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Applying for NSF GRFP 2016: Workshops, Resources, and More!

July 29, 2015

National Deadlines: October 26-30 (Depending on field of study)
Optional Campus Review Deadline: October 8 at 5 p.m.

Interested in pursuing a research career in STEM fields or social sciences?

Come learn about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) – a prestigious award that supports research-oriented students in a wide range of STEM and social science fields during their first three years of graduate school. The award provides $46,000/year ($34,000 stipend + $12,000 Cost of Education Allowance), international research and internship opportunities, and more to support future knowledge experts with the potential to contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.

To be eligible, applicants must be either rising seniors (including 4th year BS/MS) or 1st year or 2nd year graduate students, plan on a PhD/research-oriented career, and be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Foundation welcomes applications from all qualified individuals. Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Those with disabilities are additionally accommodated by the Foundation to provide for the most successful graduate experience possible.


The Fellowships Office supports Drexel students who are applying – or thinking about applying – for a NSF-GRFP in a variety of ways, including resources, workshops, faculty review, and more.

All events are open to Drexel students and alumni only. We look forward to seeing you! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Introduction to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports graduate students in NSF-supported STEM and social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees at accredited US institutions.

Fellows receive:**

  • A three-year annual stipend of $34,000/year 
  • A $12,000 education allowance for tuition & fees, tenable at any accredited US institution
  • Opportunities for international research and professional development
  • The increased freedom that comes with having your own graduate funds
Who should apply?
Creative and talented students with the potential, skill and drive to significantly advance knowledge and benefit society through teaching, research and innovations in STEM.

To be eligible, you must:**

  • Be a US citizen, US national, or permanent resident
  • Intend to pursue a research-based Master's or Ph.D. program in an NSF-supported field
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited US graduate institution by fall of next year.
  • Have completed no more than 12 months of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent) by start of current academic year.

Eligible fields of study are: Chemistry, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM Education and Learning Research.

National Deadlines
: October 26-30 (Depending on field of study)

Optional Campus Review Deadline: October 8 at 5 p.m.
To submit essays for anonymous internal review, send both essays in a single document to by October 8 at 5 p.m. and fill out this cover sheet.

Learn more
This video reviews the basics of the NSF GRFP, including eligibility, application components, and review criteria. 


Be sure to read the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Page and read the 2016 NSF GRFP solicitation for official details and requirements.  

NSF GRFP Workshops 

These two-part sessions will provide an overview of the NSF GRFP, tips from recipients and faculty reviewers, and hands-on writing exercises to help you get started on the application essays. Participants should bring a brief summary of their proposed graduate research to the workshop.

Workshop participants will receive access to sample essays, worksheets, and supporting materials - and - may request one-hour feedback and advising meetings with Fellowships Office advisors.

Please watch the short webinar above or review the NSF GRFP website before attending an application workshop to gain a basic understanding of the program.   

Wednesday, August 19, 10am-12pm
Fellowships Office, Disque 109
Register in advance.  

 Friday, August 28, 9am-11am
Fellowships Office, Disque 109
Register in advance

Tuesday, September 8, 1-3pm
Fellowships Office, Disque 109
Register in advance

Can't make it to our workshops?
Watch the videos below and contact Dr. Meredith Wooten, Director of the Fellowships Office for more information.

Other NSF and STEM fellowship events

STEM Graduate Fellowships
This info session will help rising seniors and first year graduate students learn more about graduate fellowships in STEM fields. The session will provide basic advice for finding and applying for graduate fellowships, including: 

Friday, August 14, 3-4 PM
Fellowships Office, Disque 109
Please register in advance.

Friday, October 16, 3-4 PM
Fellowships Office, Disque 109
Please register in advance

NSF GRFP Merit Review Panel

Learn more about the NSF Merit Review criteria and review process from recent GRFP faculty reviewers. Speakers will share firsthand experience to clarify the review process and offer advice to students applying for the GRFP this year. 

Panelists include:

  • Professor Kelly Joyce, Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society and GRFP Merit Review Panelist
  • Professor Steven May, GRFP Merit Review Panelist
  • Professor Rick McCourt, Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences and recent GRFP Program Manager
  • Professor Caroline Schauer, GRFP Merit Review Panelist

Friday, October 2, 12-1pm
PISB 103
Please register in advance.


Videos and Tutorials

Can’t make it to one of our workshops or want to learn more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program? Check out these videos and tutorials created by our staff and from other sources!

The NSF GRFP Operation Center has created this great webinar overview of the program: 



Ready to apply? Watch this short video from the NSF GRFP Operation Center on How to Apply for the GRFP:


Additional Resources

We encourage all applicants to take advantage of the various on-campus and external resources to help you prepare, write and improve the caliber of your fellowship application.