External Funding

Whether you are supported by an assistantship or you are seeking funding sources to support your research, you should always consider exploring your options for external funding. Learn more about external funding opportunities by visiting the sections below:

Why Apply for External Funding?

Even if you are supported by an assistantship, there are a number of compelling reasons that you should consider applying for external funding:

  • There are financial incentives to applying for a fellowship, as fellowship stipends are typically higher than departmental stipends and often cover fees that are not covered by assistantships.

  • Receiving external funding allows students to get paid to work on their own research instead of having to perform duties associated with a teaching or research assistantship or having to pay their own way through graduate school.

  • The prestige that comes with being awarded external funding conveys to potential employers that you are someone who takes initiative, can synthesize and explain difficult concepts, and is an excellent writer, all of which are highly sought characteristics in any job market.

  • You will often be expected to have obtained external funding when going up for tenure. Earning external funding as a graduate student indicates to tenure committees that you will be successful at getting funding at their institution.

  • The FIU committee that awards the Doctoral Evidence Acquisition (DEA) Fellowship and Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) takes into account whether or not you have applied for external funding. It is looked upon favorably if you have previously applied for external funding, successfully or not.

  • Applying for external funding is a great experience; it is a chance to improve your writing skills, and any work that you put towards a proposal will make writing your thesis or dissertation that much easier.
External Fellowship Opportunities

The table below is a list of graduate student fellowships. Click here to see a list of commonly applied to fellowships and their major eligibility requirements.

Agency Award Name Areas Funded or Goals of Program Other Eligibility Requirements US Citizenship of Permanent Resident Status Required?
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Dissertation Grant Research projects that are quantitative in nature, include the analysis of existing data from NCES, NSF or other federal agencies, and have U.S. education policy relevance. Applicants should be advanced doctoral students at the dissertation writing stage. Yes
American Heart Association Greater Southeast Predoctoral Fellowship Research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease and stroke, or to related clinical, basic science, bioengineering or biotechnology, and public health problems, including multidisciplinary efforts.


American Psychological Association (APA) APA Minority Fellowship Program Behavioral health services and prevention. This fellowship program is designed for students in clinical, counseling, and school psychology, and other psychology doctoral students whose training prepares them to provide therapy, testing, assessments, etc Enrolled full-time in an APA-accredited doctoral program for the fall term immediately following the application deadline; African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are especially encouraged to apply. Yes
American Psychological Association (APA) Esther Katz Rosen Graduate Student Fellowships Psychological understanding of gifted and talented children and adolescents. Graduate students who have achieved doctoral candidacy No
American Psychological Association (APA) Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship Nurture excellent young scholars for careers in areas of psychology, such as child-clinical, pediatric, school, educational, and developmental psychopathology. Completed doctoral candidacy No
AT&T AT&T Labs Fellowship Under-represented minority and women students pursuing PhD studies in computing and communications-related fields; Major field must be in computer science, math, statistics, electrical engineering, operations research, systems engineering, industrial engineering, or related field Senior graduating in the current academic year or in their first or second year of grad school. Yes
Boren Boren Fellowship Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.


Congressional Hunger Center Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship The Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program is a unique leadership development program that trains, inspires, and sustains emerging leaders committed to social justice.


De Karman Fellowship Trust Fellowship Program Any discipline


Department of Defense (DoD) SMART Scholarship for Service Program Several fields of engineering; biosciences; chemical engineering; chemistry; cognitive, neural, and behavioral sciences; computer science; geosciences; mathematics; materials science; oceanography; physics; information science; operations research


Department of Defense (DoD) National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship Several fields of engineering; biosciences; chemical engineering; chemistry; cognitive, neural, and behavioral sciences; computer science; geosciences; mathematics; materials science; oceanography; physics


Department of Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program Selected fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences. Eligibility is limited to individuals who, as Javits fellows, will be eligible to receive any grant, loan, or work assistance pursuant to Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended; have not yet completed their first full year of study in the doctoral program Yes
Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Fellowship DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program Mathematics; computer science; physical sciences; earth environmental and marine sciences; engineering; life sciences First-year or second-year graduate student in a qualified research-focused Master's Ph.D. program at an accredited U.S. college or university. Yes
Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration(DOE NNSA) DOE NNSA SSGF First and second year graduate students focusing their studies on high energy density physics, nuclear science, or properties of materials under extreme conditions and hydrodynamics.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR Fellowship Environmental Study Must pursue a master's or doctoral degree in an environmental field of specialization Yes
Everglades Foundation Research Fellowships the development of innovative scientific methods to advance the understanding of Everglades physical, chemical or biological processes, or research in economic impacts of environmental changes. Cross-disciplinary research efforts are of special interest.


Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships Most majors Must have at least 3 years remaining in doctorate program; membership in list of minority groups Yes
Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Most majors Membership in list of minority groups Yes
Gerontological Society of America Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program The doctoral dissertation must identify and examine a set of research questions that search for ways to improve the health and well-being of older persons, their families and caregivers. Dissertation committee must have approved the dissertation proposal prior to the application receipt date Yes
Harry Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects. Dissertations with no relevance to understanding human violence and aggression will not be supported. Ph.D. candidates who are entering the dissertation stage of graduate school. Usually, this means that fieldwork or other research is complete and writing has begun No
Hispanic Scholarship Fund HSF General Scholarships All academic areas. Applicant must be of Hispanic Heritage and enrolling in first graduate degree as a full-time student in a U.S. accredited university. Yes, or valid passport stamped I-551 or be granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) NASCAR Wendell Scott Award Engineering, Business, Public Relations, Mass Media, Sports Marketing, Marketing, Management, or Technology.


Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program Housing and urban development issues. Must have fully developed and approved dissertation proposals that address issues in housing and urban development and can be completed within a 2-year period No
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program Housing and urban development issues. Must have fully developed and approved dissertation proposals that address issues in housing and urban development and can be completed within a 2-year period No
IBM IBM PhD Fellowship Award Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. These include: computer science and engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering, physical sciences (including chemistry, material sciences, and physics), mathematical sciences (including analytics, statistics, operations research, and optimization), business sciences (including financial services, risk management, marketing, communications, and learning/knowledge management), and service science, management, and engineering (SSME).


Inter-American Foundation Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship IAF's Fellowships are intended to increase awareness of grassroots development efforts while building a community of professionals and scholars knowledgeable in the subject. Fellows examine the efforts of the rural and urban poor to improve their lives, their methods of organization and production, and the policies and programs designed to alleviate their poverty. PhD students who advanced to candidacy before initiating funding; must speak language appropriate to research Y or citizen of Latin American and Caribbean countries
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship Award Supports advanced doctoral students who are completing dissertations that further the understanding of the educational pathways and experiences of high-achieving, low-income students.


Link Energy Link Foundation Energy Program Projects that are innovative, technically sound, and offer potential for significant impacts on societal supply and utilization


Link Foundation Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation PhD Fellowship Program Ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation research


Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship Research pertaining to North American Christianity, especially projects related to Christian faith and life, religious institutions, and pastoral leadership. Designed to support the final year Ph.D. or Th.D. dissertation writing No
Microsoft Microsoft Research Fellowship Program Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics Students must be starting their second or third year in an eligible PhD program in the fall (August/September) semester or quarter of 2011; maximum of three applicants per eligible department No
NASA NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program The ARMD focus is on cutting-edge, fundamental research in traditional aeronautical disciplines, as well as emerging fields with promising application to aeronautics. Should have at least 2 years of graduate school left when applying Yes
National and Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) NASA EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE FELLOWSHIP (NESSF) PROGRAM Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines Masters or Ph.D. degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines, at respective institutions. No
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (Parent F31) Doctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes during the tenure of the award Must be at the dissertation research stage in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences Yes
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31 - Diversity) Purpose is to improve the diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the training of predoctoral students from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented.




National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) AHRQ Grants for Health Services Research Dissertation (R36) The mission of AHRQ is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. Your doctoral committee has approved your dissertation proposal by the time of the grant award Yes
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) Aging Research Dissertation Awards to Increase Diversity (R36) Provides dissertation awards in all areas of research within NIA's strategic priorities to increase diversity of the scientific research workforce engaged in research on aging and aging-related health conditions. Applicants who will increase diversity on a national basis; Your doctoral committee has approved your dissertation proposal by the time of the grant award Yes
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) Drug Abuse Dissertation Research: Epidemiology, Prevention, Treatment, Services, and Women and Sex/Gender Differences (R36) Drug abuse doctoral dissertation research in epidemiology, prevention, treatment, services, and/or women and sex/gender differences. Must be enrolled in an accredited doctoral degree program in the behavioral, biomedical, or social sciences and must propose to conduct research in one of the areas specified in this funding opportunity announcement Yes
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Mental Health (NIH/NIMH) Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant to Increase Diversity (R36) Predoctoral students at the dissertation stage in areas relevant to the research mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Your doctoral committee has approved your dissertation proposal by the time of the grant award Yes
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR/NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows in Nursing Research (F31) Nurse scientists who are committed to research careers in scientific health-related fields relevant to the programmatic interests of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Must be in dissertation stage; must have a baccalaureate degree in nursing and be currently enrolled in a PhD or equivalent research degree program Yes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant Fellowship Population dynamics and marine resource economics


National Quality Improvement Center Doctoral Dissertation Research Support Supporting advanced-level doctoral students conducting dissertation research in child abuse neglect prevention among infants and young children Advanced-standing doctoral students in relevant disciplines (e.g., social work, psychology, public health, early childhood/child development, sociology, anthropology, etc.) are eligible to apply. No
National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students (EAPSI) Science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure of the respective location in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or Taiwan. Enrolled in a research-oriented Master's or Ph.D. degree program in fields of science and engineering research Yes
National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program Interdisciplinary; Engineering; Mathematical Science; Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering; Chemistry; Physics and Astronomy; Social Sciences; Psychology; Geosciences; STEM Education and Learning; Life Sciences Must apply prior to completing Fall terms of second year of graduate school Yes
National Science Foundation (NSF) (Directorate for Social, Behavioral, & Economic Sciences) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants Archaeology; Physical Anthropology; Science, Technology, and Society; Documenting Endangered Languages; Political Science; Geography and Spatial Sciences; Cultural Anthropology; Law and Social Sciences; Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics; Linguistics; Economics; Decision, Risk, and Managements Sciences; Science of Science and Innovation Policy; Sociology; Research on Science and Technology Surveys and Statistics; Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics; Must be enrolled at a U.S. academic institution No
National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (DDIG) Selected areas of the biological sciences Student must have advanced to candidacy for a Ph.D. degree before the submission deadline to be eligible to submit a proposal. No
National Science Foundation/Food and Drug Administration (NSF/FDA) NSF/FDA Scholar-in-Residence at FDA Science, engineering, and mathematics


North Pacific Research Board Graduate Student Research Awards Scholarly research that addresses management issues in northern seas.


Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans Any field and in any advanced degree-granting program If you were born outside the United States (as a non citizen), you must, as of November 1, 2011, be either a naturalized citizen or in possession of a green card (i.e., be a resident alien); You must not have reached or passed your 31st birthday as of November 1, 2011. In other words, you must have been born on or after November 2, 1980; you must be in your first or second year of program Yes
PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships Health outcomes research The program is designed for candidates who expect to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. in the field of health outcomes in two years or less from the time the fellowship begins Yes
Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowships Certain historical subjects; anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and ethnic studies; evolutionary, systematic, behavioral, environmental, and conservation biology; earth, mineral, planetary science; materials characterization and conservation Doctoral candidates who have completed preliminary course work and examinations, and have been advanced to candidacy No
Smithsonian Graduate Student Fellowships Certain historical subjects; anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and ethnic studies; evolutionary, systematic, behavioral, environmental, and conservation biology; earth, mineral, planetary science; materials characterization and conservation Formally enrolled in a graduate program, who have completed at least one semester and not yet been advanced to candidacy if in a Ph.D. No
Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Topic related to peace, security, and development.


Social Science Research Council (SSRC) International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) Humanities and social sciences conducting dissertation research outside of the United States.


Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Eurasia Program Fellowship Sustain American expertise on the countries of Eastern Europe and Eurasia.


Symantec The Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship Preference will be given to students with a desire to work in an industrial research lab and those working on research projects likely to have real-world practical value to customers, in areas related to Symantec's businesses of information security, availability, and integrity. Must attend a U.S. or European university in a Ph.D. or Master's program focused on technology research. No
United Negro College Fund Special (UNCF) UNCF/ Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships African-American students enrolled full-time in a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree program majoring in a life science, physical science or engineering. Within 1-3 years of completing dissertation research, and must successfully complete all qualifying exams by September 1, 2012 Yes
United Negro College Fund Special Programs (UNCFSP) Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship Project (JPFP)  NASA-related STEM discipline. Applicants within the first three years of a full-time, graduate program Yes
US Department of State Fulbright International Educational Exchange Program The Fulbright Program provides participants-chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential - with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.


Welder Wildlife Foundation Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation's graduate research fellowship program Animal behavior, biology, botany, conservation education, ecology, genetics, mammalogy, ornithology,parasitology, range science, veterinary pathology, and wildlife and fisheries sciences. Must have a minimum GRE score of 1100 (verbal plus quantitative) and a "B" or higher average in the last two years of undergraduate or graduate work. No


External Funding FAQ's

What is external funding?
External funding is funding that is provided by an organization (e.g., State, Federal, private) outside the university. There are a number of types of funding opportunities available to students, including everything from small grants for travel or research, to large, multi-year fellowships that cover stipend, tuition and fees, book expenses, and health insurance.

How do I search for external funding opportunities?
Talk with your faculty advisor about external funding, and review the External Funding Opportunities list on the Division of Research site.

What if the award offered by a full fellowship is less than the award I would otherwise receive from my departmental teaching assistantship?
All of the benefits listed here will only be provided if the student goes through the pre-award process with a DoR Pre-Award staff member. They cannot be negotiated after the application has been submitted to the granting agency.

Students on full fellowships (i.e., one that pays a stipend of at least $16,000 or the semester equivalent) will have their non-resident fee set to zero. UGS will provide a tuition waiver for the remaining portion of tuition that is not paid by the award. If the stipend offered by a full fellowship is less than your department's teaching assistantship, UGS will consider supplementing the stipend up to the TA level. If a fellowship does not provide health insurance, UGS will pay the full cost of health insurance for students on a full fellowship. The insurance provided will be the same insurance that is provided to Graduate Assistants.

If I find an opportunity I am interested in applying for, how do I do it?
The first thing to do is discuss it with your Faculty Advisor. If your Faculty Advisor approves of you applying for external funding, contact the pre-award office of the Division of Research. Pre-award will help get you started on any internal paperwork that may be required.

At which stage of my graduate studies should I consider applying?
There are awards available for students at all stages of their graduate studies. When you actually apply may depend on your field, and perhaps more-so, what award you are applying for. Awards may have eligibility restrictions based on what stage of your studies you are in (e.g., 1st year student, pre-dissertation phase, dissertation phase).

When should I start planning to apply for external funding?
As soon as possible. Many applications are due almost 1 year before the award is administered. The most prestigious and competitive awards will require extensive dedication to writing and revising your proposal. Additionally, there may be an award you are not eligible for presently, but you may decide that you want to plan your research so it is consistent with the goals of a particular program, making you a good candidate when you do become eligible.

Can I apply for graduate fellowships as an undergraduate?
Yes. Many fellowships that fund graduate students allow undergraduates to apply during the fall of semester of their final year. If you win the award, you must be accepted into an eligible graduate program to accept it. Winning fellowships as an undergraduate makes students highly marketable to graduate programs.

Awardee Profiles

In order to help the UGS maintain accurate records of FIU graduate students on external fellowships, please email when you are notified that you have won an award. When emailing, please indicate the name of the award (e.g., NSF GRF) and whether or not you would like your profile listed below.

Robert Nowicki , FIU PhD student in Biology, NSF Graduate Research Fellow Awardee, 2011

As a new student, I am broadly interested in how the risk of predation by predators influences prey behavior in ecosystems, and how those behavior changes can influence the ecosystem on a larger scale. Prey often can afford to hold off on feeding or reproduction for short periods of time, knowing that later opportunities to fulfill these obligations may arise. Predation, however, is rather more unforgiving; an animal needs only to make one mistake to be predated upon and thus killed. As a result, many activities that prey undertake are done with the trade off of risk vs. reward in mind- from feeding, to searching for mates, to forming groups with other members of the same species. One interest of mine lies within how prey calculate risk of predation, and what steps they take to minimize it. This is an example of one specific interest in an evolving and growing body of ideas and questions I have, and illustrate the wide-reaching and sometimes hidden effect predators have on our ecosystems.

Applying for the NSF GRF was an intense learning experience- as I applied before being accepted into a laboratory (or a university), I did not have an existing project with which to build a grant upon. I took the opportunity to identify gaps in my field and thus had the liberty to tailor an application (and project) to address one of those gaps. I went through several iterations of projects, each with unrelated goals to the one before it, before I wrote one that I was satisfied with. This gave me an excellent introduction to the process of writing proposals, and gave me an appreciation for the level of constant dedication that was necessary to make it work. I consider application for the NSF GRF to be one of my most valuable single learning experiences since starting as an undergraduate years ago.

I have not yet gone on active tenure, so I am not currently receiving stipend support- however, I know that my progress on my project and towards my degree will be significantly accelerated by the fact that this support will allow me to devote almost undivided attention to my work, as opposed to spending a significant portion of my time teaching (or worse, having to work an outside job!). The payback I will receive from having the fellowship will far outweigh the time and effort I originally invested in the application- this would even be true if I had not received the fellowship, because the feedback I would have received from reviewers would have been invaluable in making my proposals more robust in the future.