What are Fellowships?
A fellowship is a monetary award where the government or private organization pay your tuition and stipend for part of your graduate education.
Why Should I Care?
- $$$ Fellowships often pay a larger stipend than what your university may offer.
- Fellowships make it easier for you to get into labs because your advisor doesn’t have to pay you out of their grant money or have you serve as a teaching assistant.
- A lot of fellowship application materials are similar to graduate school applications. Applying to fellowships can help you prepare early for graduate applications!
- Fellowships also pay for your tuition which helps your department hire more people and admit more students into their program.
What are some common fellowships chemists apply to?
- NSF GRFP: https://www.nsfgrfp.org/
- NDSEG: https://ndseg.sysplus.com/
- Hertz: https://www.hertzfoundation.org/the-fellowship/
- Ford Foundation: https://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/FordFellowships/index.htm
- NIH – https://researchtraining.nih.gov/career/graduate
- NIJ – https://nij.ojp.gov/funding/fellowships/graduate-research-fellowship-program
- Ford Foundation – https://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/FordFellowships/index.htm
- EPA – https://www.epa.gov/careers/research-fellowships-and-scholarships#fellow
- ACS Resources: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/students/graduate/scholarships.html
What needs to go in the application materials?
This varies by fellowship! Follow the specific guidelines and formatting requirements on the website for each fellowship.
- Research Proposal – Outline the work you are hoping to pursue in grad school. This proposal needs to be specific enough to show that you know what you are doing, but broad enough to be understood by a chemist who may not work in the exact same area of research.
- Personal Statement – Describe your previous research/science experiences, why you want to go to grad school, and why having a fellowship would help you achieve your goals.
- Letters of Recommendation – These recommendations will likely be from the same recommenders you are using for grad school applications.
- Transcripts and Test Scores – Check requirements early to see if they require official reports or if unofficial versions are fine for the application.
- Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae – Make sure to include your research/work experience, presentations and publications, even if these experiences are mentioned elsewhere in your application.
- Alex Lang runs a great resource for the NSF GRFP: https://www.alexhunterlang.com/nsf-fellowship
- MIT has a website with some advice for NSF, NDSEG, and Hertz: https://oge.mit.edu/finances/fellowships/fellowship-tips/tips-for-specific-fellowships/
- Ask your research advisors/mentors for peer review. You can ask grad student mentors as well as professors!
- Ask around your department to see if they have fellowship winners who would be willing to peer review your materials.