Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants
Most engineering scholarships and fellowships are offered through professional societies. Awards, therefore, are dependent on the funding and support these organizations receive. For the most part, aid received through scholarship and fellowship opportunities do not have to be repaid. In rare cases, students who receive funding from professional organizations may be required to repay the funds if they do not complete their degree programs. This doesn’t happen often; when it does, the fear of the funding turning into a loan should not dissuade you from applying.
Below, you’ll find our curated list of the 20 best scholarships and fellowships available to students pursuing their master’s in engineering. The application processes and requirement for many of them are very detailed, so be sure to read the linked sites carefully before applying. Most, if not all, of the opportunities require students to be enrolled in an ABET-accredited program or school.
- Editor's Picks
NASA Graduate Aeronautics Scholarship Program
- up to $91,000
- March 31, 2016
NASA’s Office of Education offers this scholarship opportunity to graduate students pursuing degrees in aerospace or aeronautics engineering degrees or a related field. Five master’s candidates enrolled at an accredited school are selected to receive up to $11,000 to go towards tuition and a $35,000 stipend per academic year for the two years of master’s studies. Recipients also participate in a 10-week, summer internship at one of NASA’s research centers, for which they receive a stipend of up to $10,000. Applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply, official transcripts, three letters of recommendations, curriculum vitae and GRE scores.
- December 1, 2016
Full-time students in an earth science degree program that focuses on minerals, at a school accredited by ABET, may be eligible for the Woman’s Auxiliary to the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (WAAIME) scholarship. This award is open to any qualifying student who is a member of one of the AIME societies. The scholarship funds two years of study, and recipients may qualify for a third year at the discretion of the WAAIME Executive Committee. Priority is given to undergraduates, but master’s students are still eligible to apply.
Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship
- February 15, 2016
This merit-based scholarship is awarded by SPIE to students in pursuit of a degree in a field related to photonics, optoelectronics, imaging or optics. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited school at the time of receipt of the award, and they must obtain two letters of recommendation from non-family members when they apply.
Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship
- December 2015
The Department of Defense offers this scholarship and employment opportunity to students who are enrolled, or who will enroll, in a science or engineering program at an accredited U.S. school. Applicants must be U.S. citizens in good academic standing; they must be willing and able to work with the DoD as summer interns and in post-graduation, civilian roles. Along with an internship and a job, those selected for this award receive full tuition coverage; a stipend of $25,000 – $38,000, depending on length and type of degree; allowances for health insurance and supplies; and mentoring. Students who receive this award but who fail to complete their program of study are required to repay the funds they used. The application is scheduled to reopen in August 2015.
Society of Women Engineers Scholarships
- May 2016
Scholarships available through SWE are open to women only. In order to be eligible for most of the funding opportunities, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited engineering program as a full-time student with at least one more year of study remaining. Students interested in these awards cannot be fully funded by another scholarship, fellowship or their schools; they may qualify for need-based aid depending on their FAFSA.
Professional Engineers in Government Management Fellowship
- March 2016
Those interested in the National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Government (NSPE/PEG) fellowship should either be an intern in an engineering field or a licensed professional. They should also be enrolled in an engineering management master’s program, or an MBA program that focuses on an engineering field. Applicants within the U.S. are not required to have NSPE or PEG membership, though those with either credential are given more weight than those without. The review committee looks at undergraduate GPA, professional and community activities, a personal essay and society membership when considering recipients for this award.
National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- October 2016
The National Science Foundation, in an effort to support and promote scientific research, created this fellowship program to support graduate students pursuing research-based degrees at accredited schools in the United States. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals or permanent residents. They must be enrolled in a graduate program, but they must not have completed more than a year of graduate study. Those who already have a master’s degree are ineligible. Recipients of this award are given a $32,000 annual stipend for up to three years, and $12,000 is sent directly to their schools to pay for tuition and fees.
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The most common loans available to graduate students are Federal Loans that are determined and awarded after completing the FAFSA. The percentage rate on these is often higher than those for undergraduates, and they begin to accrue interest as soon as the money is disbursed to the colleges and universities. Graduate students may want to look into private loans. Often, the interest rates on these are lower, but they are tied more to your credit rate than they are to need.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers offer student members an auxiliary loan. These $5,000 maximum loans can be applied for at any time during the school year, and they are interest free until graduation.
The table below details how loans work for students who want to pursue their master’s degrees.
Loan Comparison Chart
|Eligibility Requirements||No previous federal loan defaults; Must attend school at least half time|
|Amount Available||Up to $20,500/year; $138,500 for entirety of degree|
|Interest Rates||Tied to 10-year treasury note + 3.6%; Maximum of 9.5%|
|Repayment||6 months after leaving school|
|Forgiveness||After 20-25 years; 10 years for public servants|
|Eligibility Requirements||Must attend school at least half time; acceptable credit|
|Amount Available||Full cost of graduate study, including living expenses|
|Interest Rates||Tied to 10-year treasury note + 4.6%; maximum of 10.5%|
|Repayment||Deferred until 6 months after school or after attendance drops below half time|
|Forgiveness||After 10 years if employed in nonprofit or government|
|Eligibility Requirements||Must qualify as low-income student; income cut-off varies by school|
|Amount Available||$8,000/year; varies according to college|
|Repayment||9 months after leaving school|
|Eligibility Requirements||Based on credit|
|Fixed Rate/Subsidized||No/No (Usually)|
Teacher, Graduate or Research Assistant Jobs
The availability of these positions, and the benefits of working as a TA or RA, vary by school. In general, TA and RA jobs provide graduate students with a weekly, monthly or term-based stipend and a tuition break. Students who pursue this option are usually tasked with grading papers, helping to prepare classes and conducting research alongside their professors. These positions are usually part-time, and must be completed in conjunction with regular coursework.