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How to Get Grad School Funding in STEM

How To Get Grad School Funding In Stem

“How to Get Grad School Funding in STEM” was written by Dr. Natalie Morse.

How do you get over $150,000 in grad school funding? Once you understand the process, you’ll be a shoo-in for funding. 

First, we need to realize that graduate school is not the same as undergrad. In any STEM grad program (unless you’re doing an online certificate), you will be doing research in addition to classes. That’s how you provide value to the institution and that’s what gets you your funding.

Start by zeroing in on your skills and interests. You need to match up with programs that are doing the work that excites you. Brining that enthusiasm will go a long way to endear you to Professors.

Once you identify exactly what program aligns with your interest and expertise, it’s time to reach out to that Professor. We only have one chance to get it right and make sure that we’re noticed for all the right reasons. It is absolutely critical that you research this professor and all of their work to death. You should have many questions about their current work and how your new ideas can improve their program. You must bring something of value.

How do we make sure that we’re talking their language? Most professors have a website with their current work, but they’re typically out of date. You can search databases like NSF to see what projects they are working on. Or, you can reach out to their current graduate students and learn what is hot right now. Be warned, they will relay your conversation to the Professor, so make sure you’re having an intelligent conversation.

Once you set up an initial meeting with the Professor, it’s time to learn if there is a good fit. If all the stars align and you both agree that you would be a great addition to the team, you need to ask about funding. Most professors have research grant money that they use to support students, but you need to ask. That’s it. Once they decide they want you on their team, they’ll find the money. In STEM there is always work to be done, and they need the extra hands. Why not you? 

That’s the easiest way to get graduate school funding, full tuition and stipend. It’s how I secured over $70k for my M.S. degree, and over $240k for my PhD.

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  • Natalie Morse, PhD

    Dr. Natalie Morse is a Data Scientist at BMW, and holds a PhD from Cornell University in environmental engineering. She works tirelessly to support women in STEM and coaches high achievers towards their graduate goals. Get weekly tips via her website: