Scholarships & Aid

Scholarships & Aid
Scholarships & Aid

Undergraduate Students

Departmental Awards

Each year, the Department of Physics & Astronomy awards scholarships to undergraduate Physics and Astronomy majors, totaling up to $35,000. These scholarships are funded by the generous gifts of Nebraska alumni and friends.

To be considered for these awards, students must complete the University of Nebraska–Lincoln financial aid application (including a FAFSA) with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid by the deadline established by their office (typically Jan. 15). All scholarships take into account academic merit; some consider financial need, but you may apply for a scholarship even if you do not qualify for need-based financial aid.

Awarding of each scholarship per year is dependant upon available funds from the Nebraska Foundation.

Additional information is available from the Department of Physics & Astronomy scholarships committee chair, Professor Christian Binek, who can be reached at 402-472-5231 or

John E. Almy Scholarship

Given by Amy C. Almy, the wife of John E. Almy (M.S. 1897), in 1944 to commemorate her husband´s life and achievements as professor of physics at the university. The scholarship "shall be awarded to a student pursuing work in the Department of Physics providing said student has satisfactorily completed one academic year of college work and further providing that said student displays marked ability and promise of success."

The R. M., S. M., and A. M. Eddy Scholarship

Established in 2003 by alumnus Stephan M. Eddy (B.S. 1978) in honor of his wife Elizabeth and his father, to assist deserving physics students.

U. S. Harkson Foundation Scholarship

Established in 1963 by the U. S. Harkson Foundation, which was set up by Ulysses S. Harkson, a 1916 engineering graduate of the university. "Recipients of the scholarships shall be Sophomore, Junior, Senior, or Graduate Students who are qualified academically, are of good moral character, show promise in their chosen field, are worthy of financial assistance, and preference shall be given to those preparing to teach engineering or other sciences."

Edward J. Hirsch Scholarship

Established in 1988 by Henry Pascale as "a tangible tribute to Mr. Hirsch for his many years of excellent service to the Foundation and the University." Edward J. Hirsch worked for many years at the UN Foundation, where he was vice president at the time of his retirement. This scholarship is designated for financially needy students who have ability in the natural sciences and humanities.

Banti and Mela Ram Jaswal Scholarship

Established in 2000 by Professor Sitaram Jaswal, UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy, in honor of his parents Banti and Mela Ram Jaswal, to assist deserving university physics students.

Cheunjit Katkanant Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2002 by alumna Vanvilai Katkanant (M.S. 1979, Ph.D. 1983) in honor of her mother Cheunjit Katkanant, to assist deserving physics students. Dr. Katkanant also has the distinction of being the first woman to to earn a Ph.D. in Physics at Nebraska.

Henry H. Marvin Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1954 by Mrs. Henry H. Marvin, whose husband was for many years a professor of physics in the Department. "Recipients of the scholarships shall be regularly enrolled undergraduate students who have proven their ability to do satisfactory college work and who are worthy of financial assistance, but in the selection of the recipients preference should be given to those majoring in physics."

Kurt Meyer Physics Scholarship

Established in 2002 by alumnus Kurt Meyer (B.S. 1988; M.S. 1991 in Astronautics through an off-campus GWU program at NASA-Langley; and Ph.D. 1997 from U. of Colorado) to assist deserving physics students. Recipients of the scholarship are highly qualified academically, are of good moral character, show promise in multiple fields, and preference shall be given for those with double majors, especially in physics and math.

Physics and Astronomy Alumni Scholarships

Established in the fall of 1984 by Anthony F. Starace, Department Chair, as an endowment with funds donated by numerous alumni and department staff. Annual department fund-raising drives continually augment the endowment principal. Preference for these scholarships is for entering freshman physics and astronomy majors.

Joel Stebbins Fund Scholarship

Established in 1968 by the estate of Millicent Stebbins in memory of her brother. This scholarship is preferentially "for the purpose of assisting deserving students of UNL specializing in astronomy or mathematics."

Elbridge and Mary Stowell Scholarship Fund

Established in 1999 by the estate of Elbridge (M.S. 1923) and Mary Stowell, to assist deserving physics students.

National Fellowships

There are many national and international scholarships, awards, and fellowships available to which students may apply. The following scholarships are examples of suitable awards for physics majors. To learn about these and other opportunities, visit the Office of Nationally Competitive Fellowships.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater scholarships are for sophomores and juniors studying and planning a research career in mathematics, natural sciences, or engineering. Sophomore scholarship recipients receive $14,000 (over 2 years) and junior scholarship recipients receive $7,000 (for one year only) towards expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Students who are primarily interested in attending medical school should not apply. This scholarship requires an institutional nomination. Campus Deadline: Nov. 30. National Deadline: early February.

US Department of Homeland Security Health & Science Scholarships

A number of scholarships are intended for undergraduates pursuing degrees in homeland security-related courses of study. "These programs are designed to provide students with comprehensive, experimental, hands-on training in areas that support the mission and goals of the Department." Please see the link above for more details.

Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program

SMART scholarships were established by the Department of Defense to support students studying STEM disciplines with the aim to increase civilian scientists working in DOD labs. The SMART Scholarship provides full funding in exchange for an equal years of service as a civilian employee of the DOD. U.S. citizens in undergraduate or graduate studies are welcome to apply. Details about the award are available on their website.

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States Scholarship

The Churchill Scholarship allows seniors from participating institutions (including the University of Nebraska–Lincoln) to apply for one year of master's study in STEM fields at the University of Cambridge. Available to U.S. citizens, the scholarship provides funding for university fees as well as a living allowance depending on length of stay. Visit the link for more information.

Graduate Students

Many potential funding sources exist for Physics & Astronomy graduate students. Explore them on the Office of Graduate Studies funding page.

The Office of Graduate Studies supports students applying for national fellowships. Students can receive feedback on materials or attend workshops on specific awards. The office also has online resources with general advice and career information as well as a blog focusing on professional and career development. For more information or to sign up for sessions, visit the Consultation Services page.

National Fellowships

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation awards graduate fellowships to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents for study and research in STEM fields leading to master's or doctoral degrees. The GRFP funds three years of study, available over five years. Senior undergraduates and first-year master's students are welcome to apply. The program emphasizes research and the student's potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Please see the link above for more details.

National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship

NDSEG fellowships fund studies leading to a doctoral degree in disciplines closely related to areas of DOD interest. U.S. Citizens in their senior year of undergrad or first-year master's students are welcome to apply. The NDSEG does not have a service requirement. The length of funding is up to three years. Please see the link above for more details.