Fellowship Opportunity FAQ

What is a fellowship?
A fellowship is a monetary award sometimes referred to as a scholarship. These funds are created for advanced study or research inside and outside the university and are generally made on a competitive basis. The purpose of providing these fellowships, according to the National Science Foundation’s Division of Graduate Education, is “to assure a steady flow of diverse, high-ability students through the educational and research training systems.”

How much $ does a fellowship offer?
Fellowship funds vary according to the foundation or individuals who create them. For example, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for Science and Engineering Education may offer fellowships that range from $300 – $600 per week to students who work to support the education, diversity and research objectives of the Department of Energy – Office of Science. Other fellowships, like postdoctoral awards in government agencies can match annual salaries. For example, NATO Science Fellowships offer approximately $35,000 per year renewable for up to two years to students entering postgraduate studies.

Who can apply for fellowships?
If you are planning to enter graduate or professional school, study abroad, need to do dissertation research or want professional development, you should apply for a fellowship as soon as possible.

What are some general criteria for applying for fellowships?
Eligibility requirements for fellowships are sometimes limited to members of specific groups, organizations, race, ethnicity, or gender, and residents of a particular geographic region. Some fellowship programs, like the GEM fellowship, allow you to apply directly if the school you attend is a member of that organization. Others may want the graduate program in which you intend to enroll to nominate you. Qualifications, such as grades, citizenship, community service, etc. depend on the funding source or creator of the fellowship.

What kinds of fellowships require interviews?
The more competitive a fellowship is, the more likely it is to require an interview as part of the selection process. Highly prestigious fellowships, like NASA’s Graduate Student Researchers Program, may require more than one interview.