Scholarships and Grants for Women in Science

If you’re a woman who’s interested in a science-related field but don’t have enough of your own financial resources to either begin college or complete your studies, you’re not alone. Many women miss the opportunity to find science scholarships and grants because of:

  • A lack of Awareness
  • A perceived Shortage of Time
  • A belief That Scholarships Are Only Available to People of Especially Great Need
  • An unwillingness to Make Application Attempts

The dilemma is quite common, but science scholarships for women are available, and if you pay close attention to the fine points such as eligibility guidelines and application steps, there’s no reason to fear that science-based higher education is out of reach.  Let’s get your search started by looking at just a few of the many opportunities that are available to you, and then we’ll discuss some important differences between scholarships and grants and where to look for them.

A Few Specific Providers of Scholarships and Grants


Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship: Awarded to one biology student per year, the amount of this year’s award is estimated to be between $1,500-3,500. This biology scholarship is open to advanced undergraduates, or students who are in their first or second year of graduate school.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program: Given in association with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this scholarship is geared towards women and minorities who are studying marine biology and related fields. Awards are given based on academic achievements, letters of recommendation and career goals, among other indicators of future success.

Computer Science:

The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: The woman for which this scholarship is named devoted her adulthood to removing barriers that discourage women and minorities from going into technology careers. Scholarships are offered throughout the world to people who have demonstrated leadership skills and top-notch academic abilities.

Palantir Scholarship for Women in Engineering: This option is an example of one of the scholarships for women not only in computer science, but it is also open to females pursuing engineering. All grant finalists receive funding ranging from $1,500 to $10,000.

Earth Science:

The Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship: Given through the American Geosciences Institute, the Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship is for women studying geoscience at the graduate level. Successful applicants receive at least $5,000.


WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award: This award is given to a female chemistry student who needs to travel within the United States to present the results of her research but cannot afford to do so without help. Some grant funds are designated for students at the undergraduate level.

Society of Physics Students Scholarships: This organization offers a number of scholarship options for people studying physics. Some are targeted at women and minorities, and others are intended for people following particular career paths, such as individuals who want to teach physics.


Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU): This grant is for women who have completed at least two years of undergraduate coursework and need money for research related to their degree. It provides a $3,000 stipend and $1,500 for expenses.

BUICK Achievers Scholarship Program: Open to women who are studying the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, this scholarship could help someone who needs science major scholarships and also gives back to her community. Successful applicants can receive up to $100,000 across four years of study, and there will be 50 scholarship winners.

The links above are just the tip of the iceberg. Your opportunities to find science scholarships and grants are abundant!  We’ve listed a few tips below to help you get going in the right direction with your search, including how to know the difference between various types of aid and where to begin your search.  So first, let’s figure out if you need to search for a scholarship or a grant.

Scholarships and Grants: Not the Same

If you’ve done any amount of research about college funding sources, you’ve probably come across websites and magazine articles about grants and scholarships. Many people use those terms interchangeably, but they are not identical. One similarity is they are both classified as “gift aid.” That means, whether you get computer science grants or biology scholarships, neither have to be paid back in the future, unlike college loans.

Whereas a grant is usually based on a person’s level of need, a scholarship is generally given in accordance with merit. On the other hand, grant recipients usually have to submit documentation that demonstrates need, such as evidence of limited income.

Tips for Success

Ideally, whether you are applying for grants or scholarships, allow at least an 18-month window of time to fill out all the paperwork correctly and wait for a response. Scholarships and grants in the science fields can be given out all through the year, so pay especially close attention to application deadlines.

scienceBe prepared to write a letter that discusses why you are a deserving candidate, and don’t be shy when listing your accomplishments. This is a chance to sell yourself to the awards committee.

Just as it is important to make a good impression during a job interview, do what you can to showcase a creative, dedicated mind set. Think about the impact science has had on your life and how it could continue to do so if you have the chance to study the subject through higher education.

The people who review your application will appreciate the fact that you have a long-term outlook and are already thinking about what the future could hold if you get to fulfill your dreams of studying science. Also, don’t limit yourself. Applying for grants and scholarships takes time, but it’s smart to apply for as many as you can, provided you meet eligibility requirements.

Finally, beware of organizations that claim to offer “guaranteed scholarships.” True scholarships are not backed by guarantees of success. Any organization that offers a scholarship based on a promise of funding will almost certainly request an application fee and disappear once they have your money.

These are several basic tips that can help you get on the right track during the application process and not feel overwhelmed along the way.

Possible Sources of Scholarships and Grants

One of the major reasons people feel intimidated when it comes to applying for science major scholarships is they don’t know where to start looking for aid. In addition to some specific sources you’ll learn about soon, get started with this simple list to boost your search and your confidence.

  • The Federal Government: This is the largest source of financial aid for American students, particularly in the form of Pell grants.
  • State Governments: If you want to go to college in the state where you live, check to see what kind of funding is available through this avenue.
  • Your University: Although you may have to declare a major before being eligible, your college or university likely has financial assistance to offer, especially in terms of scholarships for minorities in science.
  • Private Employers: It’s always worth seeing if the company you work for, or the place where a parent works, has a method of helping applicants pay for college. This sort of aid may be even easier to get if you’re currently working in a professional setting but want to go back to schoolto receive training that’ll help you in your line of work and make you a more valuable, equipped employee.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Because this is only a partial list of scholarships, women in science should not feel disappointed if one of the choices above doesn’t seem quite right. Keep searching:  your answer is out there!

Before diving deeply into your scholarship search, have an extremely clear idea of what you want to do through education. Then, it should be much easier to showcase your candidacy for a scholarship given to female biologists, women in science grants, or any other types of financial aid that helps ensure that dedicated women don’t lose sight of their academic goals.


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