Fellowship Information

*** Application is currently closed ***

Number of Awards: Varies annually 

Schedule: Online applications open in late August and close on Jan 6, 2023.

Type: Fellowship

Duration: Initial support may be for two or three years, or for a full six years, depending on the employer-sponsor. Fellowship renewal will be reviewed in partnership with employer-sponsor on an annual basis. 

Amount: The charge to the employer for each student supported is $27,000 annually, of which $20,000 is the fellow’s expense allowance and $7,000 is GFSD’s fee to support its operations. (The charge is subject to change at the discretion of the GFSD Board of Directors.)

Fields of Study: Though the fields supported can vary annually depending on employer needs, in general GFSD covers the following: Astronomy, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Materials Science, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and their subdisciplines, and related engineering fields: Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Mechanical.

Location or Type of Institution: Any participating GFSD University or College

Eligibility: GFSD welcomes applications from any qualified U.S. citizen who has the ability to pursue graduate work at a GFSD university partners. Applicants at any stage of their graduate program may apply, as long as they will be available to accept two summers of paid internship. Those who already possess a doctoral degree are ineligible.

Employers may nominate GFSD fellows directly, obviating the selection process. These fellows may enroll for either a Master’s or a PhD degree.

Selection Process: GFSD employers select fellows based the following factors, not in order:

  • Whether the applicant’s field of study matches the employer’s needs
  • Undergraduate and graduate coursework and grades
  • Research experience at a university or in industry
  • Letters of recommendation from professors and employers. These can be decisive. The most effective letters are from persons who have supervised or observed the applicant’s participation in research.
  • The GRE General tests are required; the Subject test is suggested and may be required by your university.

Using these criteria, employers review the pool of applicants and advise GFSD of which students the employer wishes to support. GFSD then makes the award.

Additional Requirements

Applicants must be accepted at a participating GFSD-member university or college and progress through a full-time study program leading to a graduate degree in the physical sciences or related engineering fields. Fellows must complete one or two summer internships, as the sponsoring employer requires. To continue in good standing, fellows must submit a transcript annually as well as any forms and information that GFSD requests. Fellows must perform satisfactorily in their summer internship and during the academic year. A fellow who switches his or her field of study to one not of interest to the sponsoring employer will likely have support terminated.

National Security Agency (NSA): Requires Fellows to pass a background investigation if interested in doing summer internships. 

Prepare to apply

You can prepare to complete the GFSD application by having at hand the following information and materials:

  • Institutions of higher education from which you have received or will receive a degree:
    Name of institution and address; dates attended, date graduated, major, overall GPA, GPA in major, and GPA Scale of Institution.
  • Employment History
    (Maximum of three professional positions):
    Dates from and to, employer’s name, employer’s address, supervisor’s name, supervisor’s title, your title, reason for leaving, and a brief description of duties. Discuss any research projects in which you participated and your role.
  • Professional or Technical References (minimum of three maximum of five):
    Begin thinking of the professors and employers who will give you a recommendation. Discuss with them the importance of a good evaluation and ask whether they will write such an evaluation for you. Once you enter your recommenders in the application they will receive an email about how to enter their recommendation.
  • Scholarships, honors and awards you have received: title, date, and from which organization
  • Publications, presentations, poster sessions, etc., created or presented by you:
    (use standard bibliography format)
  • Research Experience:
    Include on-campus research with a faculty member, summer research institutes, and other experiences outside of course work. Include a paragraph on each describing the nature of research, your role, and whether you presented or published. This is an especially important part of the application.
  • Personal statement and professional goals:
    Explain why you want to go to graduate school, what are your expectations regarding the GFSD and its mentoring support, what will be your graduate program, etc.

Application Tips

Here is a helpful video that will give you some tips on how to successfully apply for GFSD fellowships: (This video was recorded by our previous executive director and the content is still applicable.)

Applicant Information

Apply at here.

Contact Tech Support at if you have any questions.

GFSD requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation from professors and employers familiar with your work in your discipline. If at all possible, at least one letter should be from someone who has observed or supervised your participation in research. Provide your recommendation forms to your recommenders as early as possible. We suggest you provide them with a narrative of what you accomplished in class or employment with accompanying grades, research results, etc. More information for recommenders can be found here. 

Go to the GRE Web site or call (609) 771-7670. Request that your GRE scores be sent to GFSD at code 4417. Try your best to meet the online application deadline. Send your scores sent as soon as possible.  (If you are applying for the fellowship while in graduate school, GRE scores are not required.)

In addition to the required official GRE scores from ETS, we suggest that you email a copy of your score card to GFSD at This will help to ensure that GFSD has your GRE scores when the review process begins.

What Happens next?

GFSD provides the applicant database to employer members and to university members. (A university may contact you even though you have not applied to that university. If you would rather not have your name made available to universities, let GFSD know and we will remove it from that database.)

Each employer identifies the students it wishes to select and support with a fellowship. The executive director of GFSD calls those students and sends an award letter giving a specified period within which the student must confirm acceptance of the offer or decline. GFSD provides a letter to graduate departments that the student can use to inform the university that he or she has been offered a fellowship. It is up to the university whether to admit and accept the student as a GFSD Fellow, knowing the university will be responsible for tuition and fees.

If a student receives and accepts an GFSD Fellowship, it is reserved for that student until the student receives acceptance from one of the participating universities as a GFSD Fellow. A student who receives another national fellowship offer should call GFSD to discuss and compare the two programs. (Most likely you will not be able to accept multiple national graduate fellowship. This is to support as many graduate students as possible.) Next, the student should discuss the offers with the advisor and the graduate department.

GFSD announces the end of the recruitment season as soon as it has filled available fellowship slots. This may not occur until mid-April or later.

Note: selection of fellows is made not by GFSD, but by an employer who uses criteria in addition to academic excellence; for example, the particular research specialty and the availability of funding. Thus students who are not selected for GFSD fellowship need not feel that their academic work or research potential have necessarily been judged to be inferior to those who are selected.

Helpful tips for Recommenders

Copy and paste your text into the online GFSD Recommendation portal. Please do not use special characters or any characters created with option keys. Punctuation marks such as apostrophes and quotation marks do not always transfer correctly. After you paste, the Internet text may look like a continuous string of text and not show the paragraph breaks, but they are present, so there is no need to edit for paragraph breaks.

After completing the recommendation, the option buttons are “Save” and “Submit Completed Form.” If you are ready for final processing click on the “Submit Completed Form.” The recommendation will be scanned for completeness and the program will advise you of discrepancies or notes you should be aware of.

The program sends your final updates and codes to the GFSD database as a completed electronic recommendation. If you wish, you may then print a copy of your recommendation for your files.

You will not be able to re-enter your recommendation and make modifications. If you do need to make changes, email or use the application message center. You will then be required to make your corrections and repeat the guidance above for finalizing the online recommendation.

Deadline for recommendation submission: Jan 6, 2023.