This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see
for Education and Human Resources
Division of Graduate Education
NSF provides support to individual graduate
students, postdoctoral fellows, and institutions to improve graduate and
postdoctoral education and to promote strength, diversity, and vitality
in the science and engineering workforce. The Division of Graduate Education
(DGE) provides the Foundation’s focus to promote strong and innovative
graduate education that will develop the Nation’s future leadership
in all the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields
supported by NSF.
1. Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF)
GRFs promote the strength and diversity of the Nation’s science
and engineering base and offer recognition and 3 years of support for advanced
study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students annually in all
fields of science, mathematics, and engineering supported by NSF. To be
eligible for this nationwide merit competition, an individual must be a
citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States and be at
or near the beginning of graduate study.
2. Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K–12 Education (GK–12)
In order to strengthen K–12 science and mathematics education, provide
pedagogical training and experience for graduate students, and enhance links
between K–12 and higher education levels, NSF initiated the GK–12
Program in 1999. GK–12 projects support graduate and advanced undergraduate
science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) students as content
resources for K–12 teachers. These fellows assist teachers in the
science and mathematics content of their teaching; demonstrate key science
and mathematics concepts; and gain the pedagogical skills necessary at all
education levels. The program links the acknowledged excellence of U.S.
graduate education with the excitement and critical needs of K–12
learning and teaching, and promotes interest in teaching and learning practices
among graduate-level institutions.
Only academic institutions that grant master’s or doctoral degrees
in STEM fields may submit proposals. GK–12 fellows are selected by
awardee institutions and must be (1) citizens, nationals, or permanent residents
of the United States and (2) graduate students enrolled in STEM programs
or advanced undergraduate STEM majors who have demonstrated a strong proficiency
in mathematics and science.
3. Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT)
NSF places high priority on the preparation of Ph.D.s who are equipped
with the multidisciplinary background and the technical, professional, and
personal skills essential to address the career demands of the future. To
meet these needs, NSF created IGERT, an agency-wide graduate education program.
Unlike graduate fellowships, for which individuals apply, IGERT considers
only proposals from institutions that offer doctoral degrees.
The primary goal of the IGERT Program is to enable the development of
innovative graduate education activities that are research-based and that
will produce scientists and engineers who are well prepared for a broad
spectrum of career opportunities. IGERT integrates research and education
with emphasis on experimentation to yield a variety of new models for a
paradigm shift in graduate education. Projects supported should incorporate
the following features:
- a comprehensive, doctorate-level multidisciplinary research theme
that serves as the foundation for graduate education activities;
that integrate the multidisciplinary research theme with innovative educational
opportunities, including training in the responsible
conduct of research and interactions between students and faculty;
- an educational
environment that exposes students to state-of-the-art research instrumentation
- an institutional strategy and operational plan for student
recruitment, with special consideration for efforts aimed at members of
in science and engineering, to ensure preparation of a diverse science
and engineering workforce; and
- a well-defined strategy for assessment of
4. NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science and Engineering (Including
Special Fellowship Opportunities for Scientists from NATO Partner Countries)
At the request of the U.S. Department of State, NSF administers a program
of NATO postdoctoral fellowships to promote closer collaboration among scientists
and engineers of member and NATO partner countries. Approximately 25 awards
are made each year to U.S. institutions on behalf of scientists and engineers
from NATO partner countries to enable them to conduct research at institutions
in the United States.
Eligibility Requirements for NSF-NATO Fellowships
Scientists and engineers from NATO partner countries who are within 5
years of their doctoral degree are eligible to be nominated by a scientific
advisor at a U.S. institution.
5. Travel Grants for NATO Advanced Study Institutes (ASI)
NSF awards travel grants of $1,000 each to enable U.S. science and engineering
graduate students and junior postdoctorates to attend NATO Advanced Study
Institutes held in NATO member or partner countries of Europe. These 2-
to 3-week instructional courses, which are conducted by noted scientists
and engineers, are scheduled throughout the year, although the majority
of them are held during the summer.
Eligibility Requirements for NATO Advanced Study Institutes
The director of a NATO Advanced Study Institute may nominate a U.S. citizen,
national, or permanent resident who is a graduate student or who has received
a Ph.D. within the past 3 years and has been accepted at a NATO institute.