Apply for Fellowships

Female scientist running tests

A surprisingly small percentage of students who apply to graduate school also apply for fellowships (for example, graduate fellowships awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes, and so on). If you are awarded a fellowship, acceptance to a school of your choice is almost automatic, for at least two reasons: (1) one who receives a fellowship is obviously a good student; and (2) university funds for supporting graduate students are often limited; hence, a fellowship may allow your acceptance into a program that otherwise could not offer you support.

Investigate all relevant fellowships. Look carefully at “obscure” fellowships that may describe you in terms of interests, gender, choice of university, and so on. Remember that if you do not get a fellowship, you still should be awarded support through research and/or teaching assistantships. 

If you're interested in applying for a Graduate Research fellowship through NSF, follow this link: GRFs go to students entering grad school in the coming fall (currently seniors or in the workforce) or first and second year graduate students. In many fields, preference is given to incoming graduate students or first year students. The deadline is typically early November and seniors should work on this fellowship application as soon as possible. A lot of helpful information is also at

Other Graduate Financial Aid Resources:

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

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