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To qualify for a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, you must meet several eligibility requirements.

  • You must be either a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be Early-Career; this means that you must be either an undergraduate or graduate student
  • You must be pursuing a research-based MS or PhD degree
  • You cannot have previously accepted a Graduate Research Fellowship (if offered, you must have declined)
  • You must have never previously applied to the GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program

There are several stages of your academic career in which you are eligible for a GRF.

  • When you are a senior pursuing an undergraduate degree with no graduate study
  • When you are in your first year of graduate study
  • When you are in your second year of graduate study but have completed fewer than 12 months of graduate study by August of the year you apply
  • When you have completed 12 or more months of graduate study¬†if¬†you are returning to graduate study after an interruption of two or more years

Your proposed research must be in an eligible field of study:

  • Chemistry
  • Computer and Information Science/Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Materials Research
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM Education

Each year, certain fields are highlighted and new fields are occasionally added; be sure to read the current year’s solicitation for the most accurate information.


This video, created by the NSF, covers the above information.