Homework 1: What are the elements of a successful fellowship proposal?

last updated 18 July 2017

Assigned Sept 1, 2017. To be completed prior to our meeting September 8, 2017, 1p EST, CHM 0215

Introduction. In our meeting on September 8th we will discuss what makes a fellowship proposal both complete and compelling. As a target we will consider the 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Competition's Program Solicitation and program specific information pages, and we will use a reading of past application materials (kindly volunteered by GEOL students and used with their explicit permission) as the basis for developing a list of elements of a successful proposal. You will use and revise this list as you develop and revise the specific content of your own proposals in weeks 2 and 3 of this workshop.

Task 1. Carefully review the 2017 NSFGRFP and Program Solicitation websites, and make a short summary of answers to the following four questions. This is an essential first step in any proposal you want to write; you don't want to painstakingly prepare an application only to realize that you are not eligible, have prepared content in a format that will be rejected without review, have neglected to include mandatory content, or have missed the (almost always very strict) application deadline.

  1. What is the goal of the fellowship program?
  2. Am I eligible to apply?
  3. What are the formatting and content requirements?
  4. What is the application deadline?

Task 2.  Carefully review the following examples of past Personal and Research Statements. Note that by choosing to download these files, you agree not to share them with others. You further agree to destroy any electronic or printed copies by September 8th, 2017, 5pm EST.

Using what you learned from Task 1 and your reading of these essays, make a short summary of your answer to the following question:

  1. What are the elements of a compellingly good graduate research fellowship proposal?

Be prepared to discuss your answers to Task 1, questions 1-3 and Task 2, question 1 to class on 9/8/17 to discuss.


M.N. Evans, Department of Geology and ESSIC, Geology Bldg (#237) Rm. 1120, 8000 Regents Dr., College Park, MD 20742 USA