Extramural Fellowships

Extramural fellowships foster successful scientific careers by distinguishing the most meritorious research projects and demonstrating the recipient's skill and resourcefulness in securing support. The Graduate Division strongly encourages you to apply for these prestigious awards.


Eligibility, support, and application procedures vary by fellowship. Consult with UCSF graduate program directors, administrators, graduate advisers, and the Graduate Division as you prepare applications. Extramural fellowships that provide a stipend and/or tuition and requires the institution (UCSF) to accept the funding on the student's behalf, are sometimes administered through the Graduate Division office. If the fellowship provides research funding only, it will be administered through the student's graduate program or their department. Before you begin applying for any external funding opportunities, please take a moment to review the application steps.

Identifying Sources and Types of Funding

  • Read the frequent fellowship opportunity emails sent to the UCSF Graduate Student listserv
  • Searchable Databases
  • Government Agencies and Charitable Foundations
  • Professional Associations
  • Your own professional network (PI, colleagues here and at other institutions)

Fellowship search databases

Usually free to use, these online databases offer various ways to search for appropriate fellowships. For the best results, search more than one database using several parameters. Here are some good places to start.

COS Pivot*
UCLA Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support (GRAPES) Database
Guide to Free Scholarship Search Databases
GrantSearch — American Association of State Colleges and Universities
The Foundation Center
Grants.gov, from the US Department of Health and Human Services
Grant Forward (requires paid subscription, but offers a free trial)
International Study Abroad Programs

*Training for students and postdocs in using the Pivot funding opportunities database is offered monthly by the Campus Library. See the Library class schedule for upcoming sessions.

Major Funders

Some of the largest fellowship programs are run by government agencies (such as NSF and the Department of Homeland Security) and charitable foundations. Here is a partial list of some of the foundations and government agencies that have provided funding for UCSF students in the past.

American Cancer Society
American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Predoctoral Fellowship
American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education
Autism Speaks
The Epilepsy Foundation, Predoctoral Research Training Fellowship
Ford Foundation Fellowships
Hartford Foundation, Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity
Department of Health and Human Services, Dissertation Fellowships in Social Sciences
The Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship Award
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Dissertation Research Award
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships
NIH Predoctoral Awards
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)
PhRMA Foundation
Porter Physiology Fellowships for Minorities
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellowship
United Negro College Fund (UNCF)-MERCK, Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships

You should also talk with your faculty mentor about sources of support for your field of research; your mentor can be a great source of information about funding agencies and professional associations that support research in your area. If you are unsure of what professional associations support your area of research, do a Google search on your research interest and see what professional associations come up. Some of the major professional associations are:

Alzheimer's Association
American Association for Cancer Research
American Federation for Aging Research
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)
The American Geriatrics Society
American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program
American Society for Engineering Education