Are you a beginning graduate student interested in applying for a fellowship but don’t know what’s out there? This was my situation earlier this year, and deciding which fellowships to apply for took a fair bit of time and research. I’m writing this in hopes that other students in the same situation I was in can benefit from my research. Specifically, if you are a first or second year American graduate student (or undergrad senior) working towards a Ph.D. in mathematics or a related field, you might want to consider the fellowships below.
Of the fellowships available to beginning American graduate students in mathematics, the four listed below seem the most appealing to me (the most financial support with minimal or no service requirements). Fellowships for students who are not in this category are not considered here; in particular, there are a number of fellowship programs for students who are farther along in their graduate studies and working on their Ph.D. dissertations.
All the specific information below (number of awards, stipend amounts, dates) concerns the 2009 award year (i.e. those given out in 2009); this information is subject to change (particularly the NSF), and the specifics here are just to give you a rough idea.
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG). About 200 awards per year, spread out over the science fields of interest to the Dept. of Defense (DoD). Fellowship duration is 36 consecutive months and cannot be deferred. Pays full tuition, required fees, up to $1000 towards health insurance, and an annual stipend of $30,500 the first year, $31,000$ the second year, and $31,500 the third year. Must be used at a U.S. university, and fellows cannot earn more than $5,000 per year in addition the fellowship stipend. The application is short and sweet, very factual – the hardest part of the application (in my opinion) is limiting your responses to the allowed number of characters. The application and all supporting materials are due in early January; required supplementary materials include transcripts, GREs, minimum of 3 reference letters. https://ndseg.asee.org/
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Between 900 and 1,600 awards in the 2009 award year (number of awards is based on availability of funds and may vary dramatically in subsequent years), spread over sciences and engineering. Fellowship duration is a maximum of 3 years to be used over a 5-year period. Pays $10,500 toward tuition and fees, and a stipend of $30,000 per 12 month tenure year. Also a $1,000 International Research Travel Allowance request. Can be used at universities abroad. The application is lengthy and involved. The application is due in early November, and supporting materials are due at a later date; required supplementary materials include transcripts, GREs (NSF will pay for the GRE score report), minimum 3 reference letters. https://www.fastlane-beta.nsf.gov/grfp/Login.do
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowships. Approximately 60 predoctoral awards this year, spread over all fields (not just science). Fellowship duration is 3 years; after the first year it can be deffered, but all 3 years must be used in a 5 year period. Provides an annual stipend of $20,000 and $2,000 per year to the institution. “Through its program of Diversity Fellowships, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.” Application is due in mid November, and supplementary materials due later; required supplementary materials include transcripts, minimum of 3 reference letters (GRE not required). http://www7.nationalacademies.org/FORDfellowships/Fordpredoc.html
National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC). Fellows are sponsored by NPSC sponsoring employers, with whom fellows complete two (required) summer internships (list of employers and supported disciplines: http://www.npsc.org/students/disciplines.html). Number of awards varies yearly. An NPSC Fellowship covers the first two or three years of graduate school, depending on the employer who sponsors the fellowship, with the possibility of continuation for several more years providing all the conditions of the fellowship continue to be met. The maximum duration is six years. Provides an annual stipend of $16,000 per year, paid summer internships, and member universities (NPSC fellowships can only be used at one of over 100 “member universities”) cover the cost of tuition and fees. “It is open to all U. S. Citizens, but with emphasis on recruitment of applications from historically underrepresented minorities and women.” Some employers have additional requirements (such as passing a background check). Application due early November; requires transcripts, employment history, minimum of 3 reference letters. http://www.npsc.org/
Hope this information is helpful to you, or at least saves you some time getting started with the fellowship process. (I applied as a second year math grad student to three of the four fellowships listed above, and was selected for and accepted a NDSEG fellowship.) Good luck!