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Research Guides

How to Search for Graduate School Funding: Scholarships, Fellowships, & Grants

Helping current and admitted UW graduate students learn the skills and tools to find funding

Scholarships, Fellowships, & Grants

  • Scholarships, fellowships, and grants are interchangeable terms
  • Include money for school, research, travel, or other educational activities that does not have to be paid back
  • Ideally, begin searching for funding a year before you plan to begin school
  • Deadlines for fellowships, scholarships, and grants are usually 6-12 months before they pay out
  • Summer funding and some smaller awards will have quicker turnaround
  • International students can filter by residency or citizenship status in most of the databases below. We also have a section for resources geared towards international students.

Master's Funding Search Tools

Databases of fellowships, scholarships, and grants for master's students

Doctoral Funding Search Tools

Databases of fellowships, scholarships, and grants for PhD students


Additional Places to Search

  • Your Academic Department 
    May provide direct funding
    May have information on how students fund their studies
    List of academic departments

Crafting Search Terms

  • Start general. Begin with simple searches that combine a general keyword or category (e.g. anthropology or social science). Filter by eligibility criteria that pertain to you (e.g. master's degree, international students). 
  • Consider your search terms. Brainstorm a list of keywords in three areas: your degree or program, your research interests, and your personal, social, or cultural identities (e. g. gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation). Use many synonyms. 
  • Follow up! Always visit the funding source's website for the most accurate information about a particular funding opportunity. Follow leads to see what other funding they offer that may not appear in the database.
  • Automate your process. Grant Forward conveniently allows you to save searches and set up alerts. Creating a spreadsheet to keep track of awards in other databases may be helpful for the search process.
  • Look at "closed opportunities" and deadlines that have passed. If you are in a multi-year program, you can apply to a scholarship, fellowship, or grant in the following award cycle. 

Funding from UW

Funding at UW is often administered through specific departments. It is important to be in contact with your program to know if they have funding for graduate students and information about applying to these opportunities.