Penn Graduate Student Center

Navigating the Academy: Graduate Funding Resources

About Navigating the Academy: Graduate Funding Resources

Navigating the Academy seeks to help doctoral students find the tools they need to be successful in each stage of their program, specifically regarding funding opportunities. This program is cosponsored by Penn Graduate Student Center and GAPSA.

The resources on this page are intended to help you understand the options and opportunities available to help you fund your graduate education and advance your career through merit-based grants and fellowships. 


Coffee & Conversation with CURF

Thursday, May 16, 2019, 10:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Arch Building, Fireside Lounge (2nd Floor)

Despite its name, CURF – the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships – is not only for undergraduates!

So, what does CURF do for Grad Students?

CURF is Penn’s institutional hub for many prestigious fellowships (including the Fulbright Award, the Boren Fellowship, and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship) for which graduate students at the MA, professional degree, or PhD level may be eligible. Some fellowship opportunities CURF supports allow students to conduct research and/or study abroad or in the US. Others fund grad students to gain professional work experience, or engage in service, or develop language skills in foreign countries. Some can be undertaken during a graduate program, and others are post-graduation opportunities. For a full list of fellowships for which CURF supports graduate students applications, see CURF’s searchable Fellowships Directory at

CURF invites students in all Penn’s graduate schools to join us for coffee and conversation. CURF will hold an open forum, complete with coffee, bagels, and assorted spreads. We’ll briefly discuss several fellowships that are particularly relevant to grad students (and that require institutional support). We’ll then open the conversation to invite questions about fellowship opportunities and the ways CURF and other campus resources can help you identify and apply for these opportunities.

Contact: for more information.

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Personal Finance Resources

Penn is committed to providing resources to help you manage your finances.

Student Financial Services (SFS), in conjunction with the financial aid director at the various schools, can assist with questions regarding bills, financial aid, student loans, payment options, and any other financial matters.

University Fellowships and Assistantships are available for graduate and professional students. Students are eligible for a range of awards-merit based fellowships, awards for service, need-based grants, and loans. Contact your department for specific information.

Grants for Students with Financial Need
Penn offers a number of funding sources to support individual graduate students with financial need. These include:

  • Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Emergency Grant
    The Trustees' Council of Penn Women will offer grants to students who have special financial needs. Special consideration will be given to women students. Grants will be for sudden, compelling, and unanticipated need due to changed financial circumstances. Examples include the death or unemployment of a parent or illness. These students would be unable to continue their studies without special financial assistance. Students should demonstrate resourcefulness and self-reliance in their quest for a Penn education, and their qualities should identify them as role models for other University students.
  • VPUL & SFS Emergency & Opportunity Funding
    Unexpected financial circumstances can cause undergraduate, graduate, and professional students stress and impact their ability to achieve and thrive. The Division of the Vice Provost for University Life's Access and Retention Fund provides one-time Emergency Funds or Opportunity Grants to help low-income and/or first-generation students participate in experiences they otherwise cannot afford.
  • Insurance Subsidies for PhD Students
    The University offers two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of health insurance and dental insurance. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.
  • Grant Programs for PhD Students with Families
    The University offers grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of childcare and family expenses, and health insurance for dependents. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Family Resource Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.
  • Career Services summer funding for internships
    Many summer internships, particularly in certain fields, provide only a small stipend or do not pay at all. Frequently the internships are located in cities with a high cost of living. This means that many students are unable to take advantage of excellent positions, which are sometimes the first step on a career in a given field. Other students wish to participate in not for profit or NGO work abroad, or to do a research project, but the travel costs to get there are prohibitive.

Part-Time Employment can be found at on and off-campus organizations. However, specific funding and employment rules may apply depending on your department, school and/or visa status. The Student Employment Office maintains a list of part-time employment opportunities on- and off-campus. Here are a few campus organizations that hire grad students:

Banking Resources abound at Penn. If you open a bank account with either PNC Bank or the Student Federal Credit Union, your PennCard can also be used as an ATM card and as a pin-based bank debit card. This eliminates the need to carry an extra card to access your money. There are numerous banks close to campus:

  • PNC Bank, 3535 Market Street
  • Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut Street
  • Bank of America, 3925 Walnut Street
  • Citizens Bank, 134 South 34th Street
  • Santander Bank, 3131 Market Street
  • TD Bank, 3735 Walnut Street
  • Wells Fargo, 3431 Chestnut Street

Free Legal Services:
The Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly provide free legal services to all students in Penn’s community.

Tax Information

Personal finance information that grad students may find useful includes:

Personal Finance InfoGraphics from the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS)

Upcoming Award Deadlines

Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellowship at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships
Deadline: March 1
New opportunity for outstanding PhD students whose scholarship significantly involves Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) and related activities, including locally based community problem-solving, engaged scholarship, service learning, and learning by teaching in public schools. Fellows participate in a seminar on community engagement research and teaching, research funds, conference travel support, and funding.

Wolf Humanities Center Graduate Student Research Fellowships and Research Assistantship
Deadline: March 20
The Wolf Humanities Center is currently offering two one-year research fellowships and one graduate research assistantship to Penn graduate students in the humanities who are ABD and conducting research related to the 2019-20 theme, Kinship. Research fellows receive $2,500 each and are required to attend the Center’s weekly Mellon Research Seminar and to present their work at one of the sessions. The Graduate Research Assistantship provides tuition and a stipend of approximately $25,500 and carries membership in the Center’s Mellon Research Seminar on Kinship. The half-time position requires 15–20 hours per week of service in a variety of functions at the Wolf Humanities Center. For more details about these opportunities and how to apply, visit:

NIH NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00)
Deadline: Thursday, November 29, 2018, 05:00 PM

The NCI Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00)is intended to encourage outstanding, late-stage graduate students with a demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing careers as independent researchers by facilitating the successful transition to their postdoctoral positions.  These applications involve a letter of intent (LOI) submitted in January and the complete grant submitted in February.  More information about this award can be found below.

Since the NCI allows one application per institution, Penn has established an internal process to identify the one Penn applicant. This one applicant can be a Penn student conducting thesis work in the lab of any Penn faculty member, including those at CHOP or Wistar. 

 If you are eligible and want to be considered, please email ( your NIH biosketch, a one-page summary of your thesis research to date, and a one-page LOI.

The LOI should outline your individualized research training plans for the next 1-2 years of your dissertation research and a plan for 3-4 years of mentored postdoctoral research and career development activities that will prepare you for an in independent cancer-focused research career.  The deadline for receipt of these materials is by 5 pm on Friday, November 29, 2018.  No exceptions.  This deadline will enable us to identify the candidate by December, giving this person sufficient time to prepare the complete application.  Please contact me should you have any questions.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund Fellowship
Deadline: Saturday, December 01, 2018

The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund fellowship pays full tuition plus a stipend of $18,000 for up to three years.  U.S. citizens pursuing a graduate degree in any recognized field of study in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences (including law, medicine, engineering, architecture or other formal professional training) are eligible. The terms require that the Fellow conduct studies entirely within the USA and prove financial need.  

Penn is permitted to forward three nominees.  An internal selection process will be coordinated by the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships.  For the purposes of the internal competition, students should complete the application and submit the requested supporting documentation by December 1, 2018.   

This application requires 3 letters of recommendation, one of which should be from the Dean of your Graduate School or your Department Chair and the other two should be from professors who have taught or worked closely with you.  Please visit the Letter of Recommendation Request form as soon as possible so as to give your recommenders ample time to submit letters of recommendation before the December 1 internal deadline.

For more details and to apply, visit:

Awards are listed chronologically by deadline

Margaret McNamara Education Grants
Deadline: January 15, 2019

Grants to women from developing countries to help further their education and strengthen their leadership skills to improve the lives of women and children in developing countries. Scholarship grants are awarded to women from developing countries who upon graduation will go back and serve in their countries and have a passion to improve the lives of other women and children. Additional details and eligibility criteria vary.

Chateaubriand Fellowship
Deadline: January 16, 2019

The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences is offered by the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France. The HSS program targets outstanding Ph.D. students enrolled in American universities who seek to engage in research in France, in any discipline of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Eligibility: PhD candidates in STEM, humanities, and social sciences disciplines who plan to conduct dissertation research in France for four to nine months

Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowships
Deadline: January 17, 2019
Program intended to foster a community of energetic and committed Ph.D. students, alumni, DOE laboratory staff and other scientists who want to have an impact on the nation while advancing their research. Fellows come from diverse scientific and engineering disciplines but share a common interest in using computing in their research. Fellows receive tuition and fees for up to four years plus a stipend of $36,000 and the opportunity to complete a practicum at a DOE laboratory. Eligibility: First-year PhD candidates in the physical, computer, mathematical, or life sciences

Josephine De Kármán Fellowships
Deadline: January 31, 2019
The Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust awards $25,000 for PhD students’ final year in school and $15,000 for undergraduates’ final year. Eligibility: PhD candidates who will defend their dissertations in or around June 2019; special consideration given to applicants in the humanities

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Deadline: February 1, 2019 
fellowships of $20,000 each are designed to contribute to the support of the doctoral candidate to enable him or her to complete the thesis in a timely manner and are only appropriate for students approaching the final year of their Ph.D. work. Questions that interest the foundation concern violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects.

p>National Research Council of the National Academies Research Associateship Program
Deadline: February 1
Graduate and postdoctoral research opportunities in science and technology at sponsoring federal laboratories and affiliated institutions. Citizenship, degree requirements, and other eligibility criteria vary by host institution.

L'Oreal USA for Women in Sciences Fellowship
Deadline: February 1
Awards five women postdoctoral scientists annually with grants of $60,000 each for their contributions in  Science,  Technology,  Engineering  and  Math  (STEM) fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. 

Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship Program 
Deadline: February 8
For soon-to-graduate or recently finished graduate students interested in the science and policy needed to keep our marine resources healthy. This state fellowship program provides an opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience in the planning and implementation of marine resource policies and programs in the Alaska.

John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program
Deadline: February 22
Provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. It matches students with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship.

The Greenlining Institute Fellowship and Summer Associate Programs 
Deadlines: Summer Associate, Program March 3; Fellowship, March 10
The Greenlining Leadership Academy works to empower and train the next generation of multi-ethnic leaders to advance racial and economic equity. Participants in the Fellowship and Summer Associate program are directly integrated into developing, planning, and implementing the organization's policy and advocacy efforts and are invited to bring new ideas and fresh.

Link Foundation Ocean Engineering Fellowship 
Deadline: March 14
1 year Ph.D. fellowship of $28,500 to foster ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation research, enhance both the theoretical and practical knowledge and applications of ocean engineering and ocean instrumentation research, and disseminate the results of that research through lectures, seminars and publications.

Lauren Bassi Scholarship
Deadline: Spring program, March 25
Scholarship provides editorial assistance to postgraduates and junior academics whose research focuses on neglected topics of study. Scholarship are open to every discipline. All currently enrolled master’s and doctoral candidates are eligible to apply.

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship 
Deadline: April 1
Initial funding towards training for an independent career in cancer research for researches who have received a doctoral degree. Awards up to 3 years with progressive plus a per year fellowship allowance. Additional funds added in the last year to attend the ACS Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium or a domestic scientific meeting.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth Kirschstein Graduate Fellowships (F-series) 
National Deadline: Cycle 1 April 8 ; University vary by school but will be earlier
Up to 5 years of financial support for research training leading to a PhD, combined M.D./Ph.D. degree, or another formally combined professional degree and research doctoral degree in biomedical, behavioral, health services, or clinical sciences.

ASPPH Fellowship Programs 
Deadline: January 25 – February 20, by award 

Opportunities for current masters and doctoral level students and recent graduates to round out academic training and gain hands-on public health experience while continuing to develop professional skills and expertise in public health.

Data Incubator Data Science Fellowship 
Deadlines: Multiple sessions offered each year 
An advanced 8-week fellowship for PhDs looking to enter industry. Free for admitted Fellows and they can participate either in person in New York City, Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, or online. Multiple sessions offered each year. For more details, visit:

Global Health Fellows II Program
Deadline: rolling 
The premier fellowship program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Global Health. Supports diverse, technically excellent professionals at all levels. Fellowships are announced throughout the year across both a broad spectrum of health disciplines, and a wide range of experience levels.

Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellowships
Deadline: rolling
Paid 6-12 month fellowships at Fleishman Hillard with mentoring, professional learning and development, and an expansive global network. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to promoting ethnic and cultural diversity through their work, education and life experiences.

Grants and Fellowships Resources

We hope you find these resources useful and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let the Gnome know!

While researching grant opportunities and ultimately writing a grant narrative may seem daunting, you are not alone! Penn resource centers exist to assist you as you determine which grants to apply to, how to hone your skills writing in the "grant genre," and how to manage your time as efficiently as possible.

Despite the resources available on-campus at Penn, never forget the value of your advisor, committee, and colleagues within your department.

Graduate Student Center

Our Navigating the Grant program provides a repository of information to help you get started. Use this site as a jumping off point.

If you are looking for feedback on the content of your grant narrative, your best bet would be to approach an expert in your field — someone familiar with the literature and lingo surrounding your topic. More advanced graduate students within your department/school who have sucessfully acquired funding may prove to be invaluable resources.

We also provide

Career Services

Not just for finding your future job, Career Services has a subscription to the Grants Advisor online database of funding opportunities relevant to different academic research disciplines, as well as links to other information about funding sources. Activate your Handshake account ( and sign up for the “Current PhDs in STEM fields” or “Current PhDs in the Humanities/Social Sciences” CareerMail to receive information about relevant career and funding opportunities

Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF)

Often misunderstood due to the "undergraduate" portion of its acronym, CURF does help graduate students. While the office is not the place to go for discipline-specific grant advice, CURF advisors can help you with the personal statement portion of your fellowship or grant application. Also, if applying for such fellowships as the Fulbright or Luce, you must go through CURF to have your application submitted to the appropriate agency. Although focused on fellowships, CURF provides a database of funding opportunities (still under construction).


GAPSA offers limited travel grants and along with the Provost's Office, promote interdisciplinary research through summer reserach grants

Global Activities Registry

Before going abroad for academic work, register your trip details in Penn's Global Activities Registry. Your information will be provided automatically to International SOS (ISOS), the organization that provides assistance, including emergency evacuation, to Penn travelers free of charge. The information will enable the University and ISOS to assist you more quickly during emergencies.

Office of the Graduate Division

Thinking about applying to the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, the DAAD Research Grant or the DAAD Study Scholarship? The Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences administers these grants on behalf of Penn students. Contact us to let us know if you are working on an application. We will keep you ahead of that internal student deadline, answer your questions, and review your materials to be sure you didn't miss anything. The Graduate Division also oversees admissions, records, funding, and graduation for all Ph.D. and Master's students in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Science Outreach Initiative

The Science Outreach Initiative serves faculty and other researchers in the School of Arts and Sciences by helping them develop outreach program ideas and proposals, locating potential partners, and promoting information and resource exchange among all of Penn's STEM outreach programs. To help you become aware of the range of STEM Outreach Programs at Penn, the STEM Outreach Initiative has gathered basic information about them into a searchable list located on the STEM Outreach Matrix page.

Weingarten Learning Resources Center

Grants are all about time management and Weingarten Learning Resources Center can help you manage your time effectively. In addition, they can help you work through the strategy of grant writing – not simply the writing itself. Students can make appointments for one-on-one consultations with a Learning Instructor to address concerns and develop strategies for completing the grant researching/writing process.

Nobody likes a procrastinator!

If you are applying for a program that requires university endorsement, nomination, or review, DO NOT wait until the last minute! Successful applicants typically start working at least 6-8 weeks in advance of application deadlines. Awards requiring campus processes may require even longer.

"Time Management for the Grant" (PDF) by Dr. Pat Thatcher

Weingarten also has many useful tools to help with managing your workload

Our one-on-one matching program connects grad students who are currently applying for grants with Grant Advisors who have won specific grants in the past. There is no fee associated with this program.

Career Services provides a funding database and other resources.

PennERA Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN) is an up-to-date listing of funding opportunities from national and international governmental and private funding sources. SMARTS (SPIN Matching and Research Transmittal Service) is an email alert system that allows investigators to receive email notifications about funding opportunities matching their specific requirements. Access both by logging on to PennERA.

Cornell University Graduate Fellowship Notebook offers a large repository of fellowships and grants.

Foundation Center is a national nonprofit service organization and maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants.

Grants.Gov is the single access point for over 900 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies.

GrantsNet is a searchable database of grants to fund training in the sciences.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online provides announcements of funding for research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Michigan State University Libraries Grants Guide

SRA International is a professional society dedicated to educating and supporting research administrators.

Vice Provost for Research has databases and other information geared to researchers.

Penn Library's Research Guide to Funding

"Demystifying the World of Funding" (PDF) by Dr. Jennifer Wofford

Foundation Grants to Individuals compiled by the Foundation Center

From Idea to Funded Project: Grant Proposals That Work by Jane C. Belcher and Julia M. Jacobsen

Graduate School Funding Handbook by April Vahle Hamel

Proposals That Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals by Lawrence Locke

The Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions

A Guide for Proposal Writing: Directorate for Education and Human Resources from the National Science Foundation

Academic Year Hours

Welfer Common Room
Monday-Thursday: 9am - 8pm
Friday: 9am - 6pm
Saturday-Sunday: 12pm - 6pm

Meeting and Study Rooms
Mon-Thurs: 9am - 7:30pm
Friday: 9am - 5:30pm

Graduate Student Center

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