External Fellowships

Many fellowships and scholarships are offered by external organizations at the local, national, and international level. Many of these funding opportunities require that you apply in early fall for awards that will be funded the next academic year. We recommend students begin applying for external funding opportunities at the same time they are applying for graduate school (or even before they apply to graduate school in some cases). Prospective and current students who search for funding outside of GW should be aware that at the national level, some funding is restricted to U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents.

How to Find External Funding Opportunities


1. Fellowship Lists

Hundreds of external organizations offer funding opportunities for students pursuing graduate study and it can be difficult to know where to start. OGSAF has compiled several lists of fellowships/scholarships* as a starting point for graduate students seeking additional funding.

Fellowships for Various Academic Subjects Fellowships for International Students Diversity and Inclusion Fellowships
Humanities and Education Fellowships

International Affairs and Public Policy Fellowships

Study Abroad and Language Learning Fellowships

STEM Fellowships (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

Health Science and Policy Fellowships Fellowship Lists Maintained by Other Universities

*Please note that OGSAF does not specifically endorse these opportunities. 


2. Professional Organizations

Many academic disciplines and career fields have professional organizations that provide funding to graduate students in their field. See a list of professional organizations OGSAF is familiar with below and  conduct additional research into organizations that may exist for your field.

Professional Organizations List





3. Funding Search Engines and Databases

External fellowship/scholarship opportunities are often advertised through databases and search engines. GW subscribes to a national database, Pivot, for GW graduate students. We recommend that you use specific search terms (e.g., relevant to your background, program of study, career path) when searching to narrow your results. 

Other Search Engines & Databases




Student Scholarship Search

SuperCollege.com's Free Scholarship Search



4. Contact your Program 

Many program directors and professors will be familiar with external funding opportunities in your academic field. They may have written letters of recommendation for other students, received information directly from funding organizations advertising opportunities, or received external funding as a graduate student themselves. We recommend you also review the lists of fellowships that several GW schools maintain below.


5. Additional Resources for Specific Student Groups

For International Students
For Undocumented Students


How to Craft a Competitive fellowship Application

Once you've identified funding opportunities that fit your profile and interests, you will need to ensure your application materials are as competitive as possible. Ideally, you will begin your application for a funding opportunity at least one month in advance. For national competitions, we recommend you start your application even earlier.

The Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships has created a worksheet to help guide your brainstorm process as you consider applying for an external fellowship opportunity.

Crafting a Competitive Application Worksheet

Other Resources for Preparing Competitive Application Materials

Once you've written a first draft of your application materials, we recommend you seek feedback from your peers, professors (depending on the type of funding opportunity), and the GW Writing Center. The GW Writing Center offers free in-person and virtual writing consultation appointments six days a week. 

Learn more about the GW Writing Center & Book an Appointment