External Funding: Graduate Fellowships and Grants

The Dietrich School strongly encourages all eligible graduate students to seek funding from federal agencies, private foundations, and other external sources. Even while you have guaranteed funding from the University, you should consider applying for competitive external fellowships which are a prestigious honor that will stay with you throughout your career. The proposal writing process will help clarify your thinking about your research and expose you to valuable feedback. Extra-mural fellowships will distinguish your CV when you enter job markets. Cultivating the skills and practice of grant writing will stand you in good stead for careers within and beyond the academy. 

For examples of recent national fellowship award winners among Dietrich School graduate students, see here.

To help you navigate  the complex process of applying for competitive fellowships, we are developing this resource page.  Please email us if you have suggestions as to how we might further improve the usefulness of this page. 

Please scroll down to find resources to identify and pursue external funding. Various tools let you filter by intellectual fields, academic level, citizenship status, and more.  We also feature selective lists of fellowships grouped by intellectual fields.  

Identifying External Funding

The University of Pittsburgh subscribes to Pivot, a comprehensive database of funding opportunities. Pivot is accessible to the campus community through the Office of Research website and the University Library System databases. If you have a university webpage, a profile may have been created on Pivot. If you do not have a profile, please contact Ryan Champagne at rkc12@pitt.edu to arrange having a profile created. To get started, visit this   website. To learn how to make the most of the platform, see also this Youtube channel.

Predefined PIVOT searches for graduate and postdoctoral funding:

Arts and Humanities

Life and Physical Sciences

Social Sciences

The following databases, maintained by other institutions, are publicly searchable:

* filter for academic level (e.g. Master's, doctoral)    +  filter for citizenship status (e.g., no citizenship requirements; US citizens; permanent residents, etc.)

University of Chicago Fellowship Database * +

UCLA Grad and Postdoc Funding Database * +

Harvard Grad and Postdoc Funding Database * +

Research Funding Database, Duke 

Penn State Graduate School External Awards Database

Resources to Support the Pursuit of External Fellowships

Numerous DSAS departments offer workshops and/or courses in grant and fellowship writing. Your DGS and other graduate faculty in your program can advise on external fellowship and grant opportunities. See also the events hosted by the Center for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Career Development

Grant-Writing Tips for Graduate Students (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Applying for Competitive Dissertation Fellowships: 5 Key Tips (HigherEdJobs)

University of Illinois: robust online resources (incl. guidance for Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM; guidance for specific fellowships incl. NSF, NIH, Fulbright, Ford)

Identifying Funding Workshops (for Humanities and Social Sciences and Science & Health, UNC Chapel Hill, slide decks)

External Fellowship Workshop (Brown, video)

Applying for Graduate Fellowships (Cornell Graduate School, video)

Start a Draft: Jump Start Your Statement (Howard University)

Grant Proposals (The Writing Center, UNC at Chapel Hill)

Christina M. Gillis, Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions

On the Art of Writing Proposals (Social Science Research Council; download as pdf)

Tips For a Successful Grant Application (EPA)

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (University of Pittsburgh community resources)


Selective Nationally Competitive Fellowships

Humanities and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences (and related Social Sciences)

see also: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (University of Pittsburgh community resources)

Diversity Fellowships

International Study and Research