National Science Foundation -Graduate Research Fellowship Program


The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. Three years of support is provided by the program for graduate study that is in a field within the NSF's mission and leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree. Each fellow has a total of five years in which to use these three years of support (as described in the NSF GRFP Guidelines)

Link to Eligibility Criteria for NSF GRFP 
Link to GRFP Application

Administration of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

  • Effective January 4, 2010, The America COMPETES Act mandates that all graduate students supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) must complete responsible conduct of research (RCR) training. This requirement may be fulfilled through the UCSD Research Ethics Center, a nationally recognized program for RCR instruction. Their schedule of workshops is available at For more information, please contact them at or (858) 822-2647
  • Starting with the 2011 fellows forward, GRFP fellowships may not be concurrently accepted or combined with other federal fellowships, irrespective of the fellow's status. Note: Fellows awarded prior to 2011 may still accept both.
  • NSF graduate fellows must comply with their fellowship responsibilities (such as an annual declaration of their tenure status, annual reporting and other online administrative duties) as described starting on page 7 of the 2013 GRFP Program Guidelines
  • The Office of Graduate Studies serves as the administering unit for NSF GRFP fellowships for fellows who attend UC San Diego

    Primary Coordinating Official (Principal Investigator): Dean Kim Barrett

    Coordinating Official:

    Graduate Fellowship Coordinator
    9500 Gilman Drive, MC: 0003
    La Jolla, CA. 92093-0003

    Alternate Coordinating Official: Tanya Reese

    Graduate Fellowship Supervisor
    9500 Gilman Drive, MC: 0003
    La Jolla, CA. 92093-0003

The Coordinating Official (CO) serves as the principal contact between the NSF, Graduate Research Fellows, and UC San Diego departments/programs. The CO distributes information to the fellows and certifies their continued eligibility to the NSF.

NSF fellows must inform the graduate school of their intended attendance at the time they declare their tenure status to the NSF. Changes in fellowship status or activity must also be endorsed/supported by the CO.

Fellowship Benefits for Active NSF Fellows for the Academic Year

  • Stipend of $32,000 for a 12-month tenure (prorated monthly at $2,667 for lesser periods)
  • The Cost-of-Education (COE) Allowance will be applied toward the registration fees for all GRFP fellows on a quarterly basis. Any balance due must be covered by the fellow's graduate department/program or faculty mentor. NSF fellows are responsible for covering their summer tuition should they choose to enroll in a summer term. Summer enrollment is not required for NSF fellows.

FAQ about GRFP Fellowship Terms and Conditions for NSF GRFP Fellows

Fellows requesting employment during their tenure status

NSF Fellows in pursuit of employment at the same time they are on active tenure with the NSF need to submit a letter requesting an exception. This letter should be addressed to Graduate Dean Kim Barrett, but sent in care of the Coordinating Official. It should describe the nature of employment, its relevance to the graduate degree program, number of hours per week or month of employment, and level of compensation (i.e. $/hour). The letter should be signed by the fellow's faculty advisor and graduate program chair. Employment requests will be reviewed by Dean Barrett.