PHOTO: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipients 2017–2019
The University of Houston and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics offer a number of ways to fund your graduate education. Most of our doctoral students employed in a graduate assistantship position receive a Graduate Tuition Fellowship that pays for the totality of tuition and mandatory fees. Find below a list of funding opportunities for graduate students, within the university and college, and from federal or private sources.
Financial Assistance from UH & NSM
Graduate assistants are full-time graduate students who hold an appointment requiring duties such as classroom teaching, research, or other assigned academic responsibilities. Each department offers teaching assistantships, and many faculty members regularly employ research assistants. Contact the appropriate department for information about these positions.
Students who receive graduate assistantships (i.e., teaching assistantships/TAs or research assistantships/RAs) may not be employed full-time elsewhere. Part-time employment concurrent with an assistantship must be disclosed to and approved by the student’s department (and the department providing the assistantship, if different) prior to the beginning of the term of the assistantship.
Students seeking graduate student appointments to serve as classroom instructors or in other roles that require communicating with students in English (primarily Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows) must meet one of the following requirements before teaching begins:
- Completion of baccalaureate degree requirements at a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an institution in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the United Kingdom at which English is the medium of instruction.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language in one of the following ways:
- TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT) - speaking section score of 25 or higher;
- ACTFL (American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages) - Oral Test - Advanced High (AH) proficiency required. Available through the University of Houston Testing Center
- IELTS - speaking band score of 7.5 or higher required
- Duolingo - conversation subscore of 120 or higher and production subscore of 105 or higher.
The Department of Chemistry has also developed an alternative method to assess spoken English language ability for applicants to Chemistry graduate programs who do not pass the English language proficiency requirements in section 2. Please contact them for more information.
The Graduate Tuition Fellowship (GTF) program encourages students to complete their graduate studies in a timely manner. This fellowship covers the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory fees for qualified Ph.D. students.
Fellowship Eligibility and Details
- To be considered for funding, a student must have an undergraduate degree, or its equivalent, and be admitted to an NSM Ph.D. program.
- A student must be registered full-time (9 credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters. Students who drop their enrollment below these hours during the semester will have their GTF retroactively revoked. Enrollment in the summer semester is not required unless the student is graduating.
- The GTF will cover tuition and mandatory fees for graduate courses only (not undergraduate courses) and will cover no more than 9 hours in the fall and spring semesters, and 6 hours in the summer.
- Students in their graduating semester, whether domestic or international, are encouraged to petition for a reduced course load (less than full-time registration, typically 3 hours). If granted, this exception to the full-time registration requirement will be for one time only. Students who fail to graduate in the anticipated semester will need to register full-time in the future. All students should make their request on a Graduate Petition form. International students must also file a “Reduced Course Load” form issued by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, if the graduating semester is the fall or spring semester.
- Students entering the doctoral program should have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Continuing students must have shown satisfactory progress in the degree program as defined by the college or department, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Award requests are made in August for the fall and spring semesters. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of least 3.00 by the beginning of the spring semester will have their GTF revoked for the spring semester. Only students entering their second semester may petition to retain the GTF that semester if their cumulative GPA is less than 3.00.
- Doctoral degree-seeking students who enter the doctoral program directly from a baccalaureate program may hold the fellowship for no more than 10 long semesters. Funding in the 11th and 12th semester is subject to availability and requires a petition. Students must show that they are in their anticipated graduating semester or the semester prior to the graduating semester, and have the support of the dissertation advisor and the department. Required documentation and further details can be found on the GTF Extension Request form that must be submitted together with the Graduate and Professional Student Petition form.
- Graduate students holding the fellowship must be employed for the entire semester as a tuition-eligible Research Assistant (RA/TE), Teaching Assistant, or Instructional Assistant for no more than 20 hours per week (50% FTE) on campus at or above the minimum salary approved by the University. This requirement applies whether the student is registered for a full load or a reduced course load. Students who are employed in one of the above categories for only part of the semester do not qualify for the GTF, except if they are graduating and leave the university before the end of the graduating semester. In the summer, the employment period must coincide or substantially overlap with the summer session(s) of enrollment. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for students enrolled in a mini session. The employment, whether within the enrolling department or not, must be substantively related to the student's major field of study. Departments must be able to provide proof that the student’s employment is of direct academic benefit to his/her degree objective. Violation of this provision will result in withdrawal of the funding during the semester in which the violation occurs.
- Students who receive a competitive fellowship which provides a monthly stipend for living expenses, but does not cover tuition, will be eligible for the GTF.
- Final selection of awardees will be made by the NSM GTF Fellowship Committee.
- Students who are graduating and leave UH before the graduating semester ends may petition to retain the GTF for that semester.
The Presidential Fellowship assists departments or programs in the recruitment of outstanding students. The fellowship program provides funds to match or exceed financial assistance packages offered by other institutions. Only students of exceptional caliber who represent extraordinary recruitment opportunities will receive these fellowships.
The two-year fellowship is available for outstanding students entering a Ph.D. program at UH in the fall semester. The potential for academic excellence is the main criteria for selection. The selection of fellows is made only at the time students are being considered for admission into a Ph.D. program.
Nomination and Selection Process
Applicants need to be nominated by their department. Departments must email the nomination form to the NSM Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and upload to CollegeNet a letter of admission containing the offer of both a Presidential Fellowship and a competitive stipend with the Graduate Tuition Fellowship.
The following items are taken into consideration during the selection process:
- Applicant’s grades in previous degree programs, and scores on standardized tests (GRE, TOEFL/IELTS if applicable).
- Three letters of reference.
- Candidate's statement of his/her academic and research goals.
- Student information pertinent to their ability to excel academically.
The NSM Presidential Fellowship Committee reviews all nominations and awards the fellowships.
Recipients will be awarded a $2,000 per year fellowship for the first two years of graduate study. Students must meet minimum full-time enrollment (9 hours) and a cumulative 3.00 GPA to maintain the fellowship each semester it is held. Award funding will be withdrawn in the event this agreement is violated.
The deadline for nominations is April 1. Departments are encouraged to send nominations as early as possible in the spring semester.
The Graduate School Stella L. Ehrhardt Scholarship assists colleges in the recruitment of outstanding master’s program students. Only students with excellent credentials will receive this scholarship. The scholarship is offered every other year, on even years.
The two-year scholarship is available for outstanding students entering a thesis-based master’s program in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the fall semester. The potential for research and academic excellence are the main criteria for selection. The selection of fellows is made only at the time students are being considered for admission into a master’s program.
Nomination and Selection Process
Applicants need to be nominated by their department. Each NSM department can nominate up to two applicants. Departments must email the nomination form to the NSM Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and upload to CollegeNet a letter of admission containing the offer of the scholarship.
The following items are taken into consideration during the selection process:
- Applicant’s grades in previous degree programs; a cumulative GPA greater than 3.2 is considered competitive
- Scores on standardized tests; scores greater than 85 on the TOEFL and greater than 305 on the combined verbal and quantitative GRE are considered competitive
- Three letters of reference
- Quality of the undergraduate institution
- Evidence of high potential for research and academic success.
The NSM Selection Committee reviews all nominations and awards the scholarships.
Recipients will be awarded a $1,200 per year scholarship for the first two years of graduate study. International and non-resident students will qualify for a non-resident tuition waiver. Students must meet a minimum full-time enrollment (9 hours) and a cumulative 3.00 GPA to maintain the fellowship each semester it is held. Award funding will be withdrawn in the event this agreement is violated. All domestic students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The deadline for nominations is March 1. The College must have received all nominations from the departments before awards are made.
This $5,000 fellowship is awarded each year to an outstanding Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. Applicants must have passed their qualifying examination and be continuously enrolled, including in the semester of the fellowship award. Students are nominated by their graduate advisors or by other faculty in the department on the basis of their scholarship and research productivity. A faculty member cannot nominate more than one graduate student from the same research group. The department’s Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs collects the nominations and requests the CV of each nominee. An independent ad-hoc committee of 3 tenured or tenure-track faculty members within the department without direct contact with the nominees selects the 3 best students from this pool. The applications of the 3 best students are then emailed to the NSM Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs, who will forward them to the NSM Scholarship Selection Committee for selection of the fellowship recipient. A major criterion in the selection of the fellowship recipient is research potential and excellence, as evidenced by publications and presentations at conferences. The deadline for receipt of the nominations by the College is November 1. Awards are made in the following spring semester.
This $5,000 fellowship is awarded each year to an outstanding Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry who is engaged in cancer research. A major criterion for selection is the nominee’s research potential and excellence, as evidenced by publications and presentations at conferences. Applicants must have passed their qualifying examination and are nominated by their graduate advisors on the basis of their scholarship and research productivity. No more than one graduate student can be nominated from each research group. The department chair collects nominating statements and CVs for each nominee and forwards them to the NSM Scholarship Committee who selects the awardee.
The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics offers a one-year scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to exceptional first-year students seeking an accelerated M.S. degree. To qualify, students must have completed 9 hours of graduate level courses and have a minimum TOEFL score of 79 if they are foreign students. Prior to acceptance of this fellowship, students should have not yet received a B.S. degree in the same field as the M.S. they seek.
Students are nominated by their departments, and the applications are evaluated by the NSM Fellowship Committee, on the basis of letters of recommendation, transcripts and competitive GPA, and indication of potential academic success. Application materials should be received at least one month prior to the start of the entering semester.
Students must be enrolled full-time to maintain the fellowship.
In addition, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will provide competitive $5,000 awards to selected outstanding students who have completed an accelerated M.S. program and were supported by the Accelerated M.S. Program Scholarship. Considerations for the award are graduate GPA in the program and potential for research excellence.
The Cullen Graduate Fellowship Travel Grant is a competitive fellowship program established by the Graduate School to support Ph.D. students presenting their research at meetings or conferences. Due to the wide-ranging schedules of conferences, there are quarterly deadlines for Cullen Fellowship Travel Grant applications.
NSM offers financial support for current graduate students to travel to conferences and present their research. Up to $750 or 1/3 (whichever is less) of the travel, lodging, and registration costs may be covered. To apply, please fill out this form, an abstract for your presentation, and certification from your research advisor of your support and that remaining expenses will be covered. Please send the material to Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs, Jeremy May (firstname.lastname@example.org), for evaluation at least one week before the semester in which the travel will occur. Notification of award will be made by the beginning of the semester.
The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics offers a few scholarships to continuing graduate students. A list of scholarships available, along with eligibility requirements and application forms can be found on the program webpage.
The NSM Alumni Association offers scholarships to graduate students. A few UH Alumni Association scholarships also fund graduate students. Find more information and deadlines for the NSM Alumni Association Scholarships on this webpage.
The Graduate School Fund provides financial assistance for Texas-resident graduate and professional students who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts will be based on a student's financial need and the availability of funds. The Graduate School Fund can only be applied to the cost of tuition and mandatory fees. This award is non-refundable and will be adjusted if the scholarship amount exceeds the actual cost of a student's tuition and mandatory fees. Find more information on the Graduate School webpage.
The university administers a variety of other financial aid programs, including grants and need-based and non-need-based loans. Each year that students apply for financial aid, they must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Funding Opportunities Outside the University
This prestigious fellowship provides for three years of graduate support (doctoral or master’s level) in science, mathematics, engineering, and social sciences (STEM).
Assistance for Applicants: The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics organizes a yearly workshop on writing and submitting proposals (view presentation). An NSM peer writing group led by current NSF GRFP recipients works on drafts and proposal development during the summer time to help applicants submit competitive applications by the October deadlines.
Who: U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents who are undergraduate seniors or graduate students in STEM fields in their first or second year of graduate school, and do not hold a prior graduate degree.
Duration: 3 years (can be deferred for any 3 years over a 5-year period)
Benefits: The GRFP is a 3-year fellowship that provides a yearly stipend of $34,000 to the fellow and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the institution for the fellow’s use. It can be combined with other non-federal funding.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
The purpose of the NIH Kirschstein-NRSA program is to enable promising predoctoral students with the potential to develop into productive, independent research scientists and to obtain mentored research training while conducting dissertation research.
Who: U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents. The applicant must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the biomedical, behavioral or clinical sciences. The applicant must be at the dissertation research stage of training at the time of award, must show evidence of high academic performance in the sciences, and commitment to a career as an independent research scientist.
Duration: Up to 5 years
Benefits: Kirschstein-NRSA awards provide a stipend ($24,000), an institutional allowance ($4,200) for expenses such as health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, and travel to scientific meetings, and 60% of the cost of tuition and fees.
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships are awarded to applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in the fields of science and engineering.
Who: U.S. citizens or nationals who plan to pursue a Ph.D. Graduating seniors or students who have not yet completed one full year of graduate school are eligible. Academic excellence is required. Relevant research and/or internship experience is valued highly.
Duration: 3 years
Benefits: Approximately 200 fellowships are awarded every year. This program funds tuition/fees and an annual stipend of $31,000. Up to $1,000 is also provided for health insurance.
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation provides unique financial and fellowship support to the nation's most remarkable Ph.D. students in the applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Hertz Fellows become innovators and leaders serving in ways that benefit us all.
Who: Applicants must be students of the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who are willing to morally commit to make their skills available to the United States in time of national emergency (see Commitment). College seniors wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in any of the fields of interest to the Foundation, as well as graduate students already in the process of doing so, may apply.
Duration: 1-5 years
Benefits: Approximately 15-20 fellowships are awarded annually. Fellows receive paid tuition and fees for 1-5 years and a $31,000 annual stipend.
This fellowship provides doctoral students up to four years of financial support along with outstanding benefits and opportunities while pursuing degrees in fields of study that utilize high performance computing technology to solve complex problems in science and engineering. Applications from students in engineering and the physical, computer, mathematical or life sciences are encouraged.
Who: U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are planning full-time, uninterrupted study toward a Ph.D. at an accredited U.S. university. Senior undergraduate and first-year doctoral students (at the time of application) in engineering and the physical, computer, mathematical or life sciences are eligible to apply.
Benefits: Recipients receive a $36,000 yearly stipend, payment of all tuition and fees, $5,000 academic allowance in first year, and $1,000 academic allowance each renewed year. They also benefit from a 12-week research practicum at a DOE laboratory, yearly conferences, and career, professional and leadership development. Fellowship is renewable up to four years.
The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program was established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing technical degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD facilities.
Who: Applicants must be citizens of the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom at time of application, 18 years of age or older, able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories, willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD, in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by the SMART application), and pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of the STEM disciplines.
Duration: Renewable for the time required to complete your degree studies, pending satisfactory progress. Scholars must agree to work for the DoD immediately after they graduate, one year for every year of scholarship support.
Benefits: Recipients receive full tuition and education- related fees (does not include items such as meal plans, housing or parking), cash award paid at a rate of $25,000 - $41,000 depending on prior educational experience (may be prorated depending on award length), paid summer internships, health insurance reimbursement allowance up to $1,200 per calendar year, book allowance of $1,000 per academic year, mentoring, and employment placement after graduation.
Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximizing the educational benefits of diversity, and increasing the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. Predoctoral, Dissertation, and Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation.
Who: U.S. citizens, nationals and permanent residents. Awards are made to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research, and are prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. Open to undergraduate seniors, recent alumni, current Masters students who will begin Ph.D./Sc.D. study in the next year, or Ph.D./Sc.D. students who can demonstrate that they have at least three years remaining after the current year. Eligibility is not restricted to minority students, but underrepresented minority status is considered positively in selection.
Duration: Depends on the program, usually 1-3 years
Benefits: Approximately 60 awards. The fellowship provides a $20,000 stipend, $2,000 payment in lieu of tuition and fees, plus conference funding.
GEM is a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, top universities, and top research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering. The goal of the GEM Ph.D. Science Fellowship is to increase the number of minority students who pursue doctoral degrees in the natural science disciplines — chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics, biological sciences, and computer science.
Who: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Candidates targeted for participation are members of underrepresented groups in science and engineering. See additional eligibility requirements on the website.
Duration: 1 year
Benefits: Ph.D. Engineering/Science Fellows receive a $16,000 stipend in the first academic year of the GEM Fellowship, a minimum of one paid summer internship with a GEM Employer Member, and full tuition and fees at a GEM University Member. In addition, the GEM Member University provides a living stipend up to the 5th year of Ph.D. program, equivalent to other funded doctoral students in the department.
One of the world’s largest sources of funding for graduate women, AAUW is providing more than $3.7 million in funding for fellowships and grants to 250 outstanding women and nonprofit organizations in the 2017-18 academic year. Fellowship and grant recipients perform research in a wide range of disciplines. The AAUW provides four types of fellowships relevant to master’s and doctoral students in STEM fields:
- American Dissertation Fellowships: Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Dissertation Fellowship is to offset a scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation. Duration: 1 year. Amount: $20,000.
- International Fellowships: The program provides support for women pursuing full-time graduate or postdoctoral study in the U.S. who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Duration: 1 year (limited number may be renewed a second year). Amount: $18,000 (M.S.), $20,000 (Ph.D.).
- Selected Professions Fellowships: Selected Professions Fellowships are awarded to women who intend to pursue a full-time course of study at accredited U.S. institutions during the fellowship year in one of the designated degree programs where women’s participation traditionally has been low (computer science, mathematics, statistics). Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Duration: 1 year. Amount: $5,000 - $18,000.
- Career Development Grants: Career Development Grants provide funding to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or reenter the workforce. Primary consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or credentials in nontraditional fields. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose last degree was received before June 30, 2013. Funds are available for tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation, and dependent care. Grants provide support for course work beyond a bachelor’s degree, including a master’s degree, second bachelor’s degree, certification program, or specialized training in technical or professional fields. Funds are not available for doctorate-level work. Duration: 1 year. Amount: $2,000 – 12,000.
This program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. This program provides U.S. students funding to pursue research projects or to teach English in countries all over the world.
Who: Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application. Permanent residents are not eligible. All majors are eligible, but each country outlines priority and/or restricted fields of study. Open to graduating seniors, recent graduates and master’s/Ph.D. students. Competitive applicants to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program will not have recent extensive experience abroad (excluding recent undergraduate study abroad), especially in the country of application. Applicants should emphasize a plan for study/research that is feasible and fits goals and should provide a good rationale for the host country. Applicants must have proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country sufficient to communicate with the people and to carry out the proposed study/research.
Duration: 9-12 months
Benefits: Over 1,500 awards to U.S. students annually. The grant covers most expenses associated with tenure abroad (round-trip transportation, room and board, incidental costs, health insurance). Depending on the country, the grant may also include book and research allowances, full or partial tuition (if enrolled at a university), and language or orientation courses (where appropriate).