Grants & Fellowships

Competitive external grants and fellowships provide valuable financial support, and the prestige associated with these awards can boost the career of graduate students and postdocs. Events offered by OPD teach graduate students and postdocs tips and tools to strategically search for relevant funding and help participants craft competitive, cohesive funding proposals.

Luis Aguirre, PhD Student Organismic & Evolutionary Biology

Going through the preparation of writing a good grant application always forces you to become more acquainted with your own research, either by finding new sources or thinking of new questions while you’re writing down your thoughts. It also improved the quality of my communication and I can now talk to people inside and outside of my field with much greater ease.

Luis Aguirre (PhD student, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology)

Upcoming Events


Grant Series Part II: Framing & Writing the Proposal

Feb 18, 2021 | 10:00am - 11:15am | Online with OPD!

A successful grant proposal requires good ideas that are organized well. This session will outline various application elements, provide tips to craft a clear, cohesive proposal, and discuss common reasons proposals fail. This is the second in a two-part series--attend one or both sessions!


Hands-on Grant Searching

Feb 25, 2021 | 10:00am - 10:45am | Online with OPD!

Searchable databases are a valuable tool for finding grants and fellowships, but only if you know how to use them effectively. This session is designed for those who have attended Grant Series Part I: Funding Search Strategies to explore searchable databases more in-depth. Come learn together in this informal session!


Using Storytelling Techniques to Write about your Research in Grant or Fellowship Applications

Mar 2, 2021 | 2:30pm - 3:30pm | Online with OPD!

Most grant and fellowship applications are reviewed by people outside your specific field of study, which presents a challenge for academics trained to write in the jargon and conventions of their discipline. This session will describe how a storytelling approach can strengthen your connection with non-expert reviewers to more effectively communicate about your research in a clear and compelling manner.


Funding Search Strategies for International Graduate Students and Postdocs

Mar 5, 2021 | 2:30pm - 4:00pm | Online with OPD and IPO!

Many external grants and fellowships are restricted to US citizens or permanent residents, posing a challenge for international graduate students and postdocs. This session will offer strategies to help international students and postdocs search for external funding and understand related visa requirements. Co-sponsored by the International Programs Office. 


Additional Resources

There are several searchable databases to help you find external funding opportunities. Spend some time experimenting with these databases, as each has various strengths and weaknesses. If your first search isn’t successful, try altering your search parameters, then try the same search using one of the other databases on this list.

  • UMass maintains an institutional subscription to Grant Forward, which allows members of the UMass community to use this database for free. Create an account using your campus email address to link to our subscription. 
  • The Fellowship Finder from the University of Illinois is a great general-purpose tool. Funding opportunities are specific to graduate students and post doctoral students and you can filter results by citizenship status. Disciplinary categories are quite broad so use keywords or filters strategically to narrow your search results.
  • The UCLA Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support database is particularly useful when searching for post doctoral student funding. This database also includes a wide range of disciplines/fields, and you can filter results by citizenship status. 

Some of the most common graduate and post doctoral student external funding opportunities are listed below, organized by month of deadline. 


Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program

Provides an $9,000 stipend for 12 weeks of work at an Academy in Washington, DC, to learn more about policy or other non-academic work in STEM fields.

Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowships

Support promising young scientists, engineers and mathematicians conducting applied work for the benefit of humanity. 

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

For independent international research; UMass has an internal deadline

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Provides a $30,000 stipend to support advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing.

National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

Provides a $27,000 stipend for one year to support data analysis and dissertation writing for graduate students conducting research related to education.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Provides up to three years of support for social science and STEM graduate students who have not completed more than one year of graduate study at the time of application.

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies

Provides $5,000 to support the final year of dissertation writing for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences whose work addresses topics of women and gender in interdisciplinary and original ways.


American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

Science & Technology Policy Fellowships provide the opportunity for accomplished scientists and engineers to participate in and contribute to the federal policymaking process while learning firsthand about the intersection of science and policy.

American Association of University Women: American Dissertation Fellowship

Provide support for final year of dissertation writing for women U.S. citizens who are actively committed to helping women and girls. 

American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowship

International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Provides support for up to two years of graduate study for immigrants or children of immigrants pursuing graduate education at a U.S. institution.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) International Dissertation Research Fellowships

Provides research funds for students in the humanities and social sciences for dissertation research conducted, in whole or in part outside the United States on non-US topics.


Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Provides support for graduate students in the final year of writing and defense of the dissertation. Ideal for graduate students committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level and who are prepared to use diversity as an educational resource.

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Provides one year of support to recent PhD recipients who are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level and who are prepared to use diversity as an educational resource.

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Provide up to three years of support for graduate students committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level and who are prepared to use diversity as an educational resource.

Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources

Provides up to $25,000 to support dissertation research in the humanities and related social sciences in original sources.

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program

Provides three years of funding for U.S. citizens conducting STEM research of interest to the Department of Defense. 

P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship

Provides funding to women who are non-US citizens enrolled in graduate study in the U.S. or Canada. 

Women Techmakers Scholars Program (formerly the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship)

Provides a $10,000 scholarship to encourage women to excel in computing and technology and become active role models and leaders in the field.


Boren Fellowships

Provide funding to support study of less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad. Fellowship recipients commit to working in the federal government for one year after graduation.

Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Health

The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Health for doctoral students aims to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between French and American research teams. The Chateaubriand Fellowship supports PhD students registered in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory.

Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities & Social Sciences

The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities & Social Sciences supports outstanding Ph.D. students from American universities who seek to engage in research in France, in any discipline of the humanities and social sciences.

Marquette University Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program

The fellowship provides a student from other U.S. universities with one year of financial support, including a stipend, fringe benefits, and research and travel funds. The fellow will be in residence at Marquette for an academic year. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who are well under way in their dissertation writing and who belong to a racial or cultural group historically underrepresented in the U.S. professoriate.

Penn Fellowships for Excellence Through Diversity

The Fellowship provides a stipend, health insurance, library privileges, and a research and travel fund. These awards are designed to provide mentorship and access to Penn’s resources for doctoral students in the humanities or social sciences, enrolled at universities other than Penn, as they complete their dissertations.

Switzer Foundation

Provides $10,000 Fellowships to highly talented graduate students in New England and California whose studies and career goals are directed toward environmental improvement and who clearly demonstrate leadership in their field.


Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad

Provides grants for doctoral study in areas of the world not generally included in U.S. curricula. Projects focusing on Western Europe are not supported.

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Provides $20,000 to support graduate students in their final year of dissertation writing. Questions that interest the foundation concern violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects.

Rolling/Multiple Deadlines

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship in Health-Related Research (F31)

April, August, December annually

Provides a stipend and funding for tuition and fees to enable promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research.

Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid-of-Research

March and October

Provides grants of up to $1,000 to support graduate student research in science and engineering fields, including social sciences.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DDRIG) in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

Deadlines vary by program area.

Funding for dissertation research in a variety of program areas within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; look for listings at the link above with "Doctoral Dissertation Research" in the title.


Contact us for more information on OPD’s Grants and Fellowships workshops and assistance.

OPD workshop with Heidi Bauer-Clapp