External Funding

In 2019-20, UMass graduate students were awarded over $1.5 million through competitive external grants and fellowships from funders such as the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies. The Graduate School Office of Professional Development supports graduate students and postdocs in their efforts to find and apply for external funding--visit OPD's Grants & Fellowships page for more information. 

2019 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipients

In three of the last four years, UMass Amherst was the third leading institutional producer of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients among Massachusetts colleges and universities.  

Limited Submission Awards and Grants

Foundations and federal agencies occasionally limit the number of applications or nominations an institution may submit for a specific funding program. When a call for proposals is "limited" the Graduate School sends out a call for interest to relevant Graduate Programs. If more than the "limit" express interest, the Graduate School uses an internal selection process to determine which application(s) will be submitted to the sponsor for funding consideration.

Limited Submission Opportunities are listed below along with the internal deadlines. Those interested in a particular program must contact Heidi Bauer-Clapp by the posted internal deadline.  

If you have identified a Limited Submission Opportunity that is not posted on the list below please email Heidi Bauer-Clapp as soon as possible.

NIH Director's Early Independence Award

NIH Director's Early Independence Award

For graduate students in NIH-relevant fields of study who complete their doctoral degree between June 1, 2020 and September 30, 2022.

The NIH Director's Early Independence Award provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to skip the traditional postdoc and start an independent research career at a supportive institution directly following the completion of their graduate degree or clinical training.

UMass may nominate up to two applicants for the NIH Director's Early Independence Award. Applicants must be nominated by the institution at which they wish to conduct independent research upon to completion of the advanced degree; current UMass graduate students who wish to conduct research with this award at another institution should apply under that institution. 

Internal Deadline: July 8, 2021

Funder Deadline: September 3, 2021

UMass's Limited Submission process requires the following materials to be submitted to Heidi Bauer-Clapp (hbauerclapp@umass.edu) by July 8: 

  1. Applicant's name
  2. Applicant's field of study 
  3. Applicant's degree program (e.g. PhD, MD) and expected completion date
  4. Applicant's CV
  5. One page, single spaced statement outlining what the applicant plans to research during the funding period and how the award will advance their career plans
  6. Statement of support from current UMass faculty member or researcher who will serve as the mentor/supervisor during the award period.

Items 1-5 should be submitted by the applicant; the statement of support should be sent directly by the faculty member/research supervisor. Please include "NIH Early Independence Award" in the email subject line. 

Consult the NIH Director's Early Independence Award FAQ for more information about eligibility and the fellowship in general. Questions on UMass's internal Limited Submission application process should be directed to Heidi Bauer-Clapp (hbauerclapp@umass.edu). 

Humanities Without Walls

Humanities Without Walls

Open to doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences interested in learning about careers outside of the academy and/or the tenure track system. The award funds participation in a summer workshop where participants learn how to leverage their skills and training towards careers in the private sector, the non-profit world, arts administration, public media and many other fields. 

HWW Predoctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop, will be held from July 17, 2023 to July 28, 2023, in Minneapolis, MN. Students must be in residence in Minneapolis for the duration of the workshop and are expected to attend all workshop activities. Lodging and some meals will be provided; fellowship awards are intended to cover transportation costs to/from and around Minneapolis, meals, and other expenses.

Internal Deadline: November 1, 2022

External Deadline: December 6, 2022



HWW especially encourages students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education to apply.

  • All applicants must be enrolled full-time in a doctoral program in a humanities or humanistic social science discipline at a university within the United States. Applicants may be at any stage of their doctoral work, but they cannot have received the doctoral degree at the time of the workshop.
  • International students are eligible to apply but HWW is not responsible for issuing visa paperwork or advising on taxation policies.

Internal application requirements: 

  • A narrative (1,000 words maximum)  addressing all of the following questions:
    • What are your career interests or your intended career trajectory? How have your background and experiences impacted your choices?
    • How will this workshop help you achieve your goals? What knowledge and skills are you hoping to learn?
    • What will you bring to the workshop community? What relevant experiences (personal and professional) will help you to contribute to the workshop cohort?
    • How will you share what you learn at the workshop with colleagues, your department, campus, and beyond? What impact will it have on your community, field, or discipline?
    • How do you plan to incorporate a social justice lens into your daily work in your future career?
    • What opportunities (if any) have you had at your campus (or beyond) to explore diverse career opportunities?
  • CV or resume (two pages maximum) that includes relevant professional experiences (e.g. public humanities, volunteering, etc).
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation: One letter should be from a faculty member who is familiar with you and your work. The other letter can be from a community partner, colleague, or staff member who is familiar with you and your work.  

Graduate student applicants should submit the application narrative and CV as a single PDF to Heidi Bauer-Clapp. In the body of the email, please verify that you are available to participate in the workshop in Minnesota in person July 17-28, 2023 and plan to attend all workshop activities. Letter writers should submit their confidential letter directly to Heidi Bauer-Clapp. The applicant's last name should appear in the file name for all application documents. All application materials, including letters, are due by November 1, 2022.