Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in STEM Research
The Goldwater Scholarship Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics in the United States, seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.
Working with your advisor and research mentors to prepare a strong Goldwater application is an excellent way to prepare for both graduate school applications and other important scholarship applications like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. These applications require students to demonstrate their commitment to research and explain their career ambitions much in the same way as the Goldwater application. In short, competing for the Goldwater Scholarship is well worth the time and effort.
To be eligible for nomination for a Goldwater Scholarship, a student must:
1. Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior (as defined by Goldwater) pursuing a degree during the 2022-2023 academic year,
2. Intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics or engineering,*
3. Have a college grade point average of at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, and
4. Be a U.S. citizen from the 50 states or the District of Columbia; a U.S. national for those students nominated by institutions in Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; or a permanent resident. A permanent resident must submit a photocopy of their Permanent Resident Card, also known as the Green Card.
*The natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics fields and sub-fields used by the Goldwater Foundation to determine eligibility are those used by the National Science Foundation for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. These include: Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology. To view a field’s sub-fields, consult the table on the Goldwater Eligibility page.
Special Note: Research in Medicine
While research in medicine is not supported by the National Science Foundation, students interested in pursuing careers in medicine or veterinary medicine are eligible for a Goldwater Scholarship if research is a central part of the student's career goals.
This is made clearer if you indicate that you intend to pursue an MD/PhD, DO/PhD, or DVM/PhD, as a PhD is a research degree. You will be expected, as part of the application, to explain why obtaining the medical or veterinary degree as part of an MD/PhD or DVM/PhD will be an asset to you.
Given that the majority of students who obtain a medical (MD and DO) or veterinary degree (DVM) plan to become practicing physicians or veterinarians with no intention of doing research, the "bar" for proving the sincerity of your interest in research will be set higher for one who pursues an MD, DO or DVM than for other degrees.
The characteristics the Foundation seeks in a Goldwater Scholar include:
- strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering,
- effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics and engineering, and
- potential for a significant future contribution to research in their chosen field.
Virtually all Goldwater Scholars intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.
Prior Research Experience
At least 6 months of prior research experience is strongly recommended. Discuss graduate degree goals, potential subfields/specializations, and research topic interests with mentors prior to application. Advice from mentors as you develop your Goldwater short answers and essay is important for producing a competitive application.
Undergraduates with a close relationship with faculty mentors and/or with graduate and postdoctoral students in their own research group are significantly more likely to win funding. Our staff believe this is due to receiving multiple rounds of feedback on the research essay. Fellowship advisor feedback is not a substitute for, but a complement to, feedback from experts in your own discipline.
If you do not already have research experience, consider planning for participation in UNL Undergraduate Research Programs prior to application to the Goldwater Scholarship.
Endorsement (Nomination) Requirements
UNL may nominate up to four students annually. We may nominate a 5th student if one or more of the nominated students is a transfer student. No direct student applications will be considered.
Each Goldwater Scholar annually receives an amount equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7,500 per full academic year. Scholars who receive the award as sophomores can expect to receive support for a maximum of two years (4 semesters) or until graduation, if sooner. Scholars who receive the award as juniors can expect to receive support for a maximum of one year (2 semesters) or until graduation, if sooner.
Current and former Goldwater Scholars also have access to an active and engaged alumni network, including a variety of special events and opportunities to share your Goldwater experience through panel talks and webinars.
Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. As of 2021, Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 94 Rhodes Scholarships, 150 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.
Campus Deadline: Late October 2022
(for 2022-23 grant applicants)
Goldwater Applicant Advising & Endorsement Services
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of National & International Fellowships (NIF) promotes the Goldwater Scholarship on campus and provides advising and endorsement services to enrolled undergraduate applicants.
Goldwater applicants may email Ms. Courtney Santos, Director of National & International Fellowships (email@example.com), and/or submit the Goldwater Student Profile and Pre-Application, by late October.
After contacting NIF, eligible applicants will receive access to a Canvas course with resources for preparing an effective Goldwater application. Those who meet our internal draft deadlines also receive personalized, detailed feedback on their application drafts.
The campus endorsement (nomination) deadline is in early December each year. An internal committee composed of faculty and/or staff from various scientific disciplines, reviews the application to determine endorsement and provide feedback for the final revision to the candidate. The candidate then prepares and submits the final draft by our internal deadline, in early January, allowing our staff to upload the endorsement form and submit the complete application by the Goldwater national deadline.
Prospective Goldwater applicants are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with NIF advisors to discuss application strategy during the process of preparing the application.
Reference writers with questions may also email Ms. Courtney Santos, Director of National & International Fellowships (firstname.lastname@example.org).