate degrees in STEM fields. Students in their first and second years of graduate education are eligible to apply. Many...
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Featured Fellowship: National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

By: Marian Ahn Thorpe Writing a dissertation about education? If you are in the final data analysis and/or write-up stage of your dissertation, consider applying to the NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program. The fellowship provides $27,500 to doctoral students...
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Developing your Specific Aims for an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA (F30/F31/F32)

The NIH NRSA fellowship is a training award for pre- and post-doctoral fellows to supplement biomedical research training. One of the most important sections of this award is the Specific Aims section, in which the applicant must outline 2-3 research objectives for...
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NSF GRF Proposal Writing Workbook

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

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