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External Awards

Prospective applicants are urged to apply for fellowships or grants from national, international, industrial or foundation sources. Receiving early external awards, such as the National Science Foundation Fellowship or the Ford Foundation’s Minority Fellowships, not only enable a student to supplement the funding received in the department but also make that student a more attractive candidate for future funding opportunities. Some fellowships can be applied to prior to being admitted; some require you to apply in your first year of the PhD. To learn more about external funding sources, discuss opportunities with your program and review the resources below.


Office of Honor Fellowships lists some of the major non-University fellowships for which U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply. These fellowships pay annual stipends in addition to a tuition allowance. Students who receive an award from Vanderbilt and from a non-University source may be permitted to hold both concurrently, although Vanderbilt may adjust its award accordingly.

SPIN: Vanderbilt Faculty, Students, and Staff have access to a powerful search database, SPIN, that lists thousands of funding opportunities. SPIN identifies a wide variety of funding sources according to your research interests and the search parameters you use.  This presentation provides instructions on establishing a SPIN profile and searching for funding opportunities. 

Please note that access to the previous system, Pivot, will end effective June 30, 2018.  Any saved searches you have in Pivot must be recreated in SPIN prior to this date.

Outside Awards and Fellowships

Sallie Mae's Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students

Are you an upcoming or current graduate student who

  • Has a dream you want to achieve with your degree?
  • Has an interesting story to tell?
  • Could use financial help to further your education?

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, now in its second year, awards four current and future graduate students $20,000 for their graduate or professional degree.

The application deadline is February 15, 2019Learn about the eligibility requirements and how to apply.