Most PhD programs in the United States fund their graduate students. Yet it is still beneficial for graduate students to obtain outside funding. A graduate student’s funding may be offered in the form of a teaching fellowship, but those wishing to relieve themselves of some time-consuming instructional duties can opt for outside funding. Getting external support is also an accomplishment and accomplishments look nice on a CV. Also, many Master’s students are not funded and many European PhDs are not funded either. Below, please find an (incomplete) list of some funding opportunities for master’s and PhD students in the mathematical sciences.
NSF Graduate Student Fellowship Program (GRFP). The GRFP is a classic. This program funds master’s and doctoral degrees at institutions of higher education in the United States. The GRFP provides three years of support. Women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors are especially encouraged to apply. Their deadline is typically late October (October 22 is the 2018 deadline). Letters of reference are usually due by early November.
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEGF). NDSEG Fellowships provide tuition, monthly living stipends, and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance (excluding dental and vision) for three years. NDSEG Fellowships are usable at any graduate program in the United States.
AMS Graduate Travel Grants. The American Mathematical Society offers partial funding for graduate students to travel to the Joint Mathematical Meetings (JMM) and the AMS sectional meetings. These grants are, of course, far smaller than those above but are useful.
Marie Skoldowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) PhD Funding. The MSCA funds PhD students at European institutions. The MSCA emphasizes multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research ventures. MSCA funding lasts four years covering accommodation, travel, and living expenses. It is available to students of any nationality. The MSCA is particularly keen on supporting refugees. Applications are usually due in December.
Ford Foundation Fellowships. The Ford Foundation offers to graduate students in the sciences, engineering, and medicine. This fellowship provides support lasting between nine months to one year for the completion of a doctoral dissertation, by a stipend of \$25,000.
The Rhodes Scholarship. Contrary to common sentiment, you do not have to be the first baby born in New Haven, Connecticut to receive this funding. The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil B. Rhodes, funds American citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 to pursue graduate studies at Oxford University. It is not just for future politicians, people do actually study mathematics with Rhodes support. The Fullbright Scholarship is a similar deal used for graduate study in Australia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship. The SMART Scholarship offers support to graduate students in engineering, mathematics, and science. It is funded by the Department of Defense. Benefits are a yearly stipend of \$25,000 to \$38,000 in addition to full tuition coverage, \$1,200 per year in health insurance, and mentoring. The SMART has a notable contingency: recipients commit to one year of civilian employment with the United States Department of Defense per academic year of funding received through the SMART Scholarship program.
American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) Workshops. AIM workshops take up to 28 participants. They are organized either for the purpose of conducting new research on an open problem or for the purpose of understanding an important new proof of a long-standing open problem. Workshops last one week and funding is provided for travel and room & board. There are no restrictions on citizenship.
Acknowledgements. The 2017 AMS MRC provided us with a list of some funding opportunities for graduate studies and post-doctoral work, some of which are mentioned in this post.