CSU-LSAMP at Cal Poly

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM

Fellowships and other Funding for Graduate School


What is a Fellowship?

While the term "fellowship" is used by a variety of different programs, generally fellowships:

  • are short-term opportunities lasting from a few months to several years
  • focus on the professional development of the fellow
  • are sponsored by a specific association or organization seeking to expand leadership in their field

Fellowship programs can be designed to support a range of activities including:

  • graduate study in a specific field
  • research to advance work on a particular issue
  • developing a new community-based organization or initiative
  • training and reflection to support the fellow's growth
  • opportunities to further explore a particular field of work

Fellowships have traditionally been awarded to graduate and post-graduate students, but there are an increasing number of fellowships available to recent college graduates in public policy, the arts, education, and other nonprofit fields.

Benefits of a Fellowship

Experiential Learning

Fellowships are structured to provide significant work experiences, and fellows are often expected to take on a great deal of responsibility quickly. Generally, fellows are provided with unique experiences that are not typically available to someone starting out in an entry-level position. This experiential learning component varies depending upon the fellowship program.

Training and Professional Development

Fellowship programs are known for their commitment to the professional development of individual fellows and often include intensive training. Key elements of this training might include:

  • academic seminars to develop frameworks and apply theory
  • in-depth research and analysis of a particular issue area
  • a broad curriculum of skills development: leadership, community organizing, public speaking, grant writing, media relation


Compensation is often considered the biggest drawback of a fellowship. Although most fellowship programs do provide a living allowance or stipend, it is typically not comparable to the salary of a full-time job. This financial compensation varies greatly - stipends can range from $10,000 to up to $25,000 for a 9-12 month program.

Tips for Finding a Fellowship

  1. Search fellowship sites such as the ones below
  2. Search job listings - Do a keyword search "fellowship" while reviewing online job listings. Also search for "internships" - some internships are essentially fellowships. Idealist.org is a particularly good website for this type of search.
  3. Network - The nonprofit community is very collaborative and can provide good word-of-mouth information.
  4. Identify organizations of interest to you - Contact them to see if they offer fellowships.
  5. Talk to current fellows - Get the inside story. They are expecting to hear from prospective fellows. Most fellowship websites profile current and former fellows. There may be an alum from your campus who has been a recent fellow

Here are just a few examples of where you can find fellowships:

California Pre-Doctoral Program

The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University (CSU) students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. The program places a special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California (UC) institutions.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Department of Energy (DOE)

  • The DOE provides nationwide opportunities for research participation, fellowships, scholarships, training, and internship programs for undergraduates, grads, postdocs, and faculty.
  • The Office of Science Graduate Fellowship program supports outstanding students to pursue graduate training in basic research in areas of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computational sciences, and environmental sciences relevant to the Office of Science and to encourage the development of the next generation scientific and technical talent in the U.S. The Fellowship award provides partial tuition support, an annual stipend for living expenses, and a research stipend for full-time graduate study and thesis/dissertation research at a U.S. academic institution for three years.
  • The Computational Science Graduate Fellowship program provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing a PhD in scientific or engineering disciplines with an emphasis in high-performance computing.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship Program provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing a Ph.D. in areas of interest to stewardship science, such as high-energy density physics, low-energy nuclear science, or properties of materials under extreme conditions. Fellows also participate in research at a DOE laboratory.

Department of Homeland Security

The DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program is intended for students interested in pursuing the basic science and technology innovations that can be applied to the DHS mission. Eligible students must be studying in a homeland security related science, technology, engineering or mathematics (HS-STEM) field with an interest, major, or concentration directly related to one of the homeland security research areas.

Department of State

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research, and/or teach English abroad.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) graduate fellowship program supports master's and doctoral candidates in environmental studies. Students can pursue degrees in traditionally recognized environmental disciplines as well as other fields such as social anthropology, urban and regional planning, and decision sciences. Benefits may include: Up to $37,000 per year of support, including $12,000 per year for tuition and fees, $20,000 per year in a monthly stipend, and an annual expense allowance of $5,000. Master's level students can receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students can be supported for a maximum of three years with funding available, under certain circumstances, over a period of four years.

GEM Fellowship

GEM is a national consortium for graduate degrees for minorities in engineering and science, inc. GEM's fellowship programs span the entire recruitment, retention, and professional development spectrum. GEM's principal activity is the provision of graduate fellowships at the MS and Ph.D. levels coupled with paid summer internships. GEM also offers informational sessions on the importance of graduate school and tools for access and successful matriculation. GEM also produces publications for graduate and undergraduate students, university and industry administrators to assist in the education process of how to obtain a graduate STEM education. GEM is devoted to increasing access and success in engineering and science graduate education and practice.

GEM's program activities go beyond financial support by engendering student success in academic and professional environments. GEM has a solid success record in implementing effective programs to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority students.

Graduate Education at the University of California

The UC Graduate Education website is a great source of information about the UC campuses specifically, and includes some very helpful general information about graduate education. This site lists all of the graduate degree programs offered by UC campuses.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

You may wish to sign up early for the GRE Search Service (no cost). Many graduate schools and fellowship programs use the GRE Search Service to identify and contact students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. If you match the recruitment profile of a participating institution/organization, you may be sent information about graduate programs, admissions requirements, financial aid opportunities, fellowships and other graduate opportunities.

Hertz Foundation Fellowships

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research, and/or teach English abroad.

Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom.


  • The Graduate Student Researchers Fellowship (GSRP) program is for graduate study leading to masters or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering related to NASA research and development. This twelve month award strongly encourages a research experience at the NASA center extending the GSRP Fellowship. Underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (STEM) are encouraged to apply.
  • The Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship Program (JPFP) increases the number of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities participating in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce, Approximately 20 three-year fellowships are awarded to support graduate students in their pursuit of advanced degrees in the STEM disciplines. Annual stipends for students pursuing master's degrees start at $18,000. Annual stipends for students pursuing doctoral degrees start at $24,000. With stipends, travel allowances and tuition offsets included, JPFP award packages currently start at $32,000 per year.

The National Academies

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad. The NSF welcomes applications from all qualified students and strongly encourages under-represented populations, including women, under-represented racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities, to apply for this fellowship.
  • The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) goals are to introduce U.S. graduate students to East Asia and Pacific Web-Funding for Graduate School.docscience and engineering in the context of a research setting, and to help students initiate scientific relationships that will better enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts. Selected students participate in research experiences at host laboratories in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan. All institutes, except Japan, last approximately 8 weeks from June to August. Japan lasts approximately 10 weeks from June to August.
  • The LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate program is aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in, academically qualified for and matriculated into programs of graduate study. LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive approaches that facilitate achievement of the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields.
  • The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education, for students, faculty, and institutions, by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate greater diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to the development of a diverse, globally-engaged science and engineering workforce.

Paul and Daisy Soros

  • Paul and Daisy Soros Graduate Fellowships for New Americans is open to students who are green card holders, naturalized citizens, or a child of new citizen(s) and who show a commitment to the values expressed in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which includes activity in support of human rights and the rule of law, in opposition to unwarranted encroachment on personal liberty, and in advancing the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society. The applicant must either have a bachelor's degree or be in her/his final year of undergraduate study. Those who have a bachelor's degree may already be pursuing graduate study and may receive Fellowship support to continue that study.
  • University Scholarship sites (courtesy of Paul & Daisy Soros Foundation)

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CSU-LSAMP at Cal Poly is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. HRD-1826490 and the CSU Chancellor's Office, and coordinated by the Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education (CESAME) at Cal Poly, SLO. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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