For professionals and recent graduates in many fields, a graduate-level education is a necessary step to achieve their professional goals. But the cost of a graduate degree remains prohibitive for many students. Annual tuition toward a master’s degree can cost between $24,000 and $40,000 per year, and a doctoral degree can cost anywhere from $17,000 to over $60,000 per year depending on the university and course of study. Fortunately, there are several scholarship programs and fellowships available to graduate students that can help offset these costs, and in some cases, even cover the entire cost of tuition.
Here are 9 of the best scholarships available for graduate students:
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers grants for recent bachelor’s degree recipients and master’s and doctoral candidates to study and research internationally or to participate in an English Teaching Assistant Program. During their grant period, Fulbright students will meet, work, live with, and learn from the people in their host country, sharing daily experiences. The program is intended to encourage cultural exchange through the classroom, home, and field work. Specific application and eligibility requirements vary by host country and field of study.
To apply, interested students must submit a Statement of Grant Purpose outlining research or activities that they will participate in during the academic year.
Application Deadline: Varies by host country
Award: Varies — covers cost of round-trip transportation to host country, funding to cover room, board, and incidental costs based on cost of living in host country, and provides accident and sickness health benefits (in some countries, grant also covers book and research costs and full or partial tuition)
- Must be a citizen or national of the United States at the time of application (permanent residents are not eligible)
- Must have a conferred bachelor’s degree or equivalent before the start date of the grant
- Applicants in the creative or performing arts must have four years of professional training and/or experience in lieu of a bachelor’s degree
- Must meet the language requirements of the award to which they are applying and demonstrate sufficient competency to complete their project and adjust to life in the host country
- May hold a J.D. at the time of application
- Doctors of Medicine may receive grants for advanced academic study, but not for internships or residencies
- Other eligibility requirements may vary by host country
The Association of Insurance Professionals (AICP) offers a scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students studying a field related to insurance, including insurance, actuarial science, economics, finance, management, mathematics, risk management, statistics, or a business-related field.
To apply, students must complete an application and provide the following documents: an official transcript or report card showing the cumulative grade point average; a brief description of additional academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and leadership roles; a description of current and future efforts to pursue an education and career in the insurance field; and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, employer, business or civic leader, or a member of the clergy addressing the applicants efforts to pursue education and/or a career in insurance.
Application Deadline: July 8
- Must have completed the equivalent of at least two years of full-time college course-work, earned 50 percent of credit hours required for graduation, or have completed an associate degree from an accredited educational institution
- Must have declared his or her major coursework to be in the field of insurance, actuarial science, economics, finance, management, mathematics, risk management, statistics, or a business-related field
- Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
Offered by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research institution that works to study, educate, and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, the Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship supports emerging leaders in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The scholarship provides financial support to students who plan to devote their careers to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and who are seeking graduate-level degrees in public health or public policy.
To apply, interested students must complete and submit an application, including the following documents: a current and complete transcript; a resume detailing work experience, demonstrated leadership, and participation in school and community activities, and any honors received; and a personal essay.
Application Deadline: April 6
- Must be entering or currently enrolled in a full-time graduate study program at an accredited institution in the United States for the entire upcoming academic year
- Must be pursuing a master’s degree in public policy or public health
- Must be planning to pursue a career in advancing public policy related to sexual or reproductive health and rights
- Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0
- Must not have previously received the Cory L. Richards Memorial Scholarship
Global financial institution Goldman Sachs offers a fellowship for students pursuing an MBA. In order to qualify, applicants must be Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or women. The fellowship is not a traditional scholarship program. Winning applicants are offered a paid Summer Associate position at Goldman Sachs as well as an additional $35,000 award. Upon successful completion of the summer internship and acceptance of a full-time offer post-graduation, Fellowship recipients are awarded an additional $40,000. The funds do not have to be used toward academics, but for students who need extra funds to pay for their degree, these awards can go a long way and can lead to a full-time position at a leading financial institution upon completion of their MBA.
To apply, interested students must complete an online application through the Goldman Sachs website. Application requirements are given upon after logging into the application portal.
Application Deadline: March 29
Award: $35,000 plus Summer Associate salary (additional $40,000 award on completion of internship and acceptance of full-time position)
- Must be a first-year MBA student
- Must be Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or a woman
- Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA
- Must live in one of the following cities in the United States: New York City, Washington, D.C., West Palm Beach, Florida, Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles
PEO International Peace Scholarships are offered to women from countries other than the United States and Canada to fund graduate study in the United States and Canada. Applicants are awarded based on demonstrated need but are not intended to cover all academic or personal expenses. Applicants must indicate additional financial resources, including other scholarships, tuition waivers, teaching assistantships, study grants, and personal and family funds.
Scholarships are not given for research, internships, or practical training, unless it is combined with coursework. Awards cannot be used to pay back previous student debt.
To apply, interested students must first send a request for information here.
Application Deadline: Varies
Award Amount: Maximum of $12,500
- Must be qualified for full-time graduate study at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada
- Must be working toward a graduate degree in an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada
- Must have a full year of coursework remaining, be enrolled, and in residence for the entire school year
- Doctoral students who have completed coursework and are working only on dissertations are not eligible as first-time applicants
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers scholarships for American women who are pursuing full-time study to complete their dissertation. Fellowships are available for students in any field, however, special preference is given to students pursuing research in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, as well as to those researching gender issues in a variety of fields. In order to qualify, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
To apply, interested students must complete an online application accessible through the AAUW website. Applicants are required to pass an eligibility quiz, upload a CV or resume, submit transcripts for all graduate work, and complete and submit a dissertation certification form verifying the completion of required coursework and qualifying examinations. Applicants will also be required to submit a budget outlining expenses, submit three recommendations from an advisor or colleague closely acquainted with their research
Application Deadline: November 1
- Must not have previously received any AAUW fellowship or grant
- Must not be a member of the AAUW Board of Directors, committees, panels, task forces, staff, or a current intern with the AAUW
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Must identify as a woman
- May be in any field of study
- Must be in final year of writing the dissertation
- Must have completed all coursework, passed all preliminary exams, and had the dissertation research proposal or plan approved by November 1
- Doctoral degree/dissertation must be completed between April 1 and June 30 two years after the application deadline, with degree conferral between April 1 and September 15 of that year
- Dissertation Fellows are not required to study in the United States
- Must not already hold a fellowship or grant supporting their final year of dissertation writing
- May apply up to two times for a fellowship for the same dissertation project
- Award is intended for applicants who are completing their first doctoral degree
- Must be enrolled in a traditional classroom-based course of study at a college or university (distance learning and online programs are not supported)
The AAUW also offers international fellowships to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The awards are granted for full-time graduate or postgraduate study at U.S. institutions of higher education. Awards are granted on the basis of academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to the interests of women and girls.
To apply, interested students must complete an online application. To do so, they must first pass an eligibility quiz to be reviewed by a selection panel. Applicants must also provide the following documentation: three recommendations from professors or professional colleagues; proof of highest degree in the form of a transcript or a letter from the institution including degree completion date; proof of enrollment (for enrolled students); proof of degrees held; proof of English proficiency; a resume or CV; academic information; and a summary of their budget.
Application Deadline: November 15
Award Amount: $18,000 for master’s and first professional degree students; $20,000 for doctoral students; $30,000 for postdoctoral researchers
- Must identify as a woman
- Must have demonstrated commitment to the interests of women and girls
- Must not have received an AAUW fellowship or grant in the past (not including branch or local awards or Community Action Grants)
- Must have citizenship in a country other than the United States. or possession of a nonimmigrant visa if residing in the United States
- Must hold an academic degree earned in the United States or abroad equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree, completed as of the application deadline
- Must be committed full-time to academic studies or research
- Must intend to return to her home country after completing program to pursue a professional career
- Must be proficient in English and confirm proficiency by submitting a valid Educational Testing Service’s Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score or other verification
- Master’s, first professional degree, and doctoral applicants must have applied by November 15 to an accredited institution of study for the period of the fellowship year
- Postdoctoral applicants must provide proof of their doctorate degree and indicate where they will conduct their research
- Master’s, first professional degree, and doctoral applicants must be enrolled in a U.S. accredited institution during the fellowship year (distance learning and online degrees are not supported)
The NAACP, one of the oldest and most prominent civil rights organizations in the United States, operates three scholarship programs available to both undergraduate and graduate students, which are each awarded on a yearly basis. Requirements for each scholarship vary, but all three either require or strongly prefer applicants to be NAACP members.
The Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship is a general scholarship granted to NAACP members who demonstrate financial need. To apply, interested students must fill out an online application.
The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship is awarded to male students majoring in engineering, chemistry, physics, or the mathematical sciences. To apply, interested students must fill out an online application.
The James Weldon Johnson Scholarship of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is awarded to seven NAACP members, selected based on two essays: a 500-750 word essay on the life and legacy of James Weldon Johnson, and a 500-750 word analysis of James Weldon Johnson’s poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” In total, 47-87 students are awarded scholarships every year. To apply, interested students must fill out an online application.
Application Deadline: Likely due in July 2021 (based on 2020 deadline)
Award: Varies by award
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be under 25 years of age by the application deadline
- Must be enrolled in or accepted by an accredited college or university in the United States
- Must demonstrate financial need based on the federal poverty guidelines
- For undergraduate students, must be a full-time student and possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
- For graduate students, must be a full or part-time student and possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
The William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students offers financial support for undergraduate and graduate students of color. To be awarded, students must demonstrate academic excellence as well as financial need. Fellows also must complete an internship with the Washington, D.C. office of the Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation.
To apply, interested students must submit a completed application including the following documents: a current resume, a cover letter, an unofficial transcript, a writing sample, and a letter of recommendation from a professor or supervisor.
Award: $2,000 for spring and fall fellows; $4,000 for summer fellows
Application Deadline: December 1
- Must be a highly motivated graduate or undergraduate student from a community of color
- Must be enrolled at an institution of higher education for the semester for which they will be applying
- Summer candidates must show proof of enrollment for the upcoming fall semester
- Must have an excellent academic record
- Must demonstrate interest or experience in nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and the social sector
- Must demonstrate excellent research and writing skills
- Must demonstrate financial need
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; students approved for participation in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are also eligible to apply
For more scholarships, check TUN’s scholarship engine.
Sam Benezra is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in History from the Honors Tutorial College. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York. Sam enjoys writing on a variety of subjects, including science, music, politics, film. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, playing guitar, and writing songs.