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For Prospective Students


These Frequently Asked Questions and answers are for students who are looking for graduate PhD programs and for more information about the opportunities that IGERT programs provide.

  • What is IGERT?

    IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) is the National Science Foundation's flagship interdisciplinary training program, educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers by building on the foundations of their disciplinary knowledge with interdisciplinary training. Since 1998 the IGERT program has made 260 awards to over 110 lead universities in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. IGERT has provided funding for nearly 5,000 graduate students.

    Collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and requires teamwork provides students with the tools to become leaders in the science and engineering of the future. IGERT students obtain the personal and professional skills to succeed in the careers of the 21st century.

    The IGERT programs offer traineeships to students pursuing their PhDs. The interdisciplinary graduate programs represented vary greatly, spanning disciplines that include: biomedical engineering, environmental economics, nanoscience, sustainability, computational science, molecular biology, psychology, anthropology, political science, materials science, and many more. Opportunities for international experience as well as internships in industry and government are a part of many programs. To learn more about the programs, Find an IGERT where you can browse by area of interest, university, or theme of the program.

  • Are all of the IGERT programs on this website currently active?

    No. This site features all of the 242 IGERT programs that have ever been funded by the NSF and currently there are about 150 programs that are still active. The others have been completed and no longer are receiving NSF funding. As you search for programs using Find an IGERT, you will be directed to the programs that are still active by default.

    There are some completed programs that have continued at their universities with alternate funding. If you do find a program that is now complete but of interest, you may want to try to visit their website (if there is one posted) to find more information about what the current opportunities for students are, if any.

  • How do I find an IGERT program that is accepting applications for new students?

    An easy way to get a list of the actively recruiting IGERT programs is to use the "Seeking Graduate Programs?" link that you will also find on the Home page.

    From this list, you can use the project links to access a Profile page for each project where you will find more information as well as links to their program website. There, you should find the application and/or more information about how to apply and who to contact. Each IGERT is run individually at each university and so you will need to be in touch with all in which you are interested.

    Another way to find programs is to visit the Find an IGERT section where you can use the search form to narrow your search for programs that might be of most interest to you. There, you can search by university, state, theme, etc. and your results will provide you a list of links to these project Profile pages as discussed above.

    If you find programs that are listed as "not accepting applicants for the coming academic year," but are still of interest to you, you should use the link to their program website to find more information. There, you may find more details about the opportunities that might still be available to students now or in the future.

  • How do I apply to an IGERT program?

    Each IGERT program has a Profile page in the Find an IGERT section of this site. On a Profile page, use the provided link(s) to access their program website. There, you should find the application and more information about how and when to apply. Each IGERT is run individually at their respective university and you will need to be in touch with all in which you are interested to find out these details.

  • What is the stipend for IGERT students?

    The NSF contribution to graduate student stipends is currently $30,000 per trainee per year, usually for 2 years, depending on the program. All IGERT-supported students are expected to be full-time IGERT trainees.

  • Who is eligible to apply to an IGERT program?

    IGERT funds only U.S. Ph.D. students working in STEM disciplines with interdisciplinary themes. The social, behavioral and economic sciences represented in NSF's Social, Behavioral, and Economics Directorate are included. The program does not fund students studying for professional degrees such as law degrees, medical degrees, clinical psychology degrees, etc. The IGERT program also does not fund students getting joint degrees such as M.D./Ph.D. or J.D./Ph.D. or V.M.D./Ph.D.. While there are some IGERT grants in which law is involved the program does not provide funding for participating law students.

  • Can IGERT stipends be given to undergraduates or postdocs?

    No, IGERT only funds graduate students who have the intention to complete a Ph.D.

  • If a student is not yet officially a U.S. permanent resident can they receive an IGERT stipend?

    All must be official before IGERT funds may be used for a student's stipend.

  • Can international students apply for an IGERT stipend?

    IGERT traineeships are restricted to those PhD students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. Some IGERT programs do provide opportunities for "Associates" - students who may not qualify for the IGERT stipend, but are involved in the program and the included interdisciplinary coursework. These opportunities vary by individual program so if this is of interest, you should contact the program directly.

  • The IGERT funding is only for doctoral students but many institutions and/or departments require that graduate students first obtain a master's degree. How does this work?

    Many programs have a master's of science or arts as a first requirement for doctoral students. Regardless of the individual program technicalities, IGERT funds graduate students whose intent is to get the Ph.D.

  • Does the IGERT program prepare Ph.D.s for non-academic careers?

    Graduate students pursue non-academic careers as well as academic and the IGERT program is geared for both. As you browse the different active IGERT programs using Find an IGERT, you will see these variations in focus.

  • How can I use the site to learn more about the work that has been done in each of these IGERT programs?

    As you use Find an IGERT to browse the different programs' Profiles, look at the "Recent Contributions" that are listed on each of these pages. Clicking the links to these will provide examples of the work they have shared which includes: highlights, stories, and achievements featuring the accomplishments of the programs (in the Showcase), as well as publications by current students and faculty (in the Library).

    To view the current collections of these accomplishments and publications by all IGERT members, you can also browse the Showcase and the Library directly. The stories in the Showcase also include a collection of video narratives that have been created by individual IGERTs and provide a nice window into the work of their specific programs.

  • How can I use the site to learn more about the current trainees and/or faculty in these IGERTs?

    There are a few ways that you can learn more about current and past members of the IGERT program by accessing their member profile pages. Use the Find a Member section to browse or search for trainees and faculty that match your interests (keyword, role, university, state, etc.). If you use Find an IGERT to find programs of interest, these program Profile pages provide a link to "View all Members." Throughout the site, you will also see that the work that has been contributed by IGERT members provides links to these member pages as well.