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Undergraduate Scholarship Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) offers competitive scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. The program offers:

  • Scholarship support
  • Paid research training at the NIH during the summer
  • Paid employment and training at the NIH after graduation

In order to determine if you meet the financial need eligibility guidelines, the UGSP encourages all students to complete the Exceptional Financial Need (EFN) form and submit it to your financial aid office. This form can be filed prior to completion of the online application. Since your eligibility will have to be updated with your 2017 financial aid application data, completion and submission of this form is for informational purposes only. If you choose to submit the form prior to application, please notify the UGSP at ugsp@od.nih.gov, and we will contact you after your university has indicated your eligibility. However, if you do not receive notification of eligibility prior to the application opening date, we encourage you to go ahead and begin the application process.

Scholarship support

The NIH UGSP will pay up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable living expenses to scholarship recipients. Scholarships are awarded for 1 year, and can be renewed up to 4 years.

Research Training at the NIH

For each full or partial scholarship year, you are committed to two NIH service obligations. The obligations are actually benefits of the UGSP, providing you with invaluable research training and experience at the NIH.

  1. 10-week Summer Laboratory Experience. After each year of scholarship support, you will train for 10 weeks as a paid summer research employee in an NIH research laboratory. This employment occurs after the receipt of the scholarship award. Each scholar will work directly with an NIH Principle Investigator or an NIH postdoctoral fellow, who will serve as mentors.
  2. Employment at the NIH after Graduation. After graduation, you will continue your training as a full-time employee in an NIH research laboratory. You must serve 1 year of full-time employment for each year of scholarship.

Eligibility requirements

You must meet all of these requirements in order to be eligible for admission into the UGSP.  Please take a moment to use our Eligibility Wizard.

  • U.S.A. citizen or U.S.A. permanent resident
  • Enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited 4-year undergraduate institution located in the United States of America
  • Undergraduate University Grade Point Average of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0-point scale or within the top 5 percent of your class
  • Having 'Exceptional Financial Need' as certified by your undergraduate institution financial aid office - see table below (updated 8 November 2017).
Persons in Family
(Includes Only Dependents Listed on Federal Income Tax Forms)

Family Income Level
(Adjusted Gross Income for Tax Year 2016)
Federal Register: Volume 81, Number 15, 25 January 2016, Page 4036

Family Income Level
(Adjusted Gross Income for Tax Year 2017)
Federal Register: Volume 82, Number 19, 31 January 2017, Page 8831
1 $23,780.00
$24,120.00 
2 $32,040.00 $32,480.00
3 $40,320.00 $40,840.00
4 $48,600.00 $49,200.00 
5 $56,880.00 $57,560.00 
6 $65,160.00 $65,920.00
7 $73,460.00 $74,280.00
8 $81,780.00 $82,640.00
More than 8 Persons $8,320.00 for Each Additional Person $8,360.00 for Each Additional Person

You are not eligible for the UGSP if any one of the following items pertains to you:

  • You are a high school senior
  • You have been awarded an undergraduate degree
  • You are enrolled in an advanced degree program, such as a master's degree
  • You are unable to fulfill the payback requirements

Application Information

The Application is currently close. However, to learn more about the application process and requirements, review the videos "How to Apply to the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program" and "How to Find an NIH Mentor".  In the meantime, you can request that your university determine whether you meet the required exception financial (EFN) need criteria.  To do so, download the EFN form, complete the top section and submit it to the financial aid office at the university you will attend during the 2018-2019 academic year.  The university determine your eligibility and forward the form to us.  We will subsequently inform you regarding your or your eligibility status.

Key dates for admission consideration in fall 2017-2018 academic year

(Dates updated 1 November 2017)

  • January 2, 2018 - Application Opens
  • March 15, 2018 - Application Deadline
  • March 30, 2018 - Letter of Recommendation Deadline
  • May 11, 2018 - EFN Form with 2016 Tax Year Information Deadline
  • Mid-June 2018 - Invitations to Phone Interview Distributed
  • Mid-July 2018 - Phone Interviews for Admission
  • Late-July 2018 - Selection of Scholars

This program is administered without discrimination on the basis of age, race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other nonmerit factors.

NIH is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities.  NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs.