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NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Overview and Introduction

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.  Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected.  

Fellows also benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $37,000 along with a $16,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution) for a total of $159,000, plus opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

Learn more about the NSF-GRFP in this introductory video.

National Application Deadline: October TBD (specific day varies by field)


  • Citizenship: Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident 
  • Degree Level: NSF-GRFP has unique requirements, check out the Canvas course for more info.
  • Employment: Not be a current NSF employee
  • Fellowship Requirements: Have never previously accepted a GRFP award; 
    • If previously offered a GRFP award, have declined by the deadline; 
    • Have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program 

Application Deadlines

  • Campus Deadline: Deadlines vary by field of study.  See the NSF website for specific deadlines.
  • Endorsement: NSF-GRFP does not require institutional endorsement; students may apply directly to this program. 

Prospective Applicants

Prospective applicants are encouraged to join the U-M NSF GRFP Canvas course for an overview of the application, program requirements, additional advising information, and more. Please note, ONSF does not offer individual advising for NSF-GRFP applicants. The NSF-GRFP website will have the most up to date information.

Resources for Applicants:

  • Check out Alex Lang's website which has a number of examples in different fields
  • Robin Walker (University of Missouri) tip sheet for applicants
  • ONSF maintains a Canvas course with lists of current NSF Grad Fellows in various departments and sample application essays. 

Application Summary

  • Applicants apply directly through 
  • The application includes a personal statement and resume items, a proposed graduate research plan, and three letters of recommendation from faculty in their proposed field of study and/or research supervisors. 
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to work closely with faculty in their own departments in the completion of the application.  

Applicant Levels & Degree Requirements

  • Applicants must intend to enroll or be enrolled full-time in a research-based graduate degree program in an eligible Field of Study.
    • Intend to enroll or be enrolled full-time in a research-based graduate degree program in an eligible Field of Study; 
    • Have never earned a master's, professional, or bachelor's-master's degree in any field, unless (i) returning to graduate study after an interruption of two (2) or more consecutive years immediately preceding the deadline, and; (ii) are not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the application deadline; 
    • Have never earned a doctoral or terminal degree in any field.

Number of Times Individuals May Apply:

  • Undergraduate seniors and bachelor's degree holders: may apply before enrolling in a degree-granting graduate program.
  • Graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program: only one application to the GRFP, submitted in the first year or at the beginning of the second year of their degree program.
  • Individuals pursuing a master's degree simultaneously with the bachelor's degree (joint bachelor's-master's degree): must have completed three (3) years in the joint program and are limited to one application to GRFP; they will not be eligible to apply again as a doctoral degree student. 
  • Again, it is important you review the NSF-GRFP website if you have any questions about eligibility.