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NIH Fellowship Opportunities for Graduate Students 

NOTE: If you are applying for NIH F31 click here

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests nearly $32.3 billion annually in medical research, making it the world's largest public funder of biomedical research.

Please note that each applicant is responsible for determining their own individual eligibility for any fellowship. This includes but is not limited to reviewing which agencies are participating in a funding opportunity announcement. Each applicant should also be aware of the provisions of the award and the requirements of the opportunity, which can be seen and reviewed throughout this page and the hyperlink websites. 

At a Glance

  • Students may apply for up to five years of funding.
  • Awards include stipends of ($25,320 a year) and institutional allowance ($4,200 a year).
  • If awarded, NIH will pay for up to 60 percent of the requested institutional tuition and fees; and total award amounts may vary depending on the award.

Determining Which On-Campus Office To Apply Through

Graduate Division office 

  • The applicant is a single-degree seeking student enrolled in a graduate program
  • The submission requires an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to approve, sign, or submit an application on the applicant’s behalf, please route the application to

Health Sciences Sponsored Project Pre-Award Office (HSSPPO)

  • Applicants/students enrolled in a professional degree program (i.e. PharmD, PharmD/PhD, or MD/PhD program) will need to contact.


Determine Eligibility 

Each fellowship opportunity has different eligibility requirements. The following eligibility requirements are general, visit their respective solicitations found in the dropdown menu below for additional details.

US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents enrolled in a PhD program or equivalent research degree are eligible to apply.

The applicant must be at the dissertation research stage of training at the time of award and must show evidence of high academic performance in the sciences, and commitment to a career as an independent research scientist. 

Your sponsor must also meet UCSD’s Principal Investigator eligibility requirement. Work with your department staff to determine whether your sponsor holds one of the appropriate title codes.

How to Apply

Application Process

Submitting an NIH proposal is a multifaceted process. Below you will find information about the different pieces of the process along with the UCSD NIH Application Guide.

The Application

NIH uses an online application portal called ASSIST, from which you will prepare, submit, and track your application.

To access ASSIST, you will need an eRA Commons account. You will also need to create an ORCID iD and connect this to your eRA Commons account. 

Search for your opportunity announcement number (ie. NIH F31 Parent PA-20-246) and follow the step by step instructions to submit.

  •  eRA Commons User ID
    • To request an account or update an existing account fill out an eRA Commons Account Request Form. 
      • NOTE: Both the student and the sponsor/mentor both each need an account. A student should request that a PD/PI role be assigned to their profile. The sponsor/mentor should request their eRA Commons account with the Sponsor role assigned.
  • ORCID iD
  • Letters of Reference
    • Three to five reference letters from anyone who is NOT directly involved in the application but who are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, training, and interests.
    • Your Sponsor/Co-Sponsors cannot write your reference letters (these are your mentors, co-mentors). If your advisors are directly involved in the application, they cannot serve as a reference either. 
      • NOTE: 'Letters of Support' are not the same as 'Reference Letters'.
        • Sponsors/co-sponsors CAN write “LETTERS OF SUPPORT.” Letters of Support are visible to the students and they can be uploaded by the student to their application in the section of “Letters of Support”.
        • 'Reference Letters' are private and can only be uploaded by the writer via eRA Commons.
    • These letters will be submitted through eRA Commons, separate from your ASSIST application.
    • Make sure to provide the correct PA numbers (see above).
Campus Requirements to Process NIH Application
  • Kuali Record Number
    • This number will be assigned to you once the mentor's fund manager has created a Kuali PD record for your application. The Kuali Record number is used for the internal administration of the proposal.
  • Kuali Conflict of Interest (COI)
    • Kuali COI forms should be submitted prior to submission 
    • The student, the mentor, and any co-mentors should submit COI forms
    • COI forms are submitted through Kuali COI, for more information, click the link above. A fund manager should assist in this process. 
  • Fellowship Assurance Form

To see an example of a funded application, see the Helpful Links dropdown menu. 

Downloadable Forms and Helpful Links



  • PA-20-246Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
  • PA-20-251: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31-Diversity)


Important Information

The Graduate Division does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions in the applicant's submission. We will do our best to review the format of the proposal; however final responsibility for format, content, and completeness always rests with the applicant. Please proofread the application fully and connect with both the graduate fellowship advisor and departmental fund manager for additional guidance prior to submission.