External Funding Resources

The Department encourages graduate students to apply for external funding. The following resources are provided to support students toward that end.

Who should apply?

1st & 2nd year PhD students who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.

Why should you apply?
  • Prestige
  • More freedom for research
  • Financial benefits: tuition, allowances, etc.
  • Professional development: Preparing proposals provides direct experience for applying for positions, preparing talks and publications, networking and developing professional relationships.

Some External Funding Agencies/Sponsors







NSERC (Canada)




Ford Foundation, Hertz Foundation, AAUW, etc.  

More Funding Agency Information


Application Process

Each agency provides very specific directions regarding their proposal process but a general outline of the process is:

  1. Create an account
  2. Provide your personal information
  3. Upload your application package
  4. Provide contact information for your references
  5. Submit

Do you need approval from the university? It varies from agency to agency (NSF, DOD, DOE - no approval needed). If the application specifies that  institutional approval is required, or if you are unsure, contact Liz Barlow.

The Components of an Application Package

The following components will need to be prepared:

  • Education and Work Experience
  • Previous Research Experience
  • Personal Statement
  • Proposed Plan of Research
  • Broader Impacts
  • Transcript
  • References
  • GRE scores


For assistance finding a faculty sponsor, contact Prof. See-Chen Ying or Prof. Jim Valles. 

 For general questions or feedback on your proposal, contact Prof. Gang Xiao.

For questions about, or feedback on, your proposal, specifically regarding the  Broader Impacts section, see BI for physics grad students.pdf or contact Karen Haberstroh (Assistant Director, STEM Research Opportunities, Office of Research Initiatives).