Eligibility Requirements for NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
The Graduate Research Fellowship Operations Center is responsible for processing applications and responding to questions about the program. For questions concerning these guidelines, contact the Graduate Research Fellowship Operations Center, (866) 673-4737, international (202) 331-3542, or firstname.lastname@example.org. However, a final eligibility decision will be determined only on the basis of a completed submitted application.
Organization Limit: Fellowship applications must be submitted by the prospective Fellow. Applicants must register with Fastlane (https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/) prior to submitting an application and must affiliate with an accredited United States university, college, or non-profit academic institution or appropriate international institution of higher education offering advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics prior to activating the Fellowship award.
Limit on Number of Applications per PI: 1
Applicants are limited to only one application in this competition.
Additional Eligibility Info:
The three eligibility requirements for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program -- 1) citizenship, 2) degree requirements, and 3) field of study -- are described below. Applicants are advised to read the entire program solicitation carefully to be sure that the requirements are interpreted properly. Applicants must exercise judgment in assessing eligibility.
Eligibility will be determined only by review of a complete, submitted application.
Applicants must be United States citizens or nationals, or permanent resident aliens of the United States.The term "national" designates a native resident of a commonwealth or territory of the United States, such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands. It does not refer to a citizen of another country who has applied for U.S. citizenship.
2. DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of their graduate study. Below are general guidelines for determining eligibility according to the degree requirements criterion.
Applicants are expected to have adequate preparation to begin graduate study and research by summer or fall 2009. In most cases, this will be demonstrated by receipt of a bachelor's degree earned prior to Fall 2009.
Individuals are typically eligible to apply:
During the senior year of college
After graduating from college but prior to entering graduate school
During the first year of graduate school
Prior to completing the first term of the second year of graduate school.
Applicants must have completed no more than twelve (12) months of full-time graduate study or its equivalent as of August 31, 2008. Full time graduate study is as defined by the universities attended.
Applicants who have completed part-time graduate study must have completed no more than twenty-four (24) semester hours or thirty-six (36) quarter hours or their equivalent as of August 31, 2008.
All post-baccalaureate, graduate-level study in an NSF-supported field is counted toward the allowed twelve months of completed graduate study. This includes all Masters's and Ph.D. programs in these disciplines.
Applicants in joint BS/MS programs are typically eligible to apply prior to the completion of any further graduate study.
In four-year joint programs, applicants may apply in the fourth year and after the completion of the program. Completion of any further graduate study outside the joint program will disqualify an applicant.
In five-year joint programs, applicants may apply in the fourth and fifth years of the program and after the completion of the program. Completion of any further graduate study outside the joint program will disqualify an applicant.
Definition of Completed Graduate Study:
Applicants may have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate study or its equivalent by the August 31, 2008.
This twelve-month limit applies to the entire graduate career, and is not limited to the applicant’s current program.
All post-baccalaureate, graduate level graduate study in any NSF-supported field is counted towards the allowed twelve months of graduate study. This includes:
All Master’s programs (including research-based or coursework-based programs, and “terminal” programs as well as those that are contiguous with a Ph.D. program)
All Doctoral programs
Post-baccalaureate, graduate-level coursework in an NSF-supported field completed outside a degree program
Post-baccalaureate, graduate-level coursework in a non-NSF-supported field that is nevertheless related to the proposed graduate program
Both full-time and part-time graduate programs
Graduate study is considered “completed” when a term/semester/quarter is finished and grades have been assigned.Research-oriented work experience in an academic or similar environment that is closely related to the current or proposed program of graduate study may be considered as equivalent to graduate coursework for eligibility purposes. A combination of relevant work experience and coursework may render an applicant ineligible.
In some cases, applicants who have completed more than twelve months of graduate study may be considered eligible if there are certain extenuating circumstances. Acceptable extenuating circumstances typically put an applicant who has completed more than twelve months of graduate study in a position comparable to someone who has completed no more than twelve months of graduate study in the proposed field.
Extenuating circumstances may include:
An interruption in graduate study of more than two years prior to November 2008 due to medical, personal, or family reasons.
If the interruption includes workplace research experience that is related to the proposed graduate study, it might not be considered an extenuating circumstance.
A significant change of field
A “significant change of field” is typically a major field of study change (higher level categories listed in the NSF Fields of Study, see Appendix).
The following are not considered significant changes of field:
Changing focus within the same major field of study
Starting a new graduate program at a new institution or with a new advisor, but continuing in the same major field of study as in the previous graduate study
Changing from a non-NSF-supported program to an NSF-supported program when there is demonstrable continuity between the previous and proposed graduate study
Changing major fields of study but with demonstrable continuity between the previous and proposed graduate study. Interdisciplinary programs of study may qualify as a significant change but the new program of study must include a majority of effort in fields other than those in the previous program of study
All extenuating circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis and are determined only upon review of a complete, submitted application.
Categories of applicants that are always ineligible:
Those who earned a Ph.D. in a science, mathematics, or engineering field, or any medical degree, such as an M.D., D.D.S., or D.V.M. after October 1, 2003
Those who have already received and held tenure as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow (previously known as an NSF Pre-Doctoral Fellow).
Those who do not have US citizen, US national or permanent resident alien status by the application deadline.
3. FIELD OF STUDY
Fellowships are awarded for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics supported by the National Science Foundation (See NSF-Supported Fields of Study, Appendix and the NSF Grant and Proposal Guide, NSF 08-01). The guidelines below should be used to assess eligibility according to the field of study criterion.
Applications for interdisciplinary programs of study and research are eligible for the Graduate Research Fellowship, provided the applicant meets all other eligibility guidelines and requirements.
Research with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is normally not supported. Animal models of such conditions or the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also are not eligible for support. However, research in bioengineering, with diagnosis- or treatment-related goals, that applies engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine while advancing engineering knowledge is eligible for support. Bioengineering research to aid persons with disabilities also is eligible. For further information about the National Science Foundation, see the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide Introduction Section A, About the National Science Foundation.
Applications in a policy science or in an education field (e.g., physics education) are eligible only if the applicant is pursuing a research oriented master's or Ph.D. degree in the NSF-supported discipline.
Categories of study that are always ineligible:
Clinical, counseling, business, or management fields, social work, education (except in science education Ph.D.), or history (except in history of science).
Practice-oriented professional degree programs, joint science-professional degree programs (MD/PhD and JD/PhD), and medical, dental, law, or public health programs.
Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science Awards
The Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science awards are for women who intend to pursue graduate research degrees in Engineering or Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Additional funding for these awards is provided by the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and the Directorate for Engineering. Eligibility, application, and review criteria are the same as for applicants in other fields.
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