Graduate Fellowships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Diversity (GFSD)

Please consult the program website to confirm details, including applicable deadlines.

Visit Program Website Here

Program Purpose: 

The National Physical Science Consortium offers a unique graduate fellowship in the physical sciences and related engineering fields. Its emphasis is recruitment of historically underrepresented minorities and women.

Program Description and Benefits: 

Based at the University of Southern California, GFSD (formerly the National Physical Science Consortium) recruits PhD-bound, U.S. citizen applicants. The GFSD Fellowship covers the first 2-3 years of graduate school, with a possible maximum of 6 years, depending on the employer sponsoring the fellowship. Employers may include: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the National Security Agency, National Security Technologies, and Sandia National Laboratories. The GFSD fellowship lasts for up to 6 years; provides an annual $20,000 expense allowance (a total allowance funding up to $120,000), covers full tuition and required fees, is portable to 125 research universities, allows a research or teaching assistantship; offers paid summer internships with the sponsor; provides a mentor from the sponsoring agency; and establishes a lasting relationship with the sponsor. 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.

Supported Fields: 

Though the fields supported can vary annually depending on employer needs, in general GFSD 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.

Tenable Institutions: 

Participating universities are largely Carnegie Research Extensive and Research Intensive universities. For a list of GFSD universities, see:

Program Benefits: 

Students entering with an undergraduate degree may be funded for up to six years. Students entering with a master's degree or entering the NPSC program during their third year of graduate school may be funded for up to four years.

Application Process: 

Concurrent application to graduate programs is the student's responsibility. GFSD requires a minimum of three letters of recommendation (and a maximum of five) from professors and employers familiar with the applicant's work in your discipline. If at all possible, at least one letter should be from someone who has observed or supervised the applicant's participation in research.

Applicant Profile: 

The GFSD applicant pool is the most diverse of any national STEM fellowship program. Successful candidates demonstrate, through academic excellence and research experience, a likelihood of earning a Ph.D. with distinction. Historically underrepresented minorities and women are invited to apply. The average GPA is 3.8, with about 17% having a GPA of 4.0 or above.


GFSD welcomes applications from any qualified U.S. citizen with the ability to pursue graduate work at an GFSD university associate. Applicants at any stage of their graduate program may apply, as long as they will be available to accept two summers of paid internship. Those who already possess a doctoral degree are ineligible.


Applicants must be accepted at a participating GFSD-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 GFSD 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 will likely have support terminated. National Security Agency (NSA): Requires Fellows to pass a background investigation.

Selection Criteria: 

GFSD employers select fellows based the following factors, not in order: (1) Whether the applicant's field of study matches the employer's needs; (2) Undergraduate and graduate course work and grades; (3) Research experience at a university or in industry; (4) 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; (5) 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 GFSD of which students the employer wishes to support. GFSD then makes the award.


U.S. citizens only.

Program Deadline: 

Online applications open in late August and close around Dec. 1.

How To Apply: 

Students or alumni, as applicable, may apply directly to this program. Applicants may seek the support of the Fellowships Office to receive feedback on their application materials.

Resources for Applicants

Why Should You Apply for a Fulbright?

Quick Links

Fellowships Office

Dr. Joy Viveros

Phone: 415.405.2128
Reception: Grad Stop, ADM 250 
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132