How to Fund your Graduate Studies
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How to Fund your Graduate Studies : An Overview of National Graduate Fellowships and How to Compete for Them. July 27, 2007. Office of Proposal Development Office of the Vice President for Research Robyn Pearson ( [email protected] ). For more information.

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How to Fund your Graduate Studies : An Overview of National Graduate Fellowships and How to Compete for Them

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How to fund your graduate studies an overview of national graduate fellowships and how to compete for them

How to Fund your Graduate Studies:An Overview of National Graduate Fellowships and How to Compete for Them

July 27, 2007

Office of Proposal Development

Office of the Vice President for Research

Robyn Pearson ([email protected])


For more information

For more information

  • For an electronic version of this presentation and background materials

    • Go to http://opd.tamu.edu/

    • Click on “Seminar Materials” then “Seminars by Date”

    • Click on today’s date

Office of Vice President for Research


How to fund your graduate studies

How to Fund Your Graduate Studies

  • Types of Fellowships

  • Why bother?

  • Where’s the $$$?

  • How to apply and win

    • Overview of the Process and Strategies

    • Examples

Office of Vice President for Research


Funding for graduate students

Funding for Graduate Students

  • Research Assistantships

    • Funded by faculty’s research funding

    • Typically funded through proposal process

  • Teaching Assistantships

    • Funded by department

    • Teaching-related responsibilities, separate from research

  • Graduate Fellowships

  • Dissertation Grants

Office of Vice President for Research


The continuum

The Continuum

Graduate School

Generic Fellowships

Dissertation Grants

Fellowships for Early Grad Students

Finish classes

Senior Year Undergrad

1st Year

Post-Doc

Dissertation Work

Office of Vice President for Research


Two types of fellowships

Two Types of Fellowships

  • Awards directly to Students

    • Students compete directly for award

    • Award is portable with student

    • Examples:

      • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

      • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship

      • J. Javits, Ford Foundation, Humane Studies Fellowships

      • Many targeted fellowships (e.g., Semiconductor Research Graduate Fellowship, Whitaker Fellowship for Biomedical Engineering, AT&T Fellowship, etc.)

Office of Vice President for Research


Two types of fellowships1

Two Types of Fellowships

  • Institutional Awards

    • Awarded to departments, programs, etc.

    • Students selected by department, program or faculty

    • Examples: Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need (GAANN), larger programs (IGERT, AGEP, etc.)

Office of Vice President for Research


Graduate fellowships why bother

Graduate Fellowships – why bother?

  • Guaranteed source of funding

  • Stipends generally much higher than department RAs (NSF stipend $30K/yr)

  • Fellowships are portable more autonomy in selecting advisor, research project

  • Fellowship can be path to a job (e.g., National Lab)

Office of Vice President for Research


Finding potential fellowships

Finding Potential Fellowships

  • Fellowship programs often targeted based on discipline, demographic group, career interests

    • Look for the fellowship programs that apply to you

  • Excellent web resources available

  • Talk to faculty in your department

Office of Vice President for Research


Finding potential fellowships1

Finding Potential Fellowships

  • Variety of funders

    • Federal agencies (NSF, DoD, NASA, NIH, EPA, NEH, USDA, Dept. of Ed., Dept. Homeland Security, etc.)

    • Foundations

    • Professional Organizations

    • Corporations

  • For various stages

    • Early Graduate training

    • Dissertation Grant

    • Post-doctoral

Office of Vice President for Research


Using the internet to find fellowships

Using the Internet to Find Fellowships

  • See OPD webpage

  • See handout

  • Two types of sites

    • Lists sorted by topic area or date

      • Cornell: http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/?p=132

    • Specific agency fellowships

      • DHS Graduate Fellowship: http://www.orau.gov/dhsed/

Office of Vice President for Research


Example national fellowships

Example National Fellowships

  • National Science Foundation, ~ 1000 awarded annually, usually due early November annually

    https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/

  • NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowships, ~ 50 new fellowships awarded annually, due February

    http://research.hq.nasa.gov/code_y/nra/current/Fellowship-ESS05/main.html

  • Department of Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships, ~ 200 awarded annually, due January http://www.asee.org/ndseg/index.cfm

  • EPA STAR and GRO Fellowships, ~ 115 awarded annually, due Oct. or Nov. annually http://es.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/

  • DHS, ~ 60 awarded annually due Jan. annually http://www.orau.gov/dhsed/

  • Dept. of Education, J. K. Javits Fellowships (48) due Oct. annually

    http://www.ed.gov/programs/jacobjavits/index.html

Office of Vice President for Research


National defense science and engineering graduate fellowship http www asee org ndseg

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowshiphttp://www.asee.org/ndseg/

  • Eligibility:

    • US citizen or national

    • Pursuing doctoral degree in, or closely related to, one of the following disciplines having the greatest benefit to national security:

GeosciencesMaterials Science and EngineeringMathematicsMechanical EngineeringNaval Architecture and Ocean EngineeringOceanography

Aeronautical and Astronautical Eng BiosciencesChemical EngineeringChemistryCivil EngineeringCognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sci. Computer and Computational ScienceElectrical EngineeringPhysics

Office of Vice President for Research


Fellowships for minorities

Fellowships for Minorities

  • Ford Foundation - Predoctoral Fellowships for Minorities. The $21,000/year fellowships are awarded to individual minority students who demonstrate superior scholarship and show promise for future achievement as scholars, researchers, and teachers. November deadline. http://www.nationalacademies.org/fellowships

  • American Sociological Association - Minority Fellowship Program. An annual stipend of $14,688 for up to three years for minority graduate students in the early stages of sociology graduate programs with emphasis on mental health issues and research. January deadline.http://asanet.org/page.ww?section=Funding&name=Minority+Fellowship+Program

  • GEM PhD Engineering Fellowship Program.Min $14, 000 for 5 years for engineering (M.S, PhD) and science (PhD)majors. Due November. http://www.gemfellowship.org/gem_fellowship/overview.php

Office of Vice President for Research


Fellowships for minorities1

Fellowships for Minorities

  • United Negro College Fund & Merck Foundation Science Initiative - Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships.Up to $42,000 stipend to assist African-American graduate students in completing coursework, conducting research, and preparing dissertation in the biomedical sciences. December deadline. http://www.uncf.org/merck/programs/grad.htm

  • Social Science Research Council and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-SSRC-Mellon Minority Fellowship Program.Up to $,5000 to increase number of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in the arts and sciences for students enrolled in Ph.D. programs in Mellon-designated fields. Citizenship: unspecified. Deadline: November (annual). http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/mellon/

  • National Physical Science Consortium Traditional Fellowships for Minorities and Women. $15,000 stipend for 2 to 3 years. Nov. deadline. http://www.npsc.org

Office of Vice President for Research


Fellowships for women

Fellowships for Women

  • American Association of University Women - International Fellowships. $18,000 awards to women graduate students studying in the United States who are not U.S. citizens. December deadline. http://www.aauw.org/fga/fellowships_grants/international.cfm

  • American Association of University Women - Selected Professions Fellowships. Approximately $5,000-12,000 awards for women in the final year of graduate study in historically under-represented professions, including Business Administration, Law, Medicine, Architecture, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering. January deadline. http://www.aauw.org/fga/fellowships_grants/selected.cfm

Office of Vice President for Research


Analysis of applicant instructions rfp

Analysis of Applicant Instructions/RFP

  • What are eligibility requirements?

  • When is the application due?

  • How many are awarded each year?

  • Apply through university or as individual?

  • What criteria are used to evaluate applications?

    • Check with faculty in your department (may have been on review panel)

    • Look at goals of funding organization

  • What are the required components of the application and what is application process?

  • Contact awarding organization if you have questions

Office of Vice President for Research


Typical application components

Typical Application Components

  • Biographical information/Resume

  • GRE scores

  • Transcript

  • Letters of Reference

  • Essay/Proposal

    • Discussion of proposed research

    • May include discussion of one or more research experiences

    • Follow guidelines to the letter

Office of Vice President for Research


Fellowship application is mini research proposal

Fellowship Application is “Mini-Research Proposal”

  • You are selling yourself and your ideas

  • Identify fellowship opportunities for which you are eligible

  • Analyze what they are looking for (review criteria)

  • Write best possible application

  • Gather and submit other required material (references, GRE scores, etc.)

Office of Vice President for Research


What are they looking for

What are They Looking For?

  • Will you further the goals of the funder?

  • Will you be a successful graduate student and researcher?

    • Do you understand the research process?

    • Do you do your homework?

      • i.e., read the literature in your area, understand previous work, etc.

    • Can you express your ideas well?

  • Is your selected area of research something they want to support?

    • Varies in importance depending on mission of funder

  • Are you one of the best candidates in the applicant pool?

Office of Vice President for Research


Putting together your application

Putting together your application

  • Find faculty mentor(s)

    • Faculty with whom you plan to do your graduate research

    • Faculty in your undergraduate department

    • Graduate coordinator in your department

    • They will provide advice on research plan, critique your writing

  • Ask for references early and check

  • Make sure GRE scores, transcripts, etc. will be available on time

Office of Vice President for Research


Writing strategies

Writing Strategies

  • Start early and get feedback from your peers and professors!

  • Write in a scholarly style

    • Make it clear you understand your subject

    • Cite references if allowed

  • Make it clear that you understand the research process

    • Clear hypothesis, goals, objectives

    • Discussion of your planned approach with sufficient detail to show your understanding of the topic

Office of Vice President for Research


Hotlinks to writing strategies

Hotlinks to Writing Strategies

  • Many resources available on how to write good proposals

  • See OPD website

    • “Grant Doctor” in Science Magazine

    • Agency-specific guides

    • Google

  • Excellent books on writing

    • Strunk and White (http://www.bartleby.com/141/)

    • The Art of Writing Proposals, by the Social Science Research Council, available online at http://www.ssrc.org/publications/

Office of Vice President for Research


Evaluation review criteria

Evaluation & Review Criteria

  • Read application, related information carefully

    • find out what they are looking for

  • Investigate goals and culture of funder

    • Reflect vision of the funding agency

Office of Vice President for Research


References

References

  • Select faculty who know you well

  • Select faculty who will give you a positive reference!

  • Undergraduate research experience great opportunity to develop references

  • Follow up and make sure they sent in your reference letter

Office of Vice President for Research


Strategies to win

Strategies to Win

  • Good grades and GRE scores help

    • GPAs typically 3.7 or higher but not always

  • Undergraduate research experience

  • Good essay answers

  • Great research proposal

  • Excellent references

Office of Vice President for Research


Example nsf graduate research fellowships

Example: NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

  • Typically due early November

  • 1000 to be awarded this year

  • For any research area funded by NSF

    • Includes Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as Science and Engineering

    • Look through NSF web site at www.nsf.gov for research areas

Office of Vice President for Research


How to apply for nsf fellowship

How to Apply for NSF Fellowship

  • See www.ehr.nsf.gov/dge/programs/grf/ and https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/ for application instructions, FAQ, etc.

  • Apply on-line using NSF’s “Fastlane” system at www.fastlane.nsf.gov

  • Parts of application

    • Information form (name, school, etc.)

    • Application form (includes two essay questions)

    • Proposed Plan of Research

    • Previous Research Experience

    • References

    • GRE, GPA form and transcript request form

Office of Vice President for Research


Nsf fellowship

NSF Fellowship

  • $30,000 per year plus $10,500 education allowance for 3 years

  • Must be US Citizen or permanent resident

  • May apply:

    • during undergrad senior year

    • prior to or during 1st year of grad school,

    • or at beginning of 2nd year of grad school

Office of Vice President for Research


Research proposals

Research Proposals

  • Be original.

    • “A less polished essay that shows evidence of the student’s own creativity is usually more impressive than a sophisticated plan that is not original.”

  • Be rigorous.

    • “The best research proposals…demonstrate that the applicant understands how to conduct research in his/her discipline using the scientific method”

  • Be clear and well-organized.

    • “The best proposals… demonstrate creativity in thinking about research questions as well as communication and organizational skills.”

Office of Vice President for Research


Finally

Finally….

  • Start early

  • Do your homework

  • Ask for help

    • The Office of Proposal Development is available to help:

      Robyn Pearson [email protected]

      Lucy Deckard [email protected]

Office of Vice President for Research


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