How to Apply for Funding and Fellowships

Here are some tips and advice on applying for fellowships for graduate research funding. (For post-doctoral fellowships, see Postdoc.)

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Here is the official NSF GRFP page.

At a glance:

  • Application deadline: Around Halloween each year. You may apply in the fall before you enter grad school, and/or in your first year of grad school, and/or in your second year of grad school.

  • Who can apply: Masters or PhD students who have completed no more than one year of graduate-level study, US citizens only.

  • What you get (may change yearly): $32,000, tuition waived, student health insurance, reimbursal of UA's student fees.

  • Application requirements: Personal Statement, Research Statement, 3 reference letters, transcripts

Tips and thoughts from successful applicants:

  • This is a really great fellowship to get! It offers the most money and the most freedom. And it's not quite as much work as a NESSF application.
  • Have a specific plan in place regarding the "Broader Impact" criterion required for the application. Use LPL's resources to help you come up with this plan. For example, you can get involved with EPO for a current mission, or set up something with the Teaching Teams project at LPL, etc...
  • If you are a first year student applying, you should choose two references from your undergrad school (these should be strong references), and one reference from LPL, as strong as you can possibly get. But don't worry if the LPL reference doesn't know you as well. Encourage the LPL reference to speak as much as possible about their evaluation of your potential based on the few months you've been at LPL.

Grads to contact who are willing to share their application materials (add to email addresses):

  • Melissa Dykhuis (dykhuis)
  • Sarah Sutton (ssutton)
  • Ali Bramson (bramson)
  • Margaret Landis (mlandis)


NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships (NESSF)

Look for the solicitation on NSPIRES. This is the site through which most (all?) NASA fellowships are posted, submitted, etc.

At a glance:

  • Application deadline: Early February (note you can apply to planetary, astro, solar, or Earth and I think sometimes they have slightly different deadlines)

  • Who can apply: Students admitted to, or already enrolled in, a full-time Masters and/or Ph.D. With two equal applications, US citizens get preference, but applications are never truly equal, so apply even if you're not a citizen.

  • What you get (may change yearly): $35,000 stipend; $10,000 for tuition fees, publication costs,conference travel, etc. You will most likely do a 1/4 time RA or TA both fall and spring at LPL to make an amount comparable to other grads. By doing a 1/4 RA or TA, 1/2 your tuition is waived and you get health insurance. In recent history, LPL has always covered any tuition that is not otherwise covered by NESSF or RA/TA, but they do not guarantee that this will always happen in the future.

  • Because NESSF applications are through NSPIRES, they have to go through UA Sponsored Projects. This means you have to submit everything to sponsored projects a couple days before the true deadline. Talk to your advisor (and Glinda!) about the details of when and how to do this.


Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Official website is here: Marshall Foundation

At a glance:

  • Offered by the grad college
  • Application Deadline: November

  • Who can apply: Grad students who will graduate within a year

  • What you get (may change yearly): $10,788 and tuition waiver for two semesters.

  • Note: You need to have AZ residency status with UofA to qualify, the deadline for petitioning for this is about one week into the semester, so if you are not already a resident (ie if you see out of state tuition on your bursar) you should plan ahead.

Grads to contact who are willing to share their application materials (add to email addresses):

General Fellowship tips and links
NASA's Learner Opportunities page lists programs and fellowships for grad students.

NASA ROSES Proposals

While it is uncommon for grad students (and often even Postdocs) to PI their own ROSES grants, it has been done, and it is never too early to start getting experience with proposals. Ask your advisors if you can see their previously submitted grants, or offer to rip apart any grant proposals they are currently writing. See more information on the Workshops page for advice from a Program Manager (Dr. Christina Richey) about the ROSES application and peer review process.