GRFP applicants are required to self-certify that they meet various qualifications to receive the Fellowship. Specifically, to be eligible for the GRFP award, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements by the application due date.

  • Be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States of America
  • Have an intention to enroll in or be already enrolled in a full-time, research-based, graduate degree program in an eligible STEM field
  • Have not accepted a GRFP award previously
  • If previously offered a GRFP award, have declined by the prescribed deadline
  • Have not previously applied to GRFP while being enrolled in a graduate degree program
  • Have never earned a doctoral degree
  • Have never earned a masters’, professional, or bachelor’s-masters’ degree in any discipline, except if returning to graduate school after a continuous gap of at least two years
  • Not be a present NSF employee

Finally, applicants must demonstrate that they have been accepted in a graduate degree program at the time of accepting GRFP, by the May 1 deadline of the award acceptance year. The awardees must enroll in accredited US institutions of higher education by the fall term of award acceptance year.

Number of Times an Individual May Apply

  • An undergrad senior and a student with a bachelor’s degree can apply prior to starting a graduate degree program
  • A graduate student who is currently enrolled in a graduate degree program is permitted to apply only once to the GRFP, i.e., such a student can apply in the first year or at the beginning of the second year of his/her graduate degree program
  • Beginning with the 2020 competition (Fall 2019 application deadline), students seeking a combined bachelor’s–masters’ degree are allowed only one opportunity to apply to GRFP; that is, they will not be eligible to reapply as a doctoral student in the future
  • Applications that are withdrawn by November 15 of the application year don’t count toward the one-time graduate application limit. Applications withdrawn after November 15 count toward this one-time limit
  • Applications that are returned by NSF without review do not count toward the one-time graduate application limit
  • There is a limited application window for returning graduate students to apply for GRFP. Students who have (i) finished more than one academic year in a graduate degree program; (ii) previously earned a master’s degree; or (iii) earned a professional degree (e.g., law, medicine) are qualified to apply only if:
    • they had a continuous gap of at least two years in their graduate studies immediately before the application deadline; and
    • are not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the time of application deadline

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