Scholarships and fellowships for graduate school

One of the biggest concerns people often have about graduate school is its cost. A student has to factor in tuition, living expenses, food, transportation, and books — all of which add up to a considerable amount.

Picture courtesy 401K 2012 (flickr)

However some schools offer tuition coverage along with a modest stipend to help offset these costs. Most PhD programs in the sciences have a stipend of this form in return for the students’ activity as a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA).

But what to do if the program you’re interested in doesn’t offer tuition coverage or stipends? There are other ways of finding scholarships that can help you at least partially cover your expenses so you have the flexibility to apply to the graduate programs of your choice.

Science Scholarships

Scholarships are monetary awards that are typically designed for a specific goal such as covering a student’s partial or full tuition. Most scholarships are one-time grants that are merit-based and require an application.

  • NSF – Scholarship for Service
    Applies to students seeking bachelor’s, ¬†master’s and doctoral degrees related to specialties emphasizing information assurance.
    Through this program, the National Science Foundation partnered with Department of Homeland Security issues selected 4-year colleges and universities scholarship grants to attract students to the information assurance field. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management administers the operational aspects of the program.
  • Sandiva National Laboratories Internships
    Applies to students seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
    They also offer fellowships in studies that relate to national security.
  • DoD – SMART Scholarship
    Applies to students seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines.
    The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program has been established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories.

Science Fellowships

A fellowship is typically a long-term competitive award. Many fellowships include scholarships that pay for partial or full tuition. Fellowships often require participation in a research project or other activity, either during a candidate’s program or post graduation. Fellowships may also involve some form of return to the school through outreach, research, or activity in a program.

  • NASA – Space Technology Research Fellowship
    Applies to master’s and doctorate degrees in STEM programs.
    The goal of NSTRF is to provide the nation with a pipeline of highly skilled engineers and technologists to improve America’s technological competitiveness. NASA Space Technology Fellows will perform innovative space technology research while building the skills necessary to become future technological leaders.”
  • NSF – Graduate Research Fellowship Program
    Applies to research-based master’s and doctorate degrees in the sciences.
    The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.
  • Harriett Jenkins Fellowship Program
    Applies to master’s- and doctorate-level students who are underrepresented in STEM disciplines.
    The Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship provides full-time graduate students (master’s and doctoral level) who are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines up to three years of funding and support.
  • International Federation of University Women Fellowship
    Applies to women seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees (including foreign students).

Click here for updated information about current grant and fellowship offers from NASA.

More Resources

You can find more scholarships and fellowships at these websites:

Do you know of other scholarship and fellowship opportunities? Contact us or share them in our comments section!

Picture courtesy 401K 2012 (flickr)

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Advice to Students

Apply to as many schools as you possibly can. Maintain your focus but cast a wide net in order to increase your choices when it comes time to accepting offers. Be sure to research the specific characteristics of each program, such as degree length, faculty, class sizes, fellowship opportunities, research specialties etc. as these factors may drastically influence your decision. — Crystal Bailey, Education and Careers Program Manager at the American Physical Society, Podcast Episode #2

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