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TCNJ School of Science Support Program for Student Applicants to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Fellowship Overview

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship provides a $34,000/yr stipend for 3 years, as well as internship opportunities, international exchange opportunities, greater choice of advisors, prestige, guaranteed support, and more time for research. The fellowship is awarded to an individual, so the award is flexible to carry to any institution.

  • Anticipated # of awards: 1,600
  • Funding rate: 2018 – 2,000 awards out of 12,000 applicants (17% funding rate)
  • Deadlines: October 21-25, 2019 (subject dependent)
  • Scholarships for research-based Master’s and PhD degrees
  • 2 chances to apply (senior year undergraduate students, once during 1st or 2nd year of graduate school)
  • Will not support MD/PhD, non-research based Master’s, or medical/professional degrees
  • Fellows have opportunities for outside internships, professional development, and international research funding support
  • Funds are also provided for tuition reimbursement to your institution (up to $12,000/yr)
  • Must be a US citizen, national, or permanent resident and accepted in a grad program by May 1, but no more than 12 months after acceptance, to receive award
  • Many fields of study are applicable

TCNJ School of Science Support Program and Timeline – Fall 2019

  • Information Session on the NSF GRFP
    • Thursday, August 29, 2019: 5:00-5:30pm, P101
  • NSF GRFP Writing Workshop: Essay #1 (Research Statement)
    • Thursday, September 5, 2019: 4:00-5:00pm, C113
    • Friday, September 6, 2019: 12:30-1:30pm, P117
  • NSF GRFP Writing Workshop: Essay #2 (Personal Statement)
    • Thursday, September 12, 2019: 4:00-5:00pm, C113
    • Friday, September 13, 2019: 12:30pm-1:30pm, P117


  • October 21, 2019 – Life Sciences, Geosciences
  • October 22, 2019 – Computer Science, Engineering, Materials Research
  • October 24, 2019 – Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM Education and Learning
  • October 25, 2019 – Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
  • November 1, 2019 – all reference letters

Application components

A. Fastlane application form

  • Personal information, education, and work experience
  • Transcripts (official or unofficial – no password protection, must be electronic files, must include fall semester, and must include the name of your institution)
  • Proposed study/graduate institution
  • Letter writer information

B. Graduate Research Plan statement (2 pages)

  • Present an original research topic that you would like to pursue in graduate school
  • Describe the research, approach, resources needed, and literature cited
  • Can be an extension of research you performed with your undergraduate advisor (but must represent a new idea – not completed work or grant proposal)
  • Should read like a two-page research abstract
  • Should relate to your career goals
  • Must address Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts

C. Personal, relevant background, & future goals statement (3 pages)

  • Should show motivation and readiness to pursue advanced studies
  • Include steps taken to gain professional knowledge and skills
  • Highlight experience working independently and on teams
  • Discuss career goals
  • Must address Intellectual Merit and Broader impacts on society

D. At least 3 reference letters – deadline is November 1, 2019

  • Completed and submitted electronically by each reviewer separate from the student’s submitted application

More Information & Resources

Social Media

  • Useful forum – NSF GRFP 2017 (also has information on grad school applications)
  • LinkedIn: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Twitter: @NSFGRFP
  • Facebook: NSFGRFP