Fellowship Information

Number of Awards: Varies yearly

Type: Fellowship

Duration: In the traditional fellowship, initial support may be for two or three years, or for a full six years, depending on the employer-sponsor. If the initial support is for the shorter period, it may be extended up to six years at the discretion of the employer. The Dissertation Support Program covers the period of dissertation research and defense, up to a maximum of four years.

Amount: The charge to the employer for each student supported is $26,000 annually, of which $20,000 is the student stipend and $6,000 is NPSC’s fee to support its operations. The charge is subject to change at the discretion of the NPSC Board of Directors.

Fields of Study: Though the fields supported can vary annually depending on employer needs, in general NPSC covers the following: Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Materials Science, Mathematical Sciences, Physics, and their subdisciplines, and related engineering fields: Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Mechanical.

Location or Type of Institution: Any participating NPSC Member University or College

Eligibility: NPSC welcomes applications from any qualified U.S. citizen who has the ability to pursue graduate work at an NPSC member institution. Applicants should be in one of the following categories:

For the Traditional Program:

  • Be in your senior year.
  • Be in your first or second year of a graduate program.
  • Be in a terminal master’s program (your university offers no Ph.D. in your discipline).
  • Be returning from the workforce

For the Dissertation Support Program, be near the point at which your research will begin.

Persons who already possess a doctoral degree in any field are ineligible.

Employers may nominate NPSC fellows directly, obviating the selection process. These fellows may enroll for either a Master’s or a PhD degree.

Selection: NPSC’s employers select fellows based the following factors, not in order:

  • Whether the applicant’s field of study matches the employer’s needs
  • Undergraduate and graduate course work and grades
  • Research experience at a university or in industry
  • Letters of recommendation from professors and employers. These can be decisive. The most effective letters are from persons who have supervised or observed the applicant’s participation in research.
  • The GRE General tests are required; the Subject test is suggested and may be required by your university.

Using these criteria, employers review the pool of applicants and advise NPSC of which students the employer wishes to support. NPSC then makes the award.

Additional Requirements

  • Applicants must be accepted at a participating NPSC-member university or college and progress through a full-time study program leading to a graduate degree in the physical sciences or related engineering fields.
  • Fellows must complete one or two summer internships, as the sponsoring employer requires.
  • To continue in good standing, fellows must submit a transcript annually as well as any forms and information that NPSC requests.
  • Fellows must perform satisfactorily in their summer internship and during the academic year.
  • A fellow who switches his or her field of study to one not of interest to the sponsoring employer may have support terminated.

The following employers have additional stipulations:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Requires fellows to make a good faith effort to conduct collaborative research that involves both the LLNL mentor and the graduate thesis advisor. Metrics for this collaboration include joint publications, research done at LLNL and frequent visits to LLNL. Fellows should plan their course work and research direction with their university department and LLNL as a team effort.

National Security Agency (NSA): Requires Fellow to pass a background investigation.

Sandia National Laboratories: Requires Fellow to successfully pass a background investigation.