Fellowship or Grant? Does it Matter?

Feb. 26, 2019

In the funding world, we like to say that fellowships go to people and grants go to projects. Generally, this is a fairly accurate description. But, you ask, does this matter? Great question. It matters if the distinction helps you find additional funding.

When searching for fellowships (which are also sometimes called scholarships) consider all the boxes in which you might fit. For example, many communities of faith have scholarships that are not even advertised so if you are part of a community of faith, you might want to ask around. And some types of fellowships have to do with health status or religious, ethnic, or sexual orientation. Here are some examples:

When searching for grants, remember that there are multiple types of projects (e.g. research, conference, training, community, etc.). If you are an international student, remember that research grants, including dissertation grants, are often submitted by faculty. Therefore, if your advisor gets a grant, there might be funding for you to work on the project. 

Most grad students are attuned to funding opportunities that might support their academic work. However, many of you are involved in the local community. Applying for a grant to support your community work can be a great way to ramp up your community work and your resume. If you happen to work in a K-12 school, there are numerous small grants (under $1,000) to which you can apply through a school. If you work in health, the environment, the arts, or community development, there are many small grants to which you can apply through a nonprofit or neighborhood association. Here are a few examples:   

Where do you find these fellowships that fit you or grants for your work? We have many tips on our website https://grad.arizona.edu/ofce/ . I have to say, though, especially if you are searching for small grants, good old google is also pretty helpful.

Finally, just as a last note. Distinguishing between a fellowship and grant might help you search for funding. But when you are applying, always be sure that you fully understand:

a) Who is the eligible applicant,

b) What exactly is funded through the mechanism and

c) The degree to which you will be held to what you propose in the application.

Good luck!



The GradFunding Newsletter is a service of the University of Arizona Graduate College, Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement. You may distribute this article but please acknowledge Shelley Hawthorne Smith and the University of Arizona Graduate College Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement.