There’s no doubt about it: STEM positions are dominated by men. And while the balance is shifting as more women enter the fields of STEM, many schools and organizations are working to close the gender gap by offering scholarships and fellowships specifically to STEM students who identify as female.
The reasons to earn a graduate degree in STEM careers are many: Maybe you’re already working in a STEM field or have an undergraduate degree, and you believe that earning a graduate degree is necessary to take the next step in your career. Or perhaps you want to specialize in a particular area, teach at the post-secondary level, or take on a role in management. In most cases, a graduate degree will make these goals far easier to accomplish.
If you’re female (or know someone who is!) and interested in free money to further your STEM education, this guide is a great place to start. Below, you’ll find scholarships and other forms of financial aid that are available specifically for women in the STEM fields, as well as strategies you can use to increase your chances of earning a scholarship.
Graduate Scholarships for Women in STEM
To help increase the number of women in STEM positions, many organizations offer scholarships, grants and fellowships to students who identify as female and plan to earn a STEM degree. To provide a rough idea of what’s available, take a look at the following scholarships that are open exclusively (or primarily) to female STEM graduate students.
ABC Humane Wildlife Women in STEM Academic Scholarship
- Amount: $1,000
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is available to applicants who identify as female and are enrolled in an accredited graduate or undergraduate STEM program.
Ada I. Pressman Memorial Scholarship
- Amount: $5,000
- Eligibility Requirements: All engineering students who identify as female and are enrolled in an ABET-accredited graduate or undergraduate program may apply for this scholarship.
Alice May Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund
- Amount: $1,200
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is open to applicants who identify as female and are pursuing any engineering degree at the undergraduate or graduate level at a school in California.
Amateur Radio Digital Communications Scholarship
- Amount: $7,500
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must identify as female, attend an ABET-accredited graduate or undergraduate institution and major in an electrical engineering or similar field. A special preference is given to individuals who demonstrate financial need or come from an underrepresented group.
American Fellowship Program
- Amount: $8,000 to $50,000
- Eligibility Requirements: This AAUW fellowship is for graduate students who need funding to complete a dissertation, postdoc research or research for publication. This scholarship is open to all academic areas, although gender issues and STEM subjects are given special preference.
Amelia Earhart Fellowship
- Amount: $10,000
- Eligibility Requirements: To apply, an individual must be a woman who is working on a doctoral degree in a space or aerospace engineering field of study. Individuals must also have either completed at least one year of their doctoral program or have a master’s degree in an aerospace or related field.
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Scholarship Fund for Women in Computing
- Amount: $2,500
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is open to female students who are working toward a degree related to computers or technology.
- Amount: $6,000
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must identify as female, attend an ABET-accredited graduate or undergraduate institution and major in an eligible engineering field. Special preference is given to disabled, veteran and/or underrepresented individuals.
- Amount: $3,000
- Eligibility Requirements: Women who are working toward a graduate or undergraduate degree in engineering, mathematics, science or technology may apply for this scholarship.
Clare Boothe Luce Program
- Amount: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professors. The graduate awards come in the form of fellowships that are intended for women conducting research while working toward a PhD in a STEM-related academic field.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
- Amount: Up to $52,000
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is for anyone planning to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in an area related to oceanography, marine biology or maritime archeology. Special preference will be given to female and minority applicants.
Elvira Alonso Soto Hispanic Women in Architecture Scholarship
- Amount: $9,275
- Eligibility Requirements: Individuals who identify as female, Hispanic and study architecture at any postsecondary level may apply for this scholarship.
Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship
- Amount: $1,000
- Eligibility Requirements: To receive this scholarship, an individual must be female, studying in a statistics field, and must be either in the early stages of graduate school or the later stages of professional or academic training.
Graduate Women in Science National Fellowship
- Amount: Up to $10,000
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree, be working on research in a STEM or social science field and be members of the Graduate Women in Science organization.
Judith McManus Price Scholarship
- Amount: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is intended for women and/or minority applicants who are enrolled in a Planning Accreditation Board-approved program and intend to become a planner in the public sector. Special preference is given to those who show financial need.
Markforged Distinguished Women Engineers Grant
- Amount: $3,085
- Eligibility Requirements: Available to both graduate and undergraduate female students, this grant is intended for individuals who show an interest in engineering relating to material science, industrial design, manufacturing, 3D printing or cloud computing.
Microsoft Dissertation Grant
- Amount: Up to $25,000
- Eligibility Requirements: This is a research grant for PhD students who are studying in a computing field and come from an underrepresented group, including those who identify as female.
M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
- Amount: Up to $45,000
- Eligibility Requirements: This award is for women who have at least started work toward a PhD and who need financial assistance so they can return to a prior physics research career after having it interrupted. The fellowship grant can be spent on childcare, salary, travel costs, equipment and/or tuition.
Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation Scholarships
- Amount: Up to $5,000
- Eligibility Requirements: In addition to being female, applicants must demonstrate a desire to enter a computer science profession and be a full-time graduate or undergraduate student enrolled in a computer science, information systems, data science, cybersecurity or comparable field.
Osage Chapter Graduate Research Scholarship
- Amount: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is open to graduate students who are members of the Osage Chapter of the Association of Women Geoscientists. Applicants must identify as female (or gender non-conforming) and be an underrepresented minority in a geoscience field.
Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World PhD Fellowship
- Amount: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: This fellowship is open to PhD students who are also women scientists from a country with developing science and technology fields. They must be attending a university at another developing country located in the Global South.
Paybotic Women in Finance and Technology Scholarship
- Amount: $7,500
- Eligibility Requirements: Undergraduate and graduate female students can apply for this scholarship if they’re pursuing a degree in a STEM-related field from an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States.
She Rose Initiative’s “More Than a Conqueror’ Scholarship
- Amount: $500
- Eligibility Requirements: Funded by She Rose Initiative, this scholarship is for female African American graduates or undergraduates who have been diagnosed with a systemic autoimmune disease and are studying in a medicine, public health, healthcare or STEM field.
VIP Women in Technology Scholarship
- Amount: Up to $2,500
- Eligibility Requirements: Sponsored by Visionary Integration Professionals (VIP), this scholarship is designed to encourage women to study information technology, computer science, management information systems or a similar area at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Women in Aviation International Scholarship Program
- Amount: Varies
- Eligibility Requirements: The WAI scholarship program is open to active members of Women in Aviation International that demonstrate a strong interest in aviation, which may include graduate study in aeronautical sciences or similar fields.
Women Divers Hall of Fame Marine Conservation Scholarship
- Amount: $1,000 to $2,000
- Eligibility Requirements: Open exclusively to graduate students (special preference to women) who are working on a graduate school project relating to applied marine conservation biology.
Women Divers Hall of Fame Cecilia Connelly Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Underwater Archaeology
- Amount: $2,500
- Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is exclusively for women who are enrolled in an accredited graduate program that can lead to a career in underwater archaeology.
Women in STEM Scholarship
- Amount: $3,000
- Eligibility Requirements: To apply, students must identify as female and be studying at the graduate or undergraduate level in a field relating to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
Women in Technology Scholarship
- Amount: $500
- Eligibility Requirements: Any student who identifies as female can apply for this scholarship, as long as she’s working toward a degree related to technology.
Tips for Standing Out on Your Application
Scholarships and other forms of gift-based awards are among the most competitive forms of financial aid. Therefore, it’s imperative you do everything you can to give yourself an edge when applying. And while scholarship decisions are sometimes based on factors beyond your control, you’ll be surprised by the number of things you can do to improve your chances of receiving a scholarship award to help you pay for your graduate education.
Beef up Your Extracurriculars
Most committees that award scholarships look for applicants who excel academically and professionally. But they also look for individuals who are well-rounded and show interests and skills in areas outside the classroom. When deciding on which extracurriculars to add, look for activities you can relate to your interest in a STEM academic field or profession.
Apply to as Many as You Can
The logic is simple: The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you’ll be to win an award. But the biggest hurdle to this approach is the time and work it takes to apply for each scholarship. You’ll need to balance the time and effort it takes to apply with the potential scholarship award amount. One possible strategy to increase your applications is to find components that apply to more than one scholarship application, like an essay or personal statement.
Apply to Scholarships with More Eligibility Requirements
Improve your chances of earning a scholarship by applying for those that receive fewer applications; you can do this by finding those scholarships with more difficult eligibility requirements. This includes both higher eligibility thresholds (such as a higher GPA) as well as more eligibility requirements. For example, a scholarship that’s open to all female graduate and undergraduate students will most likely receive more applicants than a scholarship that’s open to only female graduate students who are studying in a specific STEM field.
Good Letters of Recommendation
Not only can you choose who writes these letters, you can take steps to make sure you get these letters written well before the application deadline. Even though you can’t control how long your recommender takes to write the letter, you can control when you ask them to write your letter. In other words, ask them as soon as you can.
Wow with Your Essay or Personal Statement
Essays are typically the best chance to personalize your scholarship application. The essay gives you the opportunity to add depth and personality to the more objective parts of the process. Your essay will also provide a chance to explain a potential deficiency in your application as well as enhance and elaborate on a high point. It helps to have someone else read your essay, asking for feedback on the overall content as well as the peskier fine points like spelling and grammar.
Be First in Line, Before the Deadline
It sounds simple, but getting your application in before the deadline is crucial for success. Missing the deadline almost always means your application gets rejected. Submitting scholarship applications early also will reduce your stress and help you avoid any last-minute technical issues — because websites have been known to crash, especially if a high volume of traffic is accessing it at the same time.
Look for Local and Regional Scholarships
If you don’t have the best GPA or portfolio to really compete hard for a particular scholarship, you can still find ways to stand out among a smaller pool of applicants. One such method is to look for scholarships that only consider applicants from a particular area or location. It might be a city, high school, county, state or college. Applying for these scholarships will improve your chances of success as you already have a clear advantage.
Additional Resources for Women in STEM
We’ve listed a bunch of graduate STEM scholarships for women, but these are just a small sample of what’s available. A great way to find more scholarships — as well as advice on how to win them — is to go directly to organizations that sponsor, administer and raise awareness for these scholarships. Below is a list of some of these organizations and other online resources that relate to STEM scholarships and education advocacy for women.
- 500 Women Scientists: This organization exists to make science and related fields as open and accessible as possible to all groups, especially those who have faced historical racism, sexism and oppression.
- AAUW: The American Association of University Women is one of the most well-known and prominent non-profit organizations that pushes for the equal treatment of women in various professional and educational contexts.
- AnitaB.org: AnitaB.org supports women in technology fields using a variety of methods, including networking, mentorship, education and organizational problem solving.
- Association for Women in Computing (AWC): The AWC is a professional organization for women in computer technology areas of study and practice. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for professional growth through networking and programs on technical and career-oriented topics.
- Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG): AWG is an international organization that promotes the geosciences for women and girls. Membership is open to anyone, including geoscience professionals and individuals with a personal interest in the field of study.
- Association for Women in Science (AWIS): AWIS exists to help women reach their goals in science. AWIS does this through a variety of ways, including networking, career development, advocacy and partnerships.
- Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine (CWSEM): As part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the CWSEM promotes the advancement of women in STEM fields by collecting and distributing statistical information about women in STEM.
- Girls Inc.: Girls Inc. works with schools to help females reach their full potential through skill development, mentorship, academic assistance and healthy living practices.
- Graduate Women in Science (GWIS): GWIS creates and supports groups that help women enter science-related fields through financial aid awards, like grants and scholarships.
- Million Women Mentors: This organization creates a network of mentors for future women in STEM. Million Women Mentors does this by connecting young women and girls with government, corporate and community leaders.
- National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT): NCWIT is focused on advancing innovation by correcting underrepresentation in computing.
- National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP): Many organizations offer initiatives that promote women in STEM professions. NGCP helps these organizations find young women and girls to take part in these programs.
- National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (iWiTTS): iWiTTS assists education professionals to encourage and support female students who want future careers in STEM fields.
- National Organization for Women (NOW): NOW is a leading grassroots organization championing for the rights of women, including removing discrimination, bringing about societal changes and promoting the equal treatment of women in the United States.
- National Science Foundation (NSF): The NSF is a federal agency with the primary mission of promoting science in the United States. Some of this mission is accomplished through the funding of post-secondary education.
- P.E.O.: This is a charitable organization with the primary mission of helping advance the interests of women, especially when it comes to educational opportunities.
- The Scientista Foundation: Scientista tackles the problem of women entering STEM fields but then choosing to leave, whether during the education or professional stages. Scientista helps facilitate communication and the sharing of resources and ideas of organizations with the similar goal of increasing the number of women in STEM careers.
- Society of Women Engineers (SWE): If it relates to helping women achieve their goals in engineering, the SWE is probably involved. The SWE offers a host of resources including scholarships, networking events and youth development programs.
- Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN): WEPAN focuses on women in all stages of their engineering careers (as well as those in school to become engineers) to improve the participation of women in all branches of the field.
- Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology (WEST): WEST works to promote the interests of women in science and technology, especially related to entrepreneurship. Resources offered include skill-building workshops, sponsorships and networking opportunities.