First and Second Years

General Information and Tips for Prospective Fellowships Applicants

Fellowships are merit-based awards for further academic study or research disbursed through national, and sometimes international, competitions. Some sponsors also use the term “scholarship” in the name of their awards. In the context of national academic competitions, a fellowship should not be confused with traditional sources of financial aid. Recipients are usually selected on the basis of high academic achievement, scholarly promise, career goals, leadership skills, service to others, character, and sometimes financial need. 
For most of the competitive award programs below, applicants must already be of sophomore standing at the time of application. However, there are several programs that accept applications from first-year students, including summer opportunities.
The federal government, foreign governments, and private philanthropic organizations sponsor these award programs; they provide funding based on academic merit and other criteria designated by each sponsor to support undergraduate study in the U.S. and abroad. See the individual programs’ official websites for complete information on eligibility requirements, application procedures, application forms, and exact filing deadlines. Many sites also include profiles of past winners.

Programs preceded by an asterisk (*) require institutional endorsement of candidates.


Programs preceded by a dagger (♦) accept applications from first-year students.


♦ Amgen Scholars (link is external)

  • No previous research experience is necessary and you do not need to be a biology major to apply.
  • You do not need to currently attend one of the 17 host institutions to participate in the program.
  • During the program, students work full-time on independent research projects under the guidance of a research scientist.
  • Amgen Scholars have opportunities to conduct research, analyze data, present research results, network with other undergraduates with similar research interests, and develop working relationships with faculty mentors and other research staff.
  • Amgen Scholars learn how to collaborate effectively in research settings while investigating areas of research interest within a specific discipline and gaining practical skills and knowledge for both graduate study and post-graduate careers.
  • Financial support is a critical component of the Amgen Scholars Program. Please note that details vary by host institution. See each institution’s Amgen Scholars Program website for more information.
  • Program dates vary, check website for details; application deadlines ussually early February.

* ♦ David L. Boren/NSEP (National Security Education Program) Undergraduate Scholarship

  • For undergraduates who are U.S. citizens and wish to study abroad in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, or the Middle East.
  • Maximum scholarship awards are: $8,000 for a summer program (special initiative for STEM students only; 8 weeks minimum); $10,000 for a semester and; $20,000 for a full academic year
  • Academic program must include formal study of a modern language other than English and the study of an area and culture considered critical to U.S. national security.
  • Selection based on academic achievement and potential to succeed in the proposed study abroad experience; commitment to international education to fulfill academic and career goals; commitment to seek work in the federal government; and the quality and appropriateness of the proposed program.
  • On-campus Representative
  • Application usually due in mid-January.

Critical Language Scholarship

  • Program of intensive summer institutes offered overseas for language training and cultural enrichment in selected languages deemed of critical importance to the U.S. (e.g., Arabic, Persian, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, Urdu).
  • Open to currently enrolled students (undergraduates and graduates) in all academic disciplines who are U.S. citizens.  Undergraduate candidates must have completed at least one year of college by program start date.  Candidates must meet language study prerequisites set for language of interest.  Application may be made for only one language.
  • Award covers all CLS program costs.
  • Selection basis includes academic record and potential to succeed in rigorous academic setting, cultural adaptability, diversity, plan for continuation of language study, and plan for use of language studied in future career.  Two letters of recommendation are required; one from a language instructor and one from an academic contact, preferably a professor.
  • Application available online and usually due mid-November.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst/German Academic Exchange Service)

  • Programs open to all students studying in North America. Students who are citizens of countries outside North America may also apply for certain DAAD programs; see website for details.
  • Undergraduate Scholarship:  sophomores and juniors with demonstrated interest in German and European affairs may apply for this award to support study abroad, senior thesis research, or internships in Germany. Funding available for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 months during the German academic year, i.e. October to July.  Proficiency in German is not mandatory, but applicants should have the necessary language skills for the programs they propose to undertake.  Application deadline:  usually late January.
  • RISE: Research Internships in Science & Engineering:  sophomores and juniors majoring in a science or engineering field may apply for summer internships of 6 weeks to 3 months; placements provided by top German university research groups.  Knowledge of German not required for most positions but would be helpful for life outside the laboratory.  Two-week intensive language course available for participants with little or no German.  Application deadline: mid-January.
  • Study & Internship Program (SIP) in Germany:  sophomores and juniors majoring in an engineering, science, economics, or art/design field may apply for full semester of study at a participating German university of applied sciences followed by semester-ling paid internship in a German company or research institute. Basic German skills helpful, but some courses available in English.  Application deadline: usually mid-February.

* ♦ Davis Projects for Peace

  • Successful applicants will use their creativity to design projects and employ innovative techniques for conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding and breaking down barriers that cause conflict, and finding solutions for resolving conflict and maintaining peace. 
  • $10,000 grant for summer grassroots project designed to resolve conflict and maintain peace
  • Open to all undergraduates in all disciplines
  • May be used anywhere in the world
  • Individual and group projects welcome
  • Nomination Requirements: 2-page statement (project description, expected outcomes, prospects for future impact), 1-page budget, a letter of support from collaborating organization or parties, and one general reference.
  • Deadline: usually early January

♦ Department of Homeland Security: National HS- STEM Summer Internship

  • National HS-STEM Summer Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work with homeland security professionals and researchers for up to ten weeks during the summer. Particpants are provided a stipend and conduct research areas at federal research facilities.
  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age at the start of the internship period, a U.S. citizen, and enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a U.S. accredited college or university as of the application deadline.
  • Minimum 3.30/4.0 cumulative GPA required.
  • Must be majoring in an engineering, physical, mathematical, computer, life, or social/behavioral/economic sciences field and committed to a homeland security research area.
  • Applicant should be pursuing long-term career goals aligned with the DHS mission and objectives and be available to participate for ten consecutive weeks full-time durin the summer
  • Stipend of $600 per week for undergraduates and $700 per week for graduate students during the 10-week internship period and transportation expenses for one round trip between the student's current or home address and the assigned federal research facility (with some limitations).
  • Further information can be found at DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program page
  • Application deadline: usually early January. 

♦ Fulbright US-UK Summer Institutes Scholarship

  • Academic and cultural summer program to promote mutual understanding and ties between the U.S. and the U.K. First-year and sophomore students in any major who have little or no study or travel experience in the U.K. or anywhere else outside the U.S. may apply.  Only U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years of age and possess a U.S. passport at the time of application are eligible.
  • Minimum 3.5/4.0 GPA required; must also be mature, responsible, independent, open-minded, and willing to become an ambassador for studying in the U.K.
  • institutes available at several highly regarded U.K. universities; each institute offers several different options for the academic component of the program; all institutes include intensive study, discussions, and cultural excursions.  Institutes vary in duration from four to six weeks, with varying start dates.
  • Program covers international round-trip travel fare, tuition, fees at host institution, accommodation, and meals; also provides small daily allowance.
  • Application requires a personal statement; an essay on a specific topic; two letters of reference, one of which must be from a professor who has taught you.
  • 8-12 Scholars are selected for each institute.
  • Competition opens in January; applications available online and are usually due mid- to late February.

* Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

  • For undergraduates in any field to pursue full-time international study worldwide but especially in countries outside of Western Europe and Australia. Open to U.S. citizens and nationals receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application.
  • Study periods may be from four weeks up to an academic year.  A limited number of summer programs are available.
  • Study abroad program must be approved by the University for academic credit.
  • Awards of up to $5,000; average award is $4,000.
  • Apply in the academic term prior to the start date of the study abroad program: March for fall and summer study abroad or October for spring study.

* Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

  • For outstanding sophomore and junior students (top 25% of class and minimum 3.75 cumulative GPA) in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering who are preparing for graduate study (usually Ph.D.) and research-oriented careers in their field. Open to United States citizens, permanent residents, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, U.S. nationals.
  • Worth up to $7500/year for the remaining year(s) of undergraduate study.
  • Selection made on the basis of superior academic achievement, research experience and scholarly potential, a research essay, and three letters of recommendation.
  • Approximately 300 Goldwater Scholars are selected each spring.
  • Application deadline: usually late January

Humanity in Action Foundation Fellowship

  • International human rights education and internship program sponsored by foundation "devoted to the study and betterment of human rights and specifically the relationship between majority and minority populations." Students from any national background of sophomore through senior standing may apply.
  • Students chosen from the U.S. travel to Washington, D.C. for orientation and then to a participating European country for 4-week European core program of seminars, workshops, site visits, and meetings with figures from various fields, such as academia, government, journalism, and human rights organizations. Fellows engage in outreach programs to their peers and local communities during the academic year following the summer program in Europe.
  • Selection based on leadership potential, academic achievement, interest in minority issues, concern for human rights, willingness to engage in intellectually and socially rigorous work in group settings, maturity, and self-reliance.
  • Foundation pays expenses for European travel and accommodations.
  • Application deadline: early January. 

McNair Scholars Program  

  • Prepares qualified undergraduates for entrance to a Ph.D. program in all fields of study. The goals of the program are to increase the number of first-generation, low-income and/or underrepresented students in Ph.D. programs, and ultimately, to diversify the faculty in colleges and universities across the country.
  • Completed at least 60 units (Transfers Exempt)
  • Quarter and Cumaltive GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Intention to puruse a Ph.D. after graduation
  • Low income as defined by the US Department of Education and a first generation college student (where neither parent completed a 4-year degree) or a student underrepresented in graduate education as defined by US Department of Education (African American, Hispanic-Latino, Native American and Alaskan, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian)
  • All participants are required to commit in writing to all program requirements and expectations, some include: Participation in the UCSB Summer Research Program, Attendance at weekly and/or bi-weekly seminars, Completion of a one year academic research project, Presentation of research at a national conference and at the UCSB undergraduate symposium, Preparation for the GRE general examination, Completion of a doctoral degree within ten (10) years of attaining a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara .
  • Materials required: Two letters of recommendation from faculty or staff at UCSB or the community college you attended - one letter must be from a faculty member, instructor/lecturer, or a teaching assistant (TA). Please have your recommender submit their letter to us at and we will upload it to your application, Three short statements (approximately 300-400 words each)- Please begin an application to see the prompts, Unofficial transcripts from UCSB and any community college you may have attended. Please email transcripts to mcnair@mcnair.ucsb.eduStudent Aid Report - obtained from Please email SAR to
  • Application deadline: Usually Late October and late January         

♦ National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program

  • For students committed to pursuing health-related research careers in biomedical, behavioral, or social science fields. Open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or qualified permanent residents with a documented history of significant financial need. First-years through juniors may apply; first priority given to junior applicants.
  • Scholarship worth up to $20,000 per year. Other benefits include 10-week paid summer internship at NIH, professional mentoring, scientific seminars, and employment after completion of graduate school.
  • U.S. citizen or U.S.A. permanent resident.
  • Minimum 3.3 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale required.
  • Having 'Exceptional Financial Need' as certified by your undergraduate institution financial aid office.
  • Application available online.
  • National deadline usually in March.

SMART Scholarship for Service Program (Science, Mathematics & Research for Transformation)

  • For undergraduates and graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields who have demonstrated ability and special aptitude for excelling in their fields.  Applicants should have strong interest in theoretical and applied research as well as interest in working for the Department of Defense as civilian research scientists and engineers.  Only U.S. citizens may apply.
  • Minimum 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA required.
  • Application requires two letters of recommendation.
  • Award includes full tuition and eligible expenses, annual cash award of at least $25,000, summer internships, and post-graduation employment opportunities in Dept. of Defense laboratories and agencies.
  • Application available online and usually due in early October.

SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) Program

  • Undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program of research and mentoring designed to broaden participation in atmospheric and related sciences. Applications encouraged from sophomores and juniors, especially those from groups historically under-represented in the sciences, students with disabilities, and students who have experienced social or economic disadvantage. Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
  • Program provides paid research for up to four summers as well as undergraduate and graduate school funding, summer housing, and round-trip airfare to summer research sites.
  • Candidates should have a major in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering environmental science, math, physics, or the social sciences; should plan career in atmospheric or related science. Minimum 3.0 GPA recommended.
  • Application requires two essays, two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak directly to the student’s academic and research abilities, and transcripts from all higher-education institutions attended.
  • Application usually available mid-November and due early February.
  • Approximately 8-10 SOARS Protégés selected each spring, around mid-March.

Tylenol Scholarship Program

  • For students majoring in an area that may lead to a health-related career.
  • Ten scholarships worth $10,000, 30 scholarships worth $5000.
  • Selection based on academic achievement and leadership in community and school activities.
  • Application available online and usually due in late April.

* Udall Scholarship

  • For full-time sophomores and juniors in any major (1) with a strong demonstrated commitment to environmental issues OR (2) who are Native American/Alaska Native and also committed to Native American healthcare OR tribal public policy. Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S. nationals.
  • Up to $5,000 for tuition, room and board, or other educational expenses. Students who win as sophomores may re-apply in the junior year.
  • Minimum 3.55 cumulative GPA.
  • Selection based on academic achievement and honors, record of leadership and service, relevant work experience, letters of recommendation, and a critical essay discussing Congressman Morris K. Udall's or Secretary Stewart L. Udall's public policy work and its relation to the applicant's interests and career goals..
  • Approximately 75 Udall Scholars selected each spring.