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External Funding

In addition to department and university aid, graduate students are encouraged to seek outside funding and grants.

The following databases are extremely useful for helping graduate students find grants, fellowships, and other funding. Other, more discipline-specific agencies, foundations, and organizations exist but this list is a helpful starting place if you are new to finding and applying for grants.

General lists all current discretionary funding opportunities from 26 agencies of the United States government, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and many others — in other words, all the most important public funders of research in the United States.


ProFellow is a database of fellowships available to graduate students. See their lists of dissertation research fellowships for doctoral students.


National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Extramural Research 

The largest funder of biomedical research in the world, NIH funds research in just about every area that’s remotely related to human health and disease. This page includes extensive information about NIH grants, as well as a place to search NIH funding programs. NIH also has an advanced search page, which offers a wide range of search options.


National Science Foundation (NSF)

An independent federal agency, the U.S. National Science Foundation funds approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted at America’s colleges and universities.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

The ORAU is a consortium of approximately 100 major Ph.D.-granting academic institutions that cultivates collaborative partnerships aimed at encouraging and enhancing the strengthening of U.S. research and education. ORAU’s science education programs provide well-rounded laboratory experiences that expand your expertise beyond the traditional university setting. Whether you’re looking for a program to help fund your education or a short-term experience like a summer internship, their diverse collection of programs prepare you to meet a variety of research careers.


The Harvard Graduate School of Education Directory of External FundingThe HGSE External Fellowship Database has been created as a resource for the support of graduate studies in the field of education.

Social Sciences & Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

ACLS continues to be the leading private institution supporting scholars in the hu and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels.

American Philosophical Society (APS)

American Philosophical Society awards research grants in the social sciences. Awards are made for non-commercial research only and range from small grants of $1,000 to larger grants of $40,000.

CASBS Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences awards 45-50 fellowships annually to scientists and scholars in the study of behavioral sciences. Awards include but are not limited to psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, biology, history, philosophy, computer science, humanities, education, and statistical specialties.

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

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, and particularly to help Ph.D. candidates in these fields complete their dissertation work in a timely manner.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History provides short-term fellowships in several categories: Research Fellowships for post-doctoral scholars at every faculty rank, Dissertation Fellowships for doctoral candidates who have completed exams and begun dissertation reading and writing, and Research Fellowships for journalists and independent scholars.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC)

SSRC provides funding for predissertation, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships with a focus on social research. Search using SSRC’s database or browse by the alphabetical listing of programs.


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. They offer grants to individuals for creative writing fellowships and translation projects.

Underrepresented Groups in Academia

American Association of University Women – As one of the largest sources of funding in the world exclusively for graduate women, the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2002-03 will distribute more than $4 million in fellowships, grants, and awards. More than a century after the first grant was awarded, the Foundation continues a dynamic and distinguished tradition of advancing educational and career opportunities for all women.

zation of Chinese Americans (OCA) 
Founded in 1973, the Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc. (OCA) is a national non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization of concerned Chinese Americans. OCA is dedicated to securing the rights of Chinese American and Asian American citizens and permanent residents through legislative and policy initiatives at all levels of the government. OCA aims to embrace the hopes and aspirations of the nearly 2 million citizens and residents of Chinese ancestry in the United States as well as to better the lives of the 10 million Asian Americans across the country.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) 
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest Hispanic scholarship-granting organization in the nation. HSF provides financial assistance to outstanding Hispanic students in higher education throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The students represent every region of the country, and attend hundreds of institutions of higher education throughout America. Founded in 1975, HSF has awarded more than 45,000 scholarships totaling nearly $60 million.

United Negro College Fund (UNCF) 
UNCF is a fund-raising consortium of 39 private, fully accredited, four-year, historically black colleges and universities. As an educational assistance organization, The College Fund provides operating assistance to its 39 member colleges and universities, administers over 400 scholarship programs for African American students, provides technical assistance for HBCUs, and conducts research and data collection on African American education. In its 55 year history, UNCF has raised over $1.4 billion to promote higher education achievement in the African American community and has helped to graduate over 300,000 African Americans from undergraduate and graduate programs.

La Unidad Latina Foundation, Inc.

This organization awards scholarship grants to worthy and needy students for the pursuit of higher education. Scholarships are available on a competitive basis to Hispanic students enrolled at community colleges, four-year institutions, and graduate programs.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

LULAC offers scholarships for high school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students through its educational counterpart, the LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. Applicants must be of Hispanic descent with a strong academic record. Awards are based on financial need, community involvement, and academic performance. LULAC also offers the General Electric/LULAC Scholarship and the General Motors/LULAC Scholarship.

Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE)

The Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education awards fellowships to Texas students pursuing graduate studies. Two fellowships are given to students whose career emphasis is on community college education. Two other fellowships will be awarded to students whose study emphasis is on university/post-graduate education. The awards are $2000 each. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Ford Foundation Fellowships for Minorities

Each year the Ford Foundation sponsors approximately 60 pre-doctoral, 40 dissertation, and 30 postdoctoral fellowships . Applicants must be Native American Indian, Mexican American/Chicana/Chicano, Alaska Native (Eskimo or Aleut), Native Pacific Islander (Polynesian or Micronesian), Black/African American, or Puerto Rican.