NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) is one of the most prestigious fellowships for graduate students. Fellows receive a three year annual stipend of $34,000, a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, professional development opportunities, and more!

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and social science. Students with a strong academic background and demonstrated excellence and leadership in research are encouraged to apply.

2023 NSF GRFP Recipients


Isabella Trawitzki Ritchie, Marine Sciences,


I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the Breitbart Lab, where my research broadly encompasses marine microbial discovery and ecology. I am currently involved in two main projects; one involves investigating the ecology and host-virus interactions of a newly discovered virus, Turtlegrass Virus X (TVX), found right here in Tampa Bay. The other concerns the ciliate responsible for the 2022 mass mortality of Diadema antillarum urchins in the Caribbean, as I was a part of the team who discovered that this pathogen was the causative agent. As I pursue my PhD, I hope to continue studying host-microbe interactions in a marine environment to better understand these relationships and how they are affected by our changing world.


Samuel Hirst, College of Arts and Sciences, Biology,


Sam is pursuing his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at USF Tampa and works with Dr. Mark Margres. His research interests include using next generation sequencing technology to investigate evolutionary patterns at multiple scales. For his dissertation research, he uses a combination of genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics to investigate genetic diversity and venom evolution of snakes found throughout the Baja California region and on islands in the Gulf of California.

Prior to joining the Margres lab, he received his B.S. in Genetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) where he studied the application of eDNA to assess the effects of large-scale ecological events on aquatic biodiversity.


  • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.
  • Applicants must be an undergraduate senior, a college graduate preparing to enter graduate school, a 1st year graduate student or 2nd year graduate student.
  • NOTE: Graduate students are limited to only one application to the GRFP, submitted in the first or second year of graduate school.
  • Individuals who have earned a masters or professional degree in any field are ineligible, unless they are returning to graduate study after an interruption of two (2) or more consecutive years immediately preceding the application deadline, and; (ii) are not enrolled in a graduate degree program at the application deadline.

Please, review the full eligibility criteria in the NSF GRFP program solicitation and confirm your eligibility using the NSF GRFP Eligibility Questionnaire.

 Eligible Fields

  • Chemistry
  • Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Geosciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Materials Research
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychology (except clinical/counseling)
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM Education and Learning Research

NOTE: Individuals seeking a professional degree or joint professional degree-science program (MD-PhD) or are conducting clinical research are not eligible. Please, consider applying for NIH fellowships instead.

See full list of eligible fields in the Appendix of the Program Solicitation.

Application Materials

  • Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement (3 pages)
  • Graduate Research Statement (2 pages)
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of reference

Application Deadline: Typically end of October

Please read program solicitation published each year on the NSF GRFP website

  • PLAN (April - May): Learn about the GRF, attend information sessions, work through NSF-GRF guidance sheets, apply to work with a GRF Advisor
  • CREATE (June - August): Solidify research question, conduct literature review, complete drafts of the personal statement and research plan
  • REFINE & APPLY (September - October): Obtain feedback, refine and revise essays, request references, and submit your application.

NSF GRF Application Advising at USF

The Office of National Scholarship and the Office of Graduate Studies have partnered to support student applications for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Information Sessions

An information session will be held every year in April/May. This session will provide a high-level overview of the NSF GRF, including eligibility and review criteria, as well as discuss strategies for crafting a competitive application. If you intend to apply, your attendance at this information session is recommended.


Dr. Tracy Costello
Director, Office of Graduate Studies

Dr. Sayandeb Basu
Director, Office of National Scholars