The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships offer graduate fellowships in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences (including the history of science and the philosophy of science) and in research-based PhD programs in science education. Specialized components are awards for Women in Engineering (WENG) and Women in Computer and Information Science (WICS).


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent resident aliens.
  • Applicants must intend to pursue research-based master's or doctoral degrees in fields of science, mathematics, and engineering that are supported by the NSF
  • Applicants pursuing a research-based PhD in science education also may be eligible.
  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree prior to fall 2018.
  • Applicants should be college seniors, recent graduates about to enter their first year of graduate school, or first- or second-year graduate students who have completed no more than 12 months of graduate study.
  • Applicants for the Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science (WECS) award must be women who intend to pursue graduate research degrees in engineering or computer and information science and engineering.

How to apply

  • The application is available online.
  • Candidates must submit the completed application form electronically, transcripts, official GPA record to date, at least three references, a proposed plan of research, and a description of previous research experience.
  • Applicants do not need to be nominated by Ball State. However, they are strongly advised to work with Barb Stedman, director of national and international scholarships, in preparing their application materials. At least six weeks before the deadline--preferably earlier--students should call 765-285-1024 to schedule an appointment, or e-mail with questions.
  • The University of Missouri's Graduate School website provides extremely useful tips for writing the three essays.

NSF application guidance for Ball State students

  • Click to access an application packet prepared specifically for Ball State students who apply for a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. It contains tips on creating the best application possible, a timeline and checklist, advice on getting strong letters of recommendation, and sample essays. 
  • You will need to enter your Ball State username and password to gain access.


The deadlines for the 2017 competition vary by discipline. Approximate anticipated deadlines are as follows:

  • October 23, 2017: Life Sciences, Geosciences
  • October 24, 2017: Engineering, Computer Information & Science, & Materials Research
  • October 26, 2017: Social Sciences, Psychology, STEM Education and Learning Research
  • October 27, 2017: Mathematical Sciences, Chemistry, & Physics & Astronomy 
  • Early November: All reference letters

Duration and amount

  • NSF Graduate Fellowships offer three years of support.
  • Each fellowship provides a stipend of $34,000 for a 12-month tenure (prorated monthly for lesser periods) and an annual cost-of-education allowance of $12,000, paid to the fellow's institution in lieu of tuition and fees.