Where are the Best Physics Scholarships?
Physics, that branch of science devoted to the study of matter and energy, and the relationships between them, attracts a limited number of devoted students every year. It is a broad, and demanding field, and only a few students will pursue their studies through to the graduate and post-graduate level. But the current national push to encourage, and develop, new talent in high demand areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics has led to an abundance of scholarship opportunities for those students with the drive to pursue a career in physics.
Minority Scholarships for Physics Students
The STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are currently designated as critical need fields of study. Qualified professionals in these disciplines are in short supply, and high demand, across the whole of the country. Minorities and women, long under-represented in these fields, can take advantage of a host of scholarship programs designed to diversify and expand the student body, and the professional workforce, in these much needed disciplines.
Minorities and women pursuing physics at the collegiate level, will find a large number of scholarship programs designed to encourage and develop their interest in the physical sciences. These programs are sponsored by universities, Federal and local governments and private industry. If you are a minority student searching for a scholarship to help you pursue your physics studies, look for those programs dedicated to the advancement of minorities and women in all fields of scientific research.
Some notable examples of scholarship programs dedicated to the needs of minority students include:
- The U.S. Department of Energy sponsors the Minority Educational Institution Student Partnership Program. This program provides for a series of paid summer internships designed to give minority physics students an advantage when it comes to planning their career strategy. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for this ten week program, and participants will work along side leading scientists and professionals as they prepare for a potential career with the Federal government.
- NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sponsors the Federally funded Educational Partnership Program. This program provides scholarships for minority students studying Physics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, sponsors a large number of lucrative scholarships for minority students pursuing their studies in any one of the high need STEM disciplines. More than 1000 scholarships are awarded annually, ranging from partial to full tuition scholarships.
- The American Indian Science and Engineering Society offers scholarships and internships specifically dedicated to Native American students pursuing their studies in one of the STEM related fields. These programs are open to undergraduate and graduate students who can meet the required Native American heritage standards.
Government Scholarships for Physics Students
Both the Federal government, and local state governments, provide scholarship opportunities for students pursuing careers in one of the high need STEM disciplines. In addition to those programs targeting women and minority students, the government supports general financial aid programs for all students interested in science, technology and mathematics.
Some examples of the scholarship opportunities you will find sponsored by Federal and state governments, as well as their affiliated organizations include:
- NASA maintains a massive list of funding opportunities for students in various related fields of study and research, including Physics. Provisions are made for paid internships and scholarships for undergraduate students, as well as an impressive fellowship program for graduate and post-graduate students.
- The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to outstanding students enrolled in college science and mathematics programs. The programs aim is to increase the number of students pursuing these career pathways.
- The U.S. Department of Energy sponsors a number of scholarship and internship programs for students pursuing their studies in high energy physics. Programs include the STEP Internship and the DOE Scholars Program.
Private and Professional Sources
Private sources, specifically professional associations and industry, are prime sources of scholarship funds for students pursuing their studies in the physics and it's related disciplines. Funding varies greatly amongst these privately sponsored programs, but even the smaller supplemental scholarships can be of great help when trying to cover your college tuition costs. Most professional associations will require student membership in order to take part in any scholarship program.
The following sampling of privately sourced scholarships will give yu a better idea of what to look for in your search for physics scholarships in the private sector.
- The American Physical Society invites African American, Hispanic or Native American high school and undergraduate students to apply for scholarship funds applicable to their college expenses. Awards vary in amount, and all scholarships are decided on the basis of academic merit.
- The American Association of Physics Teachers sponsors the Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Teachers. The program is open to undergraduate students pursuing a career teaching high school level physics. Awards are $2000, and are renewable for up to four years.
College and Universities
Students pursuing a course of studies in Physics, will want to consult their college's financial aid department to investigate the possible scholarship opportunities available. Most universities offer a number of applicable scholarship programs that will benefit physics majors. Each school's programs will be different, and you will want to consult both your financial aid adviser and your science department heads for detailed information on scholarship opportunities for physics majors at your college or university.