Below are some of the most frequently asked application questions. Please click here for the full list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
The eligibility requirements for the NSF GRFP competition are contained in Section IV of the NSF GRF Program Solicitation.
You can apply both before you begin your graduate studies and as an early graduate student.
Individuals pursuing a master’s degree simultaneously with the bachelor’s degree (joint bachelor’s-master’s degree) are considered to be graduate students and limited to one application to GRFP; they are not eligible to apply again as a doctoral degree student. Individuals in this category who applied in the latest Fiscal Year competition (Previous fall deadlines) are eligible to apply as first-year doctoral students only in the current Fiscal Year competition .
Possibly. Individuals who have completed more than one academic year in a degree-granting program, who have earned a previous master’s degree of any kind (including bachelor’s-master’s degree), or who have earned a professional degree (e.g., law, medicine), are eligible only if they have had a continuous interruption in graduate study of at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the application deadline, and are not enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program at the application deadline. This means that you cannot already be enrolled in graduate school at the time of the application deadline. You must address the reasons for the interruption in graduate study in your Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement. See the GRF Program Solicitation for detailed eligibility requirements.
Having a master’s degree makes you ineligible to apply to GRFP unless it was followed by a continuous interruption in graduate study of two years or longer; in this case, you would not be eligible because you are already enrolled again in graduate school.
The GRF Program Solicitation contains the official guidance regarding eligible fields and programs of study; see Section IV.3. Field of Study.
- Individuals who are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident at the time of application are not eligible.
- Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. on a student visa and those awaiting green cards are not eligible.
- Individuals who do not intend to enroll or be enrolled in a research-based graduate degree program accredited in, and having a campus located in, the United States, its territories, or possessions, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, in an eligible Field of Study in STEM or STEM education (see Appendix and Section IV.3 in the GRF Program Solicitation for eligible Fields of Study) are not eligible.
- Individuals who have previously accepted a GRFP award are not eligible.
- Individuals who were awarded the Fellowship and did not notify NSF of their intention to accept or decline the fellowship by the published deadline for accepting the fellowship are not eligible.
- Individuals who have previously applied while enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program are not eligible.
- Individuals who have earned a doctoral or terminal degree in any field are not eligible.
- Individuals who are a current NSF employee are not eligible.
- Individuals who plan to pursue a joint science-professional degree program (such as an MD/Ph.D. or JD/Ph.D.), are ineligible for the GRFP, even if they are proposing to use the GRFP only for the Ph.D. part of their program.
- Additionally, applicants who are enrolled, or plan to enroll, in a graduate degree program while on a leave of absence from a professional degree program or professional degree-graduate degree joint program are ineligible.
Select the Major Field of Study and the subfield that is closest to your research interests. If the broad Major Field of Study is not listed, it may not be eligible for GRFP. Choose your Major Field of Study carefully. Your choice determines the disciplinary expertise of the experts who will review your application, and the Major Field of Study and discipline if you are offered a Fellowship. If you are offered a Fellowship, it is in the Major Field of Study and discipline that you chose for your application, and cannot be applied to another field or discipline for the first year of the Fellowship. The name of the degree program does not need to match the Major Field of Study exactly, but must be in the same discipline (i.e., a science discipline cannot be substituted for an engineering discipline or vice versa, e.g. chemistry for chemical engineering). Applicants may select "other" if their Major Field of Study is not represented in the list under each Major Field of Study.
The statements must be written using standard 8.5"x 11" page size, 12-point, Times New Roman font, 1" margins on all sides, and must be single-spaced or greater. References, footnotes, and figure captions must be no less than 10-point Times New Roman. Failure to follow any of these guidelines will result in an application being returned without review.
Reviewed applicants will be notified of the results of the competition by early April.