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NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program 

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or in STEM education.

This support includes an annual stipend and a cost-of-education allowance towards tuition and fees.

The overall goal of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program is to recruit individuals into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; to select, recognize, and financially support individuals who have demonstrated the potential to be high achieving scientists and engineers, early in their careers; and to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. NSF Fellows are anticipated to become experts whose work contributed significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.

MIT is proud to have over 650 students participating in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

Application process

For more information, please see the NSF GRFP website for submission requirements, formatting, and links to the application modules. Please review the solicitation document as well as their website to make sure you adhere to  guidelines and requirements.

MIT’s fellowships team has created a guidelines document to answer fellows’ and applicants’ questions and to layout the various procedures and policies of MIT and NSF. The fellowship team’s August 2023 Newsflash and September 2023 Newsflash includes information on this year’s NSF GRFP solicitation, application timeline, resources to prepare your essays, and other things to note.


NSF GRFP at MIT Webinar – Slides* and panopto recording.

*You will need to have an MIT google account to access the slides – please find more information here


Late July/AugustProgram solicitation released and application available online.
October* – Deadlines are typically in mid to late October. Check NSF GRFP’s homepage for field-specific deadlines.
April – Awards announced in early April.
May – Fellowship acceptance deadline in early May.

*Review dates on the NSF GRFP website carefully; there are different deadlines for different fields of study.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.
  • Intend to enroll or be enrolled in a research-based master’s or doctoral degree program in an eligible Field of Study in STEM or STEM education.
  • Have never previously accepted a Graduate Research Fellowship.
  • If previously offered a Graduate Research Fellowship, have declined by the acceptance deadline.
  • Have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program.
  • Have never earned a doctoral or terminal degree in any field.
  • Have never earned a master’s or professional degree in any field, or completed more than one academic year in a graduate degree-granting program, unless (i) returning to graduate study after an interruption of two or more consecutive years immediately preceding the application deadline, and; (ii) not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the application deadline.
  • Not be a current NSF employee.

Funding at MIT

Five-year fellowship, with three of the years (“On Tenure” status) providing the following:

  • $37,000 stipend
  • $12,000 cost-of-education (COE) allowance (tuition award)
  • Your university supplements all shortfalls for tuition, stipend, health insurance, and mandatory fees.

The student is responsible for securing funding for the remaining two years (“On Reserve” status)