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Graduate student funding

  1. Jul 3, 2013 #1
    Hello all,

    Would anyone know of a website that has a comprehensive list of fellowships, grants and funding opportunities for graduate students in the sciences? I know of the big ones like NSF, DOE, NDSEG, etc but was wondering if there are smaller grants for research or stipend that is available?
     
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  3. Jul 3, 2013 #2

    QuantumCurt

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    In what field? If you're talking about physics, students rarely, if ever have to actually pay for their doctoral program. Tuition and a living stipend are usually taken care of through your duties as a teaching assistant or research assistant.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2013 #3
    True, but we are all encouraged to get our own funding. This would be for physics, but more specifically solid state physics with broad applications in medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and continuing the information revolution.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2013 #4

    QuantumCurt

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    In most doctoral programs though, the source of "getting your own funding" is arranged through the school, in the form of teaching/research assistantships.

    In many schools, the first two years of the doctoral program have the tuition waived, due to the required positions as a teaching assistant. Beyond that point, you're often required to secure your own funding, but it can typically be secured by finding your own positions within the school as an assistant.

    These things obviously differ from school to school, but this is the general policy that I've seen at most of the schools I've looked into.
     
  6. Jul 3, 2013 #5
    Or.. the advisor can push students to get their own graduate funding since it builds character, thus bringing me back to my original question. I am a senior grad student so Ive been through most of the "early years" to be eligible for NSF, DOE, DOD
     
  7. Jul 3, 2013 #6

    QuantumCurt

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    My apologies, you hadn't clarified that point.

    I'm looking into future grad schools, and I've never heard of anything like this within a physics major. Is this type of situation a common occurrence? The only similar situation that I've heard of would be finding your own funding through securing a position at the university, but that sounds like a slightly different scenario.

    I'm interested to hear some further input on this though, as it's something that I may be facing in the future too.
     
  8. Jul 4, 2013 #7
    Depends no your adviser and also what you want to do after graduation. Obtaining your own funding is, for example, essential for small startups. Do you want to start your own company? Also, writing grants and applying for $$ is essential as a professor. Do you want to be a prof when you graduate? Either way, there is no down side to being aggressive in obtaining your own funding. I would also like to say that any adviser would support their students financially, it's just how badly do you want to achieve above the norm? Advisers also like outside support and potential financial connections.
     
  9. Jul 4, 2013 #8

    Choppy

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    In some departments you are guaranteed financial support, but you need to provide proof that you have at applied for external funding and been rejected.

    Also (at least this is the case in Canada) an external scholarship can make a big financial difference. Students who come in with external funding are often awarded "top up" funding - to the point where some of them are pulling in $30k per year or more, whereas those without it are only getting the $20k that comes through the TAship/stipend.

    And, to build on what elionix said, scholarships tend to snowball. It seems easier to get an external post-doctoral award if you have had a PhD award. I don't know if that's just because those with external awards are a subset of students with naturally higher attributes on average, or if the simple indication that you've already received a previous award makes it more likely that you will be awarded something in a current competition, or if having an external award gives you more time to be productive as a researcher because you don't have to TA, or something else.
     
  10. Jul 5, 2013 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Wait, back up a bit. Are you telling us that your advisor is pushing you to get your own research funding?!!! And this is on top of doing your research, writing your thesis, and preparing to graduate and looking for a job/postdoc? Really?!

    Zz.
     
  11. Jul 6, 2013 #10
    That's how we do. Builds character.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2013 #11
    Regarding getting external awards/fellowships... it's good to have "connections"
     
  13. Jul 7, 2013 #12

    ZapperZ

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    But is this realistic and is it really necessary as part of your training at this stage?

    NSF funding request, at least for the regular funding requests, are often directed at tenured or tenure-track faculty members. Those are usually the ones who can be in charge of the funding account when they are received (ALL NSF funding request must go through their automated online system, and the only way you get on that is via being registered by the university external funding office). Unless NSF has special student-only research funding (rather than NSF educational funding), then you are not qualified, as a graduate student, to apply for such funding request.

    And having had to deal with DOE for years, I have never heard of a research funding request done by a graduate student. DOE and NSF do fund certainly programs which includes, as part of the cost listing, money set aside to support graduate students. But these are grants that a scientist or faculty member applied for. We never send a graduate student to the wolfs.

    You will have plenty of opportunity to learn about funding requests, etc. when you do your postdoc.

    Zz.
     
  14. Jul 24, 2013 #13
    Zz, I wish you were my advisor :)
     
  15. Jul 24, 2013 #14

    Physics_UG

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    Zapper, I think the OP is referring to graduate fellowships (NSF, NDSEG, DOE, etc)...not grants that a professor would apply for. My advisor also encouraged me to apply for them but he could fund me even if I was rejected.

    While these are very competitive, I think all science grad students should at least apply for these.
     
  16. Jul 24, 2013 #15

    ZapperZ

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    Graduate fellowships are to pay for your tuition and fees, and give you a stipend. It is NOT the standard research funding, which was what asked when I requested for clarification.

    Zz.
     
  17. Jul 24, 2013 #16

    Physics_UG

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    A big portion of standard research funding is for the student's tuition, fees, and living stipend. This doesn't include cost of research supplies however.
     
  18. Jul 24, 2013 #17

    ZapperZ

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    Actually, no. A BIG portion of a typical research funding is manpower, especially for scientists/faculty members/etc. which often includes coverage of the benefits, etc. that usually are not given to graduate students. And depending on what type of research funding it is, an experimental funding proposal will often have the largest portion of it being equipment, M&S, etc. Graduate student funding is CHEAP.

    The point here is that (i) a graduate student do not have access to apply for many of the regular, standard research grant funding proposals, and (ii) a graduate student typically has no capability, experience, expertise, and ability to seek such funding! I mean, would a graduate student be able to make accurate estimates of his/her cost, the cost of the overheads, the cost of a typical M&S for such-and-such a project, etc.. etc.? It was daunting to me when I first had to write such a thing, and I was already a working physicist! And this is BEFORE we talk about what is required in a typical research proposal as far as making a convincing argument on why such-and-such a project should be funded.

    Zz.
     
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