National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

Multiple Locations,
United States
Term: Academic Year

Up to three years of financial support for students pursuing doctoral studies in science, engineering, mathematics and social sciences

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (NSF GRFP) recognize and support 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. Supported fields also include many social science disciplines, such as Psychology, International Relations, Economics, Sociology, Public Policy, and many more.

Fellows benefit from a generous three-year annual living stipend of along with an allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

NSF Fellows are expected to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. Applications will be reviewed by panels of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other professional experts in graduate education. Each application is reviewed independently on the basis of merit using all available information in the completed application, paying special attention to both intellectual merit and broader impact review criteria.

A video presentation on details of the program, and the application process, is available and may be downloaded in PDF format. Please see the GRFP Solicitation NSF 20-587 for more details on the program.

Important Changes to the 2023 Application

  • Currently enrolled second-year graduate students are strongly advised to provide official Registrar-issued transcripts as part of their application.
  • Reference letter writers must use the site ( to register in and submit reference letters through the Reference Letter System. Reference letters are due October 27 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).
  • Applicants and reference letter writers requiring accessibility accommodation are asked to notify the GRF Operations Center at least four weeks before the deadline to coordinate assistance with NSF in submitting the application or reference letter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for NSF 20-587, Applicants to FY 2021 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Apply here


To be eligible for the NSF GRFP, you must:

  • be a US citizen, US national, or permanent resident;
  • intend to pursue a research-based Master's or Ph.D. program in a GRFP-supported field;
  • be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited United States graduate institution, with a US campus, by fall following selection;
  • be at an early stage in your graduate career;
  • have completed no more than one academic year of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent);
  • Graduate students are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted either in the first year or in the second year of graduate school.

NSF GRF Formatting

As of August 2020, NSF has changed some of the formatting for GRF statements this year. The required formatting is now:

  • Standard 8.5" x 11" page size
  • Times New Roman font for all text, Cambria Math font for equations, Symbol font for non-alphabetic characters (it is recommended that equations and symbols be inserted as an image), no smaller than 11-point, except text that is part of an image
  • 1" margins on all sides, no text inside 1" margins (no header, footer, name, or page number)
  • No less than single-spacing (approximately 6 lines per inch). Do not use line spacing options such as "exactly 11 point," that are less than single spaced.

Please see the NSF website for additional information.

Fact Sheet

Social Sciences, STEM
Columbia Alumna/us, Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Senior, U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident
Fellowship Type:
Postgraduate Degree-Seeking
Multiple Locations,
United States
North America
Academic Year

Dates & Deadlines

Academic Year
Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 16, 2023
Deadlines vary by academic field. Applications are due at 5:00 p.m. local time of the applicant’s mailing address. NSF-GRFP deadline for receipt of reference letters is October 27th by 5pm ET/NYC time.