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SIGF: Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship


SIGF supports doctoral students whose research crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries.
by Application
Eligibility: Doctoral Students
Period: Winter quarter
Duration: 3 Years
Amount Awarded: Stipend plus tuition support


The Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF) Program is a competitive, university-wide program that awards three-year fellowships to outstanding doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary research. Since 2008, 396 students have received a SIGF. The SIGF supports Stanford doctoral students in undertaking novel, cutting-edge research and pursuing questions that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Examples include:

  • Interdisciplinary initiatives in bio-x, biomedical research and biosciences; international studies; creativity and the arts; K-12 education; and environment, energy, and sustainability
  • Multidisciplinary inquiry within and between the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences
  • Other emerging areas of interdisciplinary study.

Browse the list of 2023 SIGF Fellows

2022-23 SIGF fellows share what they are most excited about for the year ahead.


Fellowship Terms

  • Stipend support:
    • Annual stipend paid over 4 quarters for three years. The 2024-25 stipend for VPGE-administered fellowships is set at $54,800 annually, $13,700 per quarter.
    • In Year 3, a fund of $3000 ($750/quarter) will facilitate intellectual and professional development in interdisciplinary research.
    • Fellows with TGR enrollment before Year 3 will also receive the additional stipend of $750 per quarter to facilitate intellectual and professional development in interdisciplinary research.
  • Tuition:
    • In Years 1 and 2, the SIGF pays tuition for 8 - 10 units for Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, plus Summer tuition for 3 units.
    • In Year 3, the SIGF pays TGR tuition for four quarters.


  • SIGF Fellows can reserve (i.e., defer or bank) up to a maximum of two quarters of support during the lifetime of their SIGF provided that all SIGF support is used within the first six years of graduate study, which includes summer quarter of the sixth year.


The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) and the Graduate Fellowships Faculty Advisory Committee (GFFAC) are pleased to announce the 16th competition to award Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships for autumn quarter 2024-25.

Application Opens: January 5, 2024

Application Deadline: February 14, 2024

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all materials are submitted before the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Award Notifications: May 20, 2024

SIGF Acceptance Deadline: May 28, 2024


Stanford graduate students must fulfill the following criteria to be eligible to apply for the SIGF:

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral degree program in any of Stanford’s seven schools.
  • Applicants must be currently in the first three years of a doctoral program at Stanford University, based upon the matriculation date.
    • If an applicant is initially admitted to a non-terminal master's degree program (please consult department if unsure) in the same department as their doctoral program, the time spent in the master's program counts towards the first three years of graduate study. In this case, applicants must be within their first three years of graduate study (master's plus doctoral quarters) and be enrolled in an open/active doctoral program at the time of application.
  • If an applicant has a NSF, NDSEG, or other equivalent fellowship that provides tenure on an annual basis, all that fellowship’s support must be exhausted prior to autumn quarter 2024-25 (i.e., all available funds from the fellowship have been used and funds are not being forfeited).

Ideally, applicants will be in the second or third year, and have demonstrated academic excellence and evidence of the potential for innovative research in an interdisciplinary area. Ability to link intellectual innovation with solving societal problems, an interest in communicating research to a broader audience, and a capacity for future leadership will also be considered positive qualifications.

Nominations Process:

Applications are submitted online. Applicants are required to enter requested information, upload several documents and request two reference letters. Applicants are urged to carefully read instructions and eligibility requirements before beginning the application, paying special attention to field descriptions. Please be sure that you are eligible and intend to apply for the SIGF before requesting reference letters from faculty members. References will be requested online. Once you enter the faculty member’s information and request the reference, they will receive a link to upload their reference letter, which will then be attached to your application.

The application provides the ability to return to the application for further changes before submitting. You can complete your application at one time and submit, or save it for editing and submitting later. Reference letters can be requested prior to submission of your online portion.

Once an application is submitted, no further changes are possible.

Required Documents

  • Interdisciplinary research statement
    • The research statement should be titled and may not exceed two pages of text. References or full-page figures are not included as part of the two pages. Pages should be single-spaced with one-inch margins and in readable font size. The selection committee includes scholars from a wide range of disciplines so please avoid the use of jargon. Your name should be on each page.
    • The interdisciplinary nature of the project must be clearly evident in the research statement. Here are some questions to consider as you formulate your statement:
      • What is your broader scholarly and research agenda?
      • What makes it interdisciplinary?
      • Which disciplines are you building upon and how are you integrating them?
      • What questions are the focus of your research project?
      • What is the research plan?
      • What is your anticipated contribution and why does it matter? Who will it benefit?
      • As you look ahead to your career trajectory, how will your work be different, important, and innovative?
  • Abstract (100 words)
  • Two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty members (submitted by faculty via the online application portal) that describe the interdisciplinary nature of the research. No late recommendation letters will be accepted.
    • Only two letters will be read by the committee.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Stanford Unofficial Transcript
  • Graduate transcripts (Unofficial or a non-certified official transcript will be accepted)

Application Review Process

Students may submit one application, choosing one of three categories for faculty review. VPGE will reposition applications, if needed, to the area with the deepest faculty expertise for review.

  • Bio-X, Biomedical Research, and Biosciences
  • Environment, Energy, and Sustainability
  • General (multidisciplinary inquiry within and between the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences; international studies; creativity and the arts; K-12 education; other emerging areas of interdisciplinary study)

An application submitted to the Bio-X, Biomedical Research, and Biosciences area is considered for two fellowship programs - the Bio-X Bowes Fellowships and SIGFs affiliated with Bio-X (Bio-X SIGF), as determined by the applicant's eligibility for each competition.  The SIGF eligibility rules, fellowship policies and terms described above apply to all Bio-X SIGFs, but applicants should refer to information on the Bio-X website for instructions about application materials, submission of the application and selection criteria.

Each of the categories will forward the most competitive applications to VPGE for a university-wide review by the Graduate Fellowships Faculty Advisory Committee. All applicants will be notified via email mid-May 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where can I get help with my research statement?

A. The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking offers Graduate Workshops. Read more here. Students in the School of Engineering can request a consultation from the Technical Communication Program. Read more here. Grant Writing Academy. Read more here.

Q. What date is the cut-off matriculation date as a graduate student to be eligible for a 2024 SIGF?

A. The practice that's established is for students to be no further along than at the start of their fourth year when the 2024 SIGF begins in autumn 2024-25. Students who matriculated as graduate students prior to September 2021 are ineligible to apply. If you are concerned about your eligibility, please write to

Q. If I am an M.D. student doing interdisciplinary research for a master's degree am I eligible for a SIGF?

A. No. All applicants must be pursuing a dissertation-based doctoral degree.

Q. I am pursuing a joint degree, a JD-PHD. Do JD years count as years of graduate study for eligibility purposes?

A. Yes, and no.

Those seeking two degrees, for example, a JD and a PhD, are subject to the SIGF eligibility rule of currently being in the first three years of graduate study.

However, for an applicant pursuing a cohort-based professional degree along with the PHD, one year need not be counted as one of the first three years of graduate study when determining eligibility for the SIGF, IF during that year, the applicant took only professional degree units for the professional degree. This often is the case for those in the first year of law school. This caveat will apply to those seeking these types of degrees: MD and PHD, MBA-PhD, and MOM MSM and PhD.

Regardless, students should enter the matriculation date for the graduate degree they started first. JD first, PHD first and both at the same time are all possibilities for those seeking a joint degree.

Q. If I applied last year, may I apply again?

A. There is no restriction against applying multiple times, if eligible.

Q. If I have a Stanford Graduate Fellowship, can I apply for a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship?

A. For 2024, students with two or fewer quarters of SGF for 2024-25 can apply, if otherwise eligible.


Contact the VPGE office by email

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The 2024 SIGF Application is now closed.


Review the information session slides.