We strongly recommend that applicants complete the essay questions using a word processor (to check spelling and grammar), and then copy and paste the essays into the appropriate text boxes provided in the application.
Applicants should review the descriptions of the DOE Office of Science research programs before beginning writing the essays. It is highly recommended that applicants read the Merit Review Criteria that will be used to evaluate the applications. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient details are provided in the application (including the essays) to address the Merit Review Criteria.
In addition to the application questions, three essays are required:
Essay 1: Personal Statement
Essay 2: Proposed Plan of Research
Essay 3: Relevance of Proposed Plan of Research to the DOE Office of Science Mission Areas
Essay 1: Personal Statement (1000 word limit)
Your personal statement should be a concise, well-written essay describing your academic studies and other relevant experiences in science, engineering, or mathematics and how these experiences have prepared you to pursue graduate study and research in the field you have chosen. The statement should include any notable coursework, research activities, participation in local, regional, or national scientific professional societies, and work experience. Your statement should also provide information illustrating your ability to work independently as well as in teams, and demonstrating leadership or involvement in scientific and technical activities.
In describing the scientific research activities in which you have participated—whether through undergraduate research, a research internship, or other academic or job-related research—provide an account of the purpose of the research, the nature of your contributions, and what knowledge and skills you acquired as a result. If you have not had research experience, describe any activities (courses, job-related work, etc.) you believe have prepared you for graduate research.
State your broad career goals. Describe how graduate study and research in the field you have chosen contributes to your broader career goals; how the DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship will enable you to achieve your goals; and how those goals contribute to the mission of the DOE Office of Science.
Essay 2: Proposed Plan of Research (1200 word limit)
In a clear, concise, and original statement, describe a complete plan for a research project that you may pursue during the tenure of your fellowship. If you are currently pursuing a graduate degree in a qualified graduate program, you may choose to describe your thesis research. If you are not currently enrolled in a qualified graduate program or have not determined your thesis/dissertation research topic, describe a complete plan for research on a topic that is of interest to you and is relevant to the course of study you plan to pursue as a graduate student.
In the PLANS FOR GRADUATION EDUCATION section of the application, you should have selected a DOE Office of Science program research area that best reflects your current or planned primary graduate study and research during the fellowship. Your Proposed Plan of Research should be aligned with the mission of your selected DOE Office of Science research program area and, in addition, may be relevant to other program areas.
The proposed plan of research statement should describe how the proposed research is novel or has the potential to make meaningful contributions to the forefront of the research field. The statement should identify the scientific or technical challenges associated with the problem or question, and how the proposed methodology or approach is appropriate.
If your proposed methods include use of any of the DOE Office of Science scientific user facilities, include the name(s) of those facilities.
Use your own words. You may organize your essay as you determine appropriate. If you need to submit equations, figures, or graphs to clearly illustrate key points of your proposed research plan, you may upload a 1-page PDF file that contains only those elements in Essay 2: Supplemental Materials.
- Introduction, including:
- Background that puts the research into context
- Objectives of the proposed research—be specific about the questions your proposed research aims to address
- Significance of the proposed research
- Research Design and Methods, including:
- Known or anticipated challenges
- Expected results or potential discoveries
You will be provided the opportunity to submit literary references and equations, figures, or graphs separately.
If desired to clearly illustrate key points of your proposed research plan, you may upload a 1-page PDF file that contains equations, figures, or graphs.
- You must label or number each equation, figure, or graph and each must be referenced in the body of Essay 2.
- All explanations of the equations, figures, or graphs, must be in the body of Essay 2.
- All equations and labels directly on graphs and figures must be 12pt font or greater.
- Do not include any additional text or captions on the 1-page PDF file.
- Any file greater than 1-page (standard 8.5 X 11 inch equivalent, 1-inch margins) will not be reviewed at all.
ESSAY 3: Relevance of Proposed Plan of Research to the DOE Office of Science Mission Areas (400 Word Limit)
In a short and concise essay describe how your Proposed Plan of Research in Essay 2 is aligned with the mission of the DOE Office of Science research program you selected in Plans for Graduate education section of the application, and how your proposed plan of research will further one or more of that program’s mission priorities.
Note that the DOE Office of Science supports basic research and the development of scientific tools needed to advance basic research to further the U.S. Department of Energy’s goals. The DOE Office of Science does not support development or deployment of particular energy technologies—that is the responsibility of other program offices within DOE.
Review the descriptions of the DOE Office of Science research program areas before you begin this essay. Those descriptions can be found here.