External Funding

External Funding

External Funding
Looking to Fund Your Graduate Education
External Funding

UCF Graduate Studies External Funding Resources

Are you looking for funding for your graduate education? If so, you might consider applying for one of the national fellowships described in the External Funding section. “External” awards are sponsored by government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and other organizations outside the university. Some of the most well-known external awards are offered by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ford Foundation, and Fulbright. These programs and a few others are described in this section.

As merit-based awards, these external fellowship programs target academic excellence and scholarship, usually focusing on research and intensive graduate study. The application takes some time to prepare and must be submitted by the agency’s deadline. For a competitive application, students should begin planning about three to four months prior to the submission deadline.

Additional funding opportunities, many of which are external awards, are given in the Other Funding Resources page, so be sure to check there as well.

The College of Graduate Studies provides a workshop called “Show Me the Money: Identifying and Applying for Graduate Research Fellowships” as part of the Pathways to Success program. The session covers how to create a strong application for external funding offered by various funding agencies. Be sure to check the Pathways to Success Calendar of Events for session dates.

External Funding References

Additional Funding Sources

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

The NSF GRFP provides three years of financial support for beginning graduate study leading to a research-based degree in biological sciences, computer sciences, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, information science, social sciences, life sciences, mathematics, psychology, physics & astronomy, or STEM Education. Benefits include a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, a $12,000 annual cost-of-education allowance, international research and professional development opportunities and access to TeraGrid supercomputing facilities. About 2,000 fellowships are offered annually. Students interested in applying for the NSF Fellowship should visit the website at: http://www.nsf.gov/grfp. Download the GRFP Presentation, which provides hints on a successful application process.

Current UCF NSF GRFP Fellows:

Previous UCF NSF GRFP Fellows:

For additional information regarding the NSF GRFP, please refer to the following resources:

Sample Application Essays and Score Sheets

FastLane – NSF GFRP

GRFP Essay Insights – From Robin G. Walker, PhD, University of Missouri, Columbia

Join the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Linkedin group at NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Group

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW)

GROW is only open to recipients of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). For information about the application process for GROW, visit http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504876. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for GROW and Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) are available athttp://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16024/nsf16024.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

NASA Fellowships

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers several different awards for graduate study. For more information about NASA fellowships, see:


NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) Program

The NESSF call for proposals solicits applications from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing Master of Science or Doctoral degrees in Earth and Space sciences, or related disciplines. The purpose of the NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals.


NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium Dissertation and Thesis Improvement Fellowship

The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC) plans to award Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Fellowships in areas of space science and engineering. Information is available at:


NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awards five graduate scholarships to students in aeronautics or related fields. The award provides two years of support, with an option for a third year, and includes a stipend, educational related expenses, and summer internship at a NASA Research Center.

NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program

NDSEG Fellowship

The NDSEG Fellowship is a highly competitive, portable fellowship that is awarded to U.S. citizens and nationals who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the supported disciplines. NDSEG Fellowships last for three years and pay for full tuition and all mandatory fees, a monthly stipend, and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance. NDSEG Fellows do not incur any military or other service obligation. The goal of the program is to increase the number and quality of our nation’s scientists and engineers.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

The Ford Foundation awards fellowships to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Eligibility to apply for a Ford fellowship is limited to:

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

SMART Scholarship

Part of the National Defense Education Program, the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion.

The SMART Program aims to increase the number of scientists and engineers in the Department of Defense (DoD). The program is particularly interested in supporting individuals that demonstrate an aptitude and interest in conducting theoretical and applied research. As such, the program primarily targets “hand-on-the-bench” researchers and engineers. Individuals applying to the program should have a strong interest in working for the DoD as a civilian research scientist or engineer.

Since 2005 the SMART Scholarship has been awarded to 19 UCF students.

Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship

List of encouraged degrees

SMART Handout