NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program 

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides three-year graduate research fellowships in science, mathematics, and engineering, including Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science awards. Fellowships are awarded for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the mathematical, physical, biological, behavioral and social sciences; engineering; the history of science and the philosophy of science; and for research-based Ph.D. degrees in science education. The NSF highly encourages minority students to apply. Fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of their graduate study at any appropriate, accredited, non-profit U.S. institution or appropriate international institution of higher education offering advanced degrees in science, mathematics, or engineering is considered eligible. 


  • Three (3) years of stipend, currently $34,000 per year, disbursed over a five-year period while student is on “active” tenure.
  • $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the home institution per year of “active” tenure.
  • Opportunities for international research through GROW and federal internships through GRIP
  • Supercomputing resources through XSEDE

Fellowships cannot be held or combined concurrently with other federal or government-funded fellowships (e.g., Boren, Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, SMART, etc.)


  • U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents
  • Undergraduate seniors and bachelor’s degree holders may apply before enrolling in a degree-granting graduate program.
  • Graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted in the first year or at the beginning of the second year of their degree program.
  • Individuals pursuing a master’s degree simultaneously with the bachelor’s degree (joint bachelor’s-master’s degree) must have completed three (3) years in the joint program and are limited to one application to GRFP; they will not be eligible to apply again as a doctoral degree student.
  • Individuals holding joint bachelor’s-master’s degrees currently enrolled as first-year doctoral students, who have not previously applied as graduate students and enrolled in the doctoral program the semester following award of the joint degree, may apply as first-year doctoral students only.
  • There is a limited opportunity for returning graduate students to apply for a graduate research fellowship. Individuals who have (i) completed more than one academic year in a degree-granting program, (ii) earned a previous master’s degree of any kind (including bachelor’s-master’s degree), or (iii) earned a professional degree (e.g., law, medicine) are eligible only if: 1) they have had a continuous interruption in graduate study of at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the application deadline; and 2) are not enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program at the application deadline. ​​
  • Applications withdrawn by November 15 of the application year do not count toward the one-time graduate application limit. Applications withdrawn after November 15 count toward this one-time limit.
  • Applications not reviewed by NSF (returned without review) do not count toward the one-time graduate application limit

Eligible Fields of Study

  • Chemistry
  • Computer & Information Science & Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Materials Research
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Psychology – except clinical or counseling
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM Education & Learning Research
  • Other: see full list of fields in the Appendix of the 2021 program solicitation

Ineligible Fields of Study

  • M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D. and other joint professional degree-science programs
  • Medical, dental, law, and public health programs
  • M.B.A., M.P.H., M.S.W., J.D., M.D., D.D.S. and other practice-oriented professional degree programs 
  • Clinical study of any kind, including patient-centered research or research with disease-related goals. Eligible exceptions:
    • bioengineering research with diagnosis or treatment specific goals which apply engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine;
    • bioengineering research to aid persons with disabilities
  • Other ineligible fields of study: consult Appendix of the 2021 program solicitation

Application Information

Application Materials & Evaluation

The Research.gov application consists of the following:

  • Personal, Relevant Background, and Future Goals Statement (3-page maximum)*
  • Graduate Research Statement (2-page maximum)*
  • Undergraduate and Graduate (if applicable) Transcripts
  • Three (3) Letters of Reference (uploaded separately to research.gov by selected referees)

*Applications, and specifically the two statements, will be evaluated according to the NSF’s stated “Broader Impacts” and “Intellectual Merit” criteria. Familiarity with these criteria is strongly encouraged. Applicants are advised to read the 2021 program solicitation and to attend the information sessions and the grant-writing workshop series scheduled for July/August and again in September/October 2020. Early consultation with advisors, letter writers, and Katie Li, Coordinating Official, and review of the below Applicant Resources strongly advised. 


The 2021 application must be submitted in Research.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time, as determined by applicant’s mailing address, on the following dates:

  • October 19, 2020: Geosciences, Life Sciences
  • October 20, 2020: Computer & Information Sciences & Engineering, Engineering, Materials Research
  • October 22, 2020: Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM Education & Learning
  • October 23, 2020: Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy

Letters of reference are due via Research.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on October 30.

Information Session

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will offer an information session in September with a comprehensive overview of the GRFP that will emphasize the eligibility criteria and provide guidance on how to competitively frame the statements to meet the agency’s funding priorities. More details to come soon.

Grant-Writing Workshop Series

Summer 2020 Grant-writing Workshop 

Part 1: Overview of the grant-writing process for GRFP applicants
Date: Tuesday, July 28 at 10:00 a.m. (EST)
Presenter: Prof. Kathryn Temple
Location: via Zoom
Limit: 25

RSVP by July 27

Part 2: Round-table Discussion and Critique of Statements
Date: Tuesday, August 11
Presenters: Prof. Kathryn Temple
Location: Zoom
Limit: 25

RSVP by August 7

Special Sessions: Open-Writing with Individual Assistance from Writing Center Tutors

The Writing Center offers appointments with tutors who are grant-writing specialists (designated in the tutor’s bio which pops up when you schedule an appointment); you can also sign up for any other open slot, since all tutors should be prepared to help with both your personal statement and your research statement.  Follow the below link to setup an account and schedule an appointment: http://writingcenter.georgetown.edu/

Get to writing!


Applicant Resources

Resources Provided by the Graduate School

  • NSF GRFP Workshop:  The Grant-writing Process — Prof. Kathryn Temple, September 2017
  • NSF GRFP Information Session:  Program Overview — Prof. William Hahn, September 2017

Resources Provided or Endorsed by the NSF

  • NSFGRFP.org, the application processing center, is a great resource for applicants and referees
  • VideoApplying to the NSF GRFP – NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Resources Provided by Other Institutions or Former Fellows

“Breaking News” & Other Live Guidance on Social Media


Please contact Katie Li, Georgetown’s NSF GRF Coordinating Official.

Current Fellows

Current NSF Research Fellows
Fellow Award Year Degree Program Research Mentor
Robert Cortes 2017   Ph.D.   Psychology    Research into understanding and enhancing human cognition, by utilizing brain stimulation to enhance various cognitive abilities and reveal the core functional brain networks that support them. Dr. Adam Green
Molly McEntee 2016 Ph.D. Biology Examining female reproductive behavior in the face of allied sexual coercion in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins have a complex, promiscuous, and coercive mating system characterized by high rates of male aggression. Her dissertation will examine the costs of reproduction to females in this system, as well as the behavioral strategies used to mitigate these costs, such as female cooperation, and female mate choice. Dr. Janet Mann
Caitlin Karniski 2015 Ph.D. Biology Examining the reproductive senescence–the decline in reproductive output with age–in bottlenose dolphins in order to understand why some species have evolved menopause, while most others continue to reproduce throughout life; and how social and behavioral dynamics change in light of a reduced reproductive value. Dr. Janet Mann
Marissa Laws 2018 Ph.D. Neuroscience Pending TBD
Jewel Lipps 2017 Ph.D. Biology Pending Dr. Gina Wimp
Marisa Putnam 2015 Ph.D. Pyschology How children’s parasocial relationships are associated with gender and stereotypes in the context of learning early STEM concepts. Dr. Sandra Calvert
Shawn Rhoads 2017 Ph.D. Psychology  Pending Dr. Abigail Marsh
Kathryn Sanchez 2015 Ph.D. Biology How to better characterize neuronal/glial interactions that are responsible for maintaining brain homeostasis, with a particular focus in matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and how glia can release these enzymes, which in turn can cleave GPCRs and other molecular targets to impact neuronal structure and plasticity.  Dr. Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss
Kelly Michaelis 2014 Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience How different areas of the brain contribute to the processing of speech, in an effort to understand how the different brain regions contribute to the language network.  Dr. Peter Turkeltaub
Vivianne Morrison 2014 Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience The role of retinoic acid and retinal dehydrogenase 2 in oligodendrocyte biology. Dr. Jeffrey Huang
Vaughn Shirey 2018 Ph.D. Biology Pending Dr. Leslie Ries
Margaret (“Maggie”) Weng 2018 Ph.D. Biology Pending Dr. Sarah Johnson
Shannon White 2017 Ph.D. Tumor Biology Pending Dr. Chunling Yi