NSF Programs for Graduate Students

National Science Foundation (NSF) offers several Special Programs for Graduate Students.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) and Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) opportunities are briefly summarized here.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $37,000 and a cost of education allowance of $16,000 to the institution.

Open to: Graduate students who have completed no more than one academic year of full-time graduate study and senior undergraduate students who plan to be enrolled in an accredited United States graduate institution by fall following selection (see detailed requirements for Applicant Eligibility). Please note: to be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.

Proposal Due Dates: October annually – deadlines vary by field of study

Support Documents and Information:

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) opportunities

NSF DDRI awards provide funding for doctoral students to improve the quality of dissertation research. These grants provide funds for items not normally available through the student's university and may include costs associated with travel, data collection activities, equipment, subject payments, and materials/supplies.

Open to: Doctoral students at the appropriate stage of their academic career to enable submission of a finalized dissertation proposal, most typically very near, or having advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Programs open to DDRI proposals include (ordered by submission deadline):

January 21, 2025; third Tuesday in January annuallyResearch on the Science and Technology Enterprise
May 15 and December 15 annuallyArctic (Arctic DDRIG) Arctic Social Sciences, Arctic System Sciences, and Arctic Observing Network (DDRIG)
July 15 and January 15 annuallyLinguistics (Ling-DDRI)
September 15 and February 15 annuallyLinguistics: Dynamic Language Infrastructure (DLI-DDRI)
July 20 and January 20 annuallyBiological Anthropology (BA-DDRIG)
August 3 annuallyScience and Technology Studies
August 15 and January 15 annuallyCultural Anthropology (CA-DDRIG)
August 18 and January 18 annuallyDecision, Risk and Management Sciences (DRMS-DDRIG)
August 18 and January 18 annuallyEconomics
November 1, 2023 The American Sociological Association (ASA DDRIG) – The Sociology DDRIG program has transferred from NSF to ASA
Full Proposal Accepted AnytimeArchaeology (Arch-DDRI)
Full Proposal Accepted AnytimeHuman-Environment and Geographical Sciences (HEGS-DDRI)