Freshman- and Sophomore-year: Selected National Scholarships and Fellowships
General Information & Tips for Prospective Fellowships Applicants
Fellowships are merit-based awards for further academic study or research disbursed through national, and sometimes international, competitions. Some sponsors also use the term “scholarship” in the name of their awards. In the context of national academic competitions, a fellowship should not be confused with traditional sources of financial aid. Recipients are usually selected on the basis of high academic achievement, scholarly promise, career goals, leadership skills, service to others, character, and sometimes financial need. This is a selective list of national and international fellowships opportunities.
For most of the competitive award programs below, applicants must already be of sophomore standing at the time of application. However, there are several programs that accept applications from first-year students, including summer opportunities.
The federal government, foreign governments, and private philanthropic organizations sponsor these award programs; they provide funding based on academic merit and other criteria designated by each sponsor to support undergraduate study in the U.S. and abroad. See the individual programs’ official websites for complete information on eligibility requirements, application procedures, application forms, and exact filing deadlines. Many sites also include profiles of past winners.
See the Guide for First- and Second-year Students for suggestions on ways to improve one's competitiveness for fellowships. The guide also contains links to searchable fellowships databases.
Some of these programs are officially coordinated at UR by the Fellowships Office (Dewey 4-209B, 276-5869) and are overseen by the Director of Fellowships, Belinda Redden (firstname.lastname@example.org); others are handled by the Center for Study Abroad (2-147 Dewey Hall, 275-7532, email@example.com). Many programs do not require any formal University involvement, but students are encouraged to seek advisement from the relevant office for these competitions as well.
- Programs preceded by an asterisk (*) require institutional endorsement of candidates.
- To be considered for nomination, interested students need to first complete the Fellowships Preliminary Questionnaire (FPQ) by the specified spring or fall deadline, prior to submitting the official application for campus review.
- Programs preceded by a dagger (†) accept applications from first-year students.
When University nomination or endorsement is required, campus application deadlines are much earlier than the national application due dates; check with the appropriate office at least a semester in advance if you are interested in applying for any of these awards. In most cases, a faculty committee selects nominees based on a complete draft of the official fellowship application; the nomination process may also include an interview.
- Jump to a fellowship opportunity:
- * † David L. Boren/NSEP (National Security Education Program) Undergraduate Scholarship
- Critical Language Scholarship Program
- DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst / German Academic Exchange Service)
- Department of Homeland Security Undergraduate Scholarship
- Fulbright US-UK Summer Institutes Scholarship
- * Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
- * Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
- Humanity in Action Foundation Fellowship
- The Institute for Humane Studies Fellowship
- * Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship
- McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
- National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program
- New York Women in Communications, Inc. (NYWICI) Foundation Scholarship
- SMART Scholarship for Service Program
- SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) Program
- † Tylenol Scholarship Program
- * Udall Scholarship
- All-USA Today College Academic Team
* † David L. Boren/NSEP (National Security Education Program) Undergraduate Scholarship
- For undergraduates who are U.S. citizens and wish to study abroad in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, or the Middle East.
- Maximum scholarship awards are: $8,000 for a summer program (special initiative for STEM students only; 8 weeks minimum); $10,000 for a semester and; $20,000 for a full academic year
- Academic program must include formal study of a modern language other than English and the study of an area and culture considered critical to U.S. national security.
- Selection based on academic achievement and potential to succeed in the proposed study abroad experience; commitment to international education to fulfill academic and career goals; commitment to seek work in the federal government; and the quality and appropriateness of the proposed program.
- Undergraduate application process coordinated through the Center for Study Abroad. Application usually due in mid-January.
- Program of intensive summer institutes offered overseas for language training and cultural enrichment in selected languages deemed of critical importance to the U.S. (e.g., Arabic, Persian, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, Urdu).
- Open to currently enrolled students (undergraduates and graduates) in all academic disciplines who are U.S. citizens. Undergraduate candidates must have completed at least one year of college by program start date. Candidates must meet language study prerequisites set for language of interest. Application may be made for only one language.
- Award covers all CLS program costs.
- Selection basis includes academic record and potential to succeed in rigorous academic setting, cultural adaptability, diversity, plan for continuation of language study, and plan for use of language studied in future career. Two letters of recommendation are required; one from a language instructor and one from an academic contact, preferably a professor.
- Application available online and usually due mid-November.
DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst/German Academic Exchange Service)
- Programs open to all students studying in North America. Students who are citizens of countries outside North America may also apply for certain DAAD programs; see website for details.
- Undergraduate Scholarship: sophomores and juniors with demonstrated interest in German and European affairs may apply for this award to support study abroad, senior thesis research, or internships in Germany. Funding available for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 months during the German academic year, i.e. October to July. Proficiency in German is not mandatory, but applicants should have the necessary language skills for the programs they propose to undertake. Application deadline: usually January 31st.
- RISE: Research Internships in Science & Engineering: sophomores and juniors majoring in a science or engineering field may apply for summer internships of 6 weeks to 3 months; placements provided by top German university research groups. Knowledge of German not required for most positions but would be helpful for life outside the laboratory. Two-week intensive language course available for participants with little or no German. Application deadline: mid-January.
- Study & Internship Program (SIP) in Germany: sophomores and juniors majoring in an engineering, science, economics, or art/design field may apply for full semester of study at a participating German university of applied sciences followed by semester-ling paid internship in a German company or research institute. Basic German skills helpful, but some courses available in English. Application deadline: usually mid-February.
Department of Homeland Security Undergraduate Scholarship
- Second-year college students who are U.S. citizens may apply for this two-year scholarship and internship program. Must be committed to DHS mission and willing to accept employment in a DHS, state, or local security-related office, lab, or research organization. Graduate school in a supported field immediately following completion of the bachelor's degree OK.
- Minimum 3.30/4.0 cumulative GPA required.
- Must be majoring in an engineering, physical, mathematical, computer, life, or social/behavioral/economic sciences field and committed to a homeland security research area.
- Award covers full tuition and mandatory fees and also provides $1,000/month stipend for nine months during academic year plus $5,000 for 10-week summer internship.
- Application deadline: usually early January. Check program website for further details and application forms.
- Academic and cultural summer program to promote mutual understanding and ties between the U.S. and the U.K. Freshman and sophomore students in any major who have little or no study or travel experience in the U.K. or anywhere else outside the U.S. may apply. Only U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years of age and possess a U.S. passport at the time of application are eligible.
- Minimum 3.5/4.0 GPA required; must also be mature, responsible, independent, open-minded, and willing to become an ambassador for studying in the U.K.
- institutes available at several highly regarded U.K. universities; each institute offers several different options for the academic component of the program; all institutes include intensive study, discussions, and cultural excursions. Institutes vary in duration from four to six weeks, with varying start dates.
- Program covers international round-trip travel fare, tuition, fees at host institution, accommodation, and meals; also provides small daily allowance.
- Application requires a personal statement; an essay on a specific topic; two letters of reference, one of which must be from a professor who has taught you.
- 8-12 Scholars are selected for each institute.
- Competition opens in January; applications available online and are usually due mid-April
* Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
- For undergraduates in any field to pursue full-time international study worldwide but especially in countries outside of Western Europe and Australia. Open to U.S. citizens and nationals receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application.
- Study periods may be from four weeks up to an academic year. A limited number of summer programs are available.
- Study abroad program must be approved by the University for academic credit.
- Awards of up to $5,000; average award is $4,000.
- Application available online and must be officially endorsed by the Center for Study Abroad.
- Apply in the academic term prior to the start date of the study abroad program: March for fall and summer study abroad or October for spring study.
* Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
- For outstanding sophomore and junior students (top 25% of class and minimum 3.75 cumulative GPA) in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering who are preparing for graduate study (usually Ph.D.) and research-oriented careers in their field. Open to United States citizens, permanent residents, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, U.S. nationals.
- Worth up to $7500/year for the remaining year(s) of undergraduate study.
- *UR nomination required; we may select four nominees.
- Selection made on the basis of superior academic achievement, research experience and scholarly potential, a research essay, and three letters of recommendation.
- Prospective candidates should complete the Fellowships Preliminary Application by the specified fall deadline. Complete, polished draft of the official application due in early December for the campus nomination process. It is strongly recommended that a first draft be submitted for feedback in October. Click here for UR campus timeline. See the Goldwater Binder in Fellowships Office for examples of application essays by past UR applicants. Nominees usually selected by early January.
- Approximately 300 Goldwater Scholars are selected each spring.
Humanity in Action Foundation Fellowship
- International human rights education and internship program sponsored by foundation "devoted to the study and betterment of human rights and specifically the relationship between majority and minority populations." Students from any national background of sophomore through senior standing may apply.
- Students chosen from the U.S. travel to Washington, D.C. for orientation and then to a participating European country for 4-week European core program of seminars, workshops, site visits, and meetings with figures from various fields, such as academia, government, journalism, and human rights organizations. Fellows engage in outreach programs to their peers and local communities during the academic year following the summer program in Europe.
- Selection based on leadership potential, academic achievement, interest in minority issues, concern for human rights, willingness to engage in intellectually and socially rigorous work in group settings, maturity, and self-reliance.
- Foundation pays expenses for European travel and accommodations.
- Application deadline: early January. See program website for more detailed information, application forms, and exact filing deadline.
The Institute for Humane Studies Fellowship
- For undergraduates and graduate students of any nationality who have a clearly demonstrated interest in the classical liberal/libertarian tradition of individual rights and free-market economies. Sophomores may apply for junior-year funding.
- Awards of $2000 to $15,000; may be used at any degree-granting institution in the U.S. or abroad.
- Selection based on academic performance, relevant admission test scores (GRE, LSAT, SAT, etc.), demonstrated interest in classical liberal ideas, and potential to contribute to the advancement of a free society.
- Application can be downloaded and must be postmarked no later than January 31st.
- Approximately 180 IHS Fellowships awarded each year.
McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
- For sophomores and juniors to pursue summer or academic-year research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are (1) members of an underrepresented minority group (African American, Hispanic, or Native American) or (2) low-income, first-generation college students. Aim is to encourage these students to pursue doctoral degrees.
- Must have a minimum cumulative and major GPA of 2.8.
- Program offers academic-year option ($1200 stipend) or full-time summer option ($3600 stipend, room & board, and travel expenses). Participants gain experience presenting their research and receive guidance on graduate-school application process.
- Contact Beth Olivares (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the McNair Program Office, Hylan 717, 275-7512 or 275-1402.
- Application deadlines: early December for academic-year program; early February for summer program.
National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Programwww.training.nih.gov/programs/ugsp
- For students committed to pursuing health-related research careers in biomedical, behavioral, or social science fields. Open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or qualified permanent residents with a documented history of significant financial need. Freshmen through juniors may apply; first priority given to junior applicants.
- Scholarship worth up to $20,000 per year. Other benefits include 10-week paid summer internship at NIH, professional mentoring, scientific seminars, and employment after completion of graduate school.
- Minimum 3.50 GPA required.
- Application available online.
- To aid in the preparation of a competitive application, prospective candidates are encouraged to complete the campus Fellowships Preliminary Questionnaire (FPQ) in the fall (by December 1st) and present a draft of the application essays to the Fellowships Office for critical feedback by January 5th.
- National deadline usually in late January.
New York Women in Communications, Inc. (NYWICI) Foundation Scholarship
- For undergraduates and graduate students majoring in a communications-related field and aspiring to a career in this area. Must be a U.S. citizen and permanent resident of NY, NJ, CT or PA.
- Awards of $2500 to $10,000.
- Selection criteria include academic excellence (minimum 3.2 GPA), financial need, leadership, campus and community service, honors, involvement in communications-related activities, personal essay, and statement of goals and aspirations. Two reference letters are also required.
- Application available online and usually due in late January.
- For undergraduates and graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude for excelling in their fields. Applicants should have strong interest in theoretical and applied research as well as interest in working for the Department of Defense as civilian research scientists and engineers. Only U.S. citizens may apply.
- Minimum 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA required.
- Application requires two letters of recommendation.
- Award includes full tuition and eligible expenses, annual cash award of at least $25,000, summer internships, and post-graduation employment opportunities in Dept. of Defense laboratories and agencies.
- Application available online and usually due in early October.
- Undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program of research and mentoring designed to broaden participation in atmospheric and related sciences. Applications encouraged from sophomores and juniors, especially those from groups historically under-represented in the sciences, students with disabilities, and students who have experienced social or economic disadvantage. Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
- Program provides paid research for up to four summers as well as undergraduate and graduate school funding, summer housing, and round-trip airfare to summer research sites.
- Candidates should have a major in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering environmental science, math, physics, or the social sciences; should plan career in atmospheric or related science. Minimum 3.0 GPA recommended.
- Application requires two essays, two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak directly to the student’s academic and research abilities, and transcripts from all higher-education institutions attended.
- Application usually available mid-November and due early February.
- Approximately 8-10 SOARS Protégés selected each spring, around mid-March.
- For students majoring in an area that may lead to a health-related career.
- Ten scholarships worth $10,000, 30 scholarships worth $5000.
- Selection based on academic achievement and leadership in community and school activities.
- Application available online and usually due in late April.
* Udall Scholarship
- For full-time sophomores and juniors in any major (1) with a strong demonstrated commitment to environmental issues OR (2) who are Native American/Alaska Native and also committed to Native American healthcare OR tribal public policy. Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S. nationals.
- Up to $5,000 for tuition, room and board, or other educational expenses. Students who win as sophomores may re-apply in the junior year.
- Minimum 3.55 cumulative GPA.
- * UR nomination is required; we may select up to six nominees.
- Selection based on academic achievement and honors, record of leadership and service, relevant work experience, letters of recommendation, and a critical essay discussing Congressman Morris K. Udall's or Secretary Stewart L. Udall's public policy work and its relation to the applicant's interests and career goals.
- Prospective candidates should complete the Fellowships Preliminary Application by the specified fall deadline. Complete, polished draft of the application for the campus nomination process due in early January. It is strongly recommended that a first draft be submitted for feedback by mid-November. Click here for UR campus timeline. See Udall binder in Fellowships Office for examples of application essays by past UR applicants.
- Approximately 75 Udall Scholars selected each spring.
All-USA Today College Academic Team
- For undergraduates of at least sophomore standing who are legal residents of the U.S. or DC (excluding Puerto Rico) who have distinguished themselves through high academic achievement, creativity, unusual service to others, and effective leadership.
- Students will normally be nominated by a professor
- $2500 cash award. See scholar profiles online.
- Application requires an essay on most outstanding intellectual endeavor, which can be in scholarly research, the creative or performing arts, community service, or public affairs.
- Application available online; usually due late November.
- 20 cash awards made each year.
Please check our website periodically for announcements and updates regarding campus application procedures and deadlines. Look ahead to junior-year awards »»