Reference Writers

Reference letters are a key component of a strong application package. The most effective reference letters provide detailed and specific information about how an applicant meets the Merit Review Criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, in context of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

The reference letter should include comments on the applicant's potential for contributing to a globally-engaged United States science and engineering workforce, statements about the applicant's academic potential and prior research experiences, statements about the applicant's proposed research, and any other information to enable review panels to evaluate the application according to the NSF Merit Review Criteria.

Once the applicant completes the appropriate section of their GRFP application, reference writers will receive an email detailing the requirements for the letter and the process of submission. All reference letters must be submitted electronically via the NSF’s FastLane Module and received by the deadline for the current competition.