We’re told all our lives that money doesn’t grow on trees.  But some of it is in fact available for picking — in the form of fellowships and grants — if you’re willing to invest a bit of effort and persistence.

Here’s a distillation of facts and advice from the Graduate Fellowships Office staff, tips that might save you time as you embark on your quest for funding.

What kinds of funding are available?

  • Fellowships usually cover educational and living expenses
  • Grants usually cover expenses related to specific projects
  • Other types of funding include loans and research assistantships and teaching assistantship

Where to look for fellowships and grants

Start at the Graduate Division’s list of Fellowship resources on the web.

Our collection includes campus-based fellowships and their application deadlines and many other general and specific resources (among them one called GRAPES, which is UCLA’s highly useful Graduate and Postdoctoral Support Database).

Continue on to websites at universities. Search specifically for internal fellowship opportunities, including the academic department(s) at universities of interest.  Also:

  • Professional associations can also be a source for funding.  Check their websites.
  • Journals and publications in the field of interest often advertise funding opportunities
  • Reference books: The Annual Register of Grant Support, The Grants Register

What to look for

  • The full ride: Multi-year packages often cover educational and living expenses for two to six years.  There are two types:  Institutional (specific to a university, usually part of admission package) and Portable (may be taken to the institution of choice).
  • Small grants for specific projects, which may relate to travel, language, conference attendance, summer, or professional development.
  • One-year fellowships for specific phases of graduate study, such as dissertation writing, research, or an internship or mentorship.

Good Basic Advice

Never stop applying! Graduate students will find that there are numerous opportunities for funding once they begin their careers.

  • Be prompt! Applicants must make the deadline! Individuals who do not make the deadline lower their chances of obtaining funding by 100% in most cases.
  • Think ahead! The average turnaround time (from application to acceptance) runs six to nine months.
  • Keep trying! The process of writing grant and fellowship proposals is integral to the development of clear research goals and professional objectives. Not only does practice improve grant-writing skills but the more you apply, the higher your chances of success!