Nationally Competitive Fellowships

External funding for graduate students is provided by government agencies, private foundations, and corporations.  The Office of Graduate Education supports both graduate students and undergraduates as they search for graduate funding opportunities and write competitive applications. There are opportunities for international students.

There are a number of large fellowship opportunities available to new, early-stage, and dissertation stage graduate students.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION WITH THE ADVISOR: HERE 

Consultations are available for all current students and alumni of graduate and undergraduate programs. Incoming confirmed students are highly encouraged to schedule a consultation prior to arriving on campus. Prospective students may use the resources below, but are not eligible for a consultation until they have confirmed that they are matriculating. 

* If you have been awarded an external fellowship or if you are applying to any external fellowship please notify the Office of Graduate Education.

Search Tools

The Prestigious Fellowships lists contain discipline, award, citizenship requirements, and academic profile information for more than 100 funding opportunities (listed by due date):

Consider beginning to prepare for an application at least two months before the due date. This will give you enough time to collect, create, and revise the materials required for a strong application. 

OVERVIEW: GrantForward (overview video) includes a comprehensive database of funding opportunities across disciplines, a worldwide sponsor directory, and additional sources of pre-solicitation and funded awards.  Advanced utilities allow the user to save curated searches, get funding alerts and receive grant recommendations based on research interests.  

GETTING STARTED: Please see HERE for account creation and user’s guide resources. If you have any questions about the service, please contact Michelle Simkulet, simkum@rpi.edu in the RPI Office for Research.

Explore the amazing search tools created by other universities, especially STEM colleges. Filters are particularly strong at the following resources:

Investigate the professional organizations associated with your discipline. They often fund fellowships and awards, including for international students.

Please contact the Office of Graduate Education if you need any assistance understanding the solicitations or requests for proposals.

 

Program Specific Resources

The NSF GRFP provides three years of tuition and salary over a five year period for graduate students in over 30 Master's and PhD STEM fields. Applicants are encouraged to participate in the NSF GRFP Bootcamp offered each summer. 5 weeks of self paced assignments will be sent to you in either June or August.  (Registration for the summer 2024 sessions will be available in spring of 2024.) Application feedback for 2023 applicants is available up until the October deadlines. Email madige@rpi.edu for information. 

The National Science Foundation offers a number of resources to assist applicants understand the program and develop strong applications:

Additionally, applicants may benefit from reviewing the successful applications of previous applicants. Rensselaer Fellows have generously shared their application documents and feedback with our community for viewing only. RPI email address required:

MATLS - Essance Ray 

MATH - Jesica Bauer

ELEC - Meaghan Podlaski

ELEC - Christopher Wiedeman

ENVIR - Keenan Ganz 

AERO ECON - Cameron Smith

The Department of Defense has numerous programs that support graduate level students. Below is information about the two largest programs.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) 

The United States Congress has established the NDSEG to increase the number of citizens with PhD’s in science and engineering relevant to the needs of the various Department of Defense agencies. These agencies include the U.S. Navy (including the Marines), Space Force, Air Force, and Army. (Note: The fall 2023 application site is http://ndseg.sysplus.com/NDSEG/Applicants/How-to-Apply This is a change from the previous year.)

BENEFITS: The program provides $40,000 per year stipend (salary), tuition, travel allowance, health insurance, and conference participation for 3 years.

ELIGIBILITY:U.S. Citizens or nationals (no permanent residents) - Bachelor’s degree by August of year award is accepted -  Undergraduate senior, 1st or 2nd year graduate student with three years of graduate school left in August of the year of acceptance

Pursuit of PhD in one of the following fields: Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering *Astrodynamics *Biomedical Engineering *Biosciences (includes toxicology) *Chemical Engineering *Chemistry *Civil Engineering *Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences (Note: PsyD programs are not eligible) *Computer and Computational Sciences *Electrical Engineering *Geosciences (includes terrain, water, and air) *Materials Science and Engineering (including Materials for Extreme Environments) *Mathematics *Mechanical Engineering *Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering (includes undersea systems) *Oceanography (includes ocean acoustics, remote sensing, and marine meteorology) *Physics (including optics) *Space Physics

The following document is a tool you may use to collect all the information you need and create strong application materials. Feedback from the fellowship advisor (madige@rpi.edu) at least one week before the application deadline is recommended.

DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT

Additionally, applicants may benefit from reviewing the successful applications of previous applicants. Rensselaer Fellows have generously shared their application documents and feedback with our community for viewing only. RPI email address required:

CSCI Rozek 

Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) 

The Department of Defense has established the SMART Scholars program to provide STEM students with the tools needed to pursue higher education and begin a rewarding career with the DoD.

BENEFITS: The program provides $25,000 - $38,000 per year stipend (salary), tuition, and health insurance for up to 5 years. Students must be able to participate in summer internships and be willing to accept a civilian DoD position upon graduation. (1 year for each year funded)

ELIGIBILITY:U.S., Canadian, New Zealand, and U.K. citizens  Must need funding for at least one academic year. 

Enrolled in a degree granting program in one of the following fields at time of acceptance of award: Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering *Astrodynamics *Biomedical Engineering *Biosciences (includes toxicology) *Chemical Engineering *Chemistry *Civil Engineering *Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences (Note: PsyD programs are not eligible) *Computer and Computational Sciences *Electrical Engineering *Geosciences (includes terrain, water, and air) *Materials Science and Engineering (including Materials for Extreme Environments) *Mathematics *Mechanical Engineering *Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering (includes undersea systems) *Oceanography (includes ocean acoustics, remote sensing, and marine meteorology) *Physics (including optics) *Space Physics

Visit SMART Events for webinars and info sessions.

The following document is a tool you may use to collect all the information you need and create strong application materials. Feedback from the fellowship advisor (madige@rpi.edu)  at least one week before application deadline is recommended.

DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT

View the personal statement of a winning applicant:

MECL- Alexandra Vest 

AERO - Alexander Stillman

The Fulbright US Student Program provides grants for U.S. citizens to travel abroad for three purposes:

  • obtain a graduate degree
  • complete a study/research grant, often for thesis or dissertation research 
  • English Teaching Assistantship

Each country has a different number of grants, requirements, and preferred candidate profiles. Review the individual country pages for more details. The grantee and application statistics  provide a recent history of the competitiveness of each grant. Upcoming and pre-recorded webinars  are a great way to get an overview of the program.

Fulbright requires an internal RPI committee interview prior to the national deadline for all students matriculated on the October deadline. This is a formative process intended to provide feedback for revision before final submission.

Your Fulbright Program Advisor is available to support you through the entire application process. 

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must have attained a bachelor's degree before the grant begins.  Candidates remain eligible until a doctorate is earned. Post-doctoral candidates may apply to the Fulbright Scholars program.

Notification Deadline: August 15th, 2022 Students who do not meet this deadline will not be guaranteed a campus interview, but will still receive assistance from the Fulbright Program Advisor.

Campus Deadline:  September 1st, 2022 Students should submit to the Fulbright application site by this deadline to facilitate campus review. 

FINAL Fulbright Deadline: October 11th, 2022 Applications will not be accepted late: NO exceptions. 

Students are encouraged to work with the campus advisor regardless of participation in the on campus review process.

2022 Fulbright Recipient, Greg Parisi, has graciously shared his application materials for RPI students to view while preparing their own applications. 

Introducing Fulbright Affinity Groups: Fulbright participants and alumnae have formed groups around a number of commonalities. They include Fulbright Access (for students with disabilities), Fulbright Families (for those bringing families abroad), Fulbright HBCU (for those from HBCU institutions), Fulbright Latinx , Fulbright Lotus (Asians), Fulbright Noir (blacks), Fulbright Prism (LGBTQ+), and Fulbright Salam (Muslim). If you have a connection to one of these groups or would LIKE a connection to one of these groups, please visit the website. Networking with these groups may help you secure an affiliation for your Fulbright application.

Contact Betty Madigan: Madige@rpi.edu 

The National Institutes of Health offer a number of potential funding options for students. Many of these are applied to by RPI on behalf of the student. Your faculty member will work with Research Administration and Finance to submit to these programs. However, you will need to create proposal materials. Consider viewing the following which offer very helpful information on creating strong applications:

NIH GRANTS Youtube channel

Sample Applications & More

NIH F31 Made Simple (Arizona State U.)

NIH Panel Discussion (Michigan State U.) 

Boren Awards Travel abroad to learn a foreign language which will benefit you in a Federal Government position on graduate. You may do your research during this time. 

Knight-Hennessy Scholars (Stanford Graduate Programs)

Social Sciences Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship (20 minute overview) or Webinar (long version)

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