Amherst Internal Deadline: JANUARY 10, 2022 - NOON

Before you start, read this Goldwater Overview.
See Application Advice for general tips on fellowship applications, advice about seeking recommendations, and examples of essays by winning candidates and finalists.

Application Components

The Goldwater online application opens on the first Tuesday after Labor Day. It includes questions about biographical information, short essays in which you describe your aspirations and goals, descriptions of research you have undertaken, a research essay, transcript(s), and three letters of recommendation from faculty or research supervisors in STEM fields only. To start an application, register in the Goldwater online portal. To move forward with the application, the Director of Fellowships must approve it. Contact her to make an appointment to discuss your candidacy. After your application is approved, the rest of the application will open to you.

Information you will enter

Career Aspirations Q&A 

If character limits in the application portal have changed, comply with those.

  1. In one or two sentences, describe your career goals (200 character limit) Example: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. Conduct research in biomedical science and teach at the university level.
  2. Describe more fully your career goals and professional aspirations. Indicate which area(s) of mathematics, science or engineering you are considering pursuing in your research career and specify how your current academic program and your overall educational plans will assist you in achieving your career goals and profession aspirations (3000 characters)
  3. Describe an activity or experience that has been important in helping shape or reinforce your motivation for a career in science or mathematics. (1500 characters, including spaces)
  4. What is the highest degree you plan to obtain? (Ex: B.A., M.S. PhD, MD/PhD). If you are planning to attain a combined M.D./Ph.D. or D.V.M./Ph.D. degree, why is a medical professional degree or veterinary degree necessary for you to achieve your research goals? (2,000 character limit)
  5. (Optional. Answering this question will depend on your personal experience.) Goldwater Scholars will be representative of the diverse economic, ethnic, racial and occupational backgrounds of families in the United States. Describe any socioeconomic impacts you have personally experienced that influenced your education - either positively or negatively - and how you dealt with them. (1500 characters, including spaces)

Research Project Summaries - In reverse chronological order (from most to least recent), list up to five (5) research projects that involve experimental design, data analysis, result presentation, publication, etc. in your field. Tell where and when the research occurred. Describe the purpose of your research in up to 1,000 characters. Apart from the character limit, indicate whether any publications, posters, or presentations resulted from your research.

Research Skills - List and describe up to five acquired research skills (300 character max for each) to show the skills you have gained through research projects, courses, or other life experiences. You may include general lab skills such as molecular cloning, gel electrophoresis, centrifugation techniques, spectrophotometry, dissection, and so on; data analysis or other quantitative skills; and also science communication skills such as science writing and presenting.

Research Essay - In this essay you have the opportunity to demonstrate (not simply claim) that you have the appropriate background, experience, skills, temperament, and interest to pursue a long-term career in research. The strongest Research Essays are based on a prior research project. Your essay should include a description of an issue or problem, a discussion of the research methodology, and discussion of your findings. When writing an essay on a past research experience, it is important that you clearly state what YOUR contributions to the project were and indicate what specific skills/expertise you developed.  To demonstrate that you "think like a scientist," you might, as an example, describe future work your data suggests or work that still needs to be done to complete the current project. If you have not been involved in a research project, you can develop your Research Essay on a "proposed" research project.  In this case, you will want to put forward a possible research problem, discuss an idea for a research project that could have a significant impact on the issue or problem, describe the methodology that you would use and discuss anticipated results. Research Essays should be written with the understanding that Goldwater reviewers are experienced science reviewers, but may not necessarily be experts in the applicant's specific research area. Reviewers will be grouped according to the “Field of Study” choices the students have in the Current College/University section of their on-line application - Chemistry, CISE, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Medicine, Physics and Astronomy and Psychology.  Applications will NOT be reviewed by the Areas of Specialization listed under each of the major disciplinary areas.

Formatting Guidelines: Research Essays should be single spaced and use 12 point Arial font. Margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Page length, including bibliographic information and references, must not exceed 3 pages. The essay must include your name and the name of your academic institution in the header (within the 1-inch margin) at the top of each page. The Research Essay may be formatted in either one or two columns on a page. As appropriate, utilize graphs, tables, and figures in the essay to explain or clarify results. Figure and caption options may use 10 point Arial font. If mathematical equations are used in your Research Essay, LaTeX or other document preparation software may be used to properly format the equations. Research Essays should be saved as a PDF file. Although the upload site accepts JPG and PNG file formats, PDF files are preferred.

Documents you request

Recommendations - you will enter the names of three recommenders, including names, titles, institutions, and email contact information in the online portal.  Select individuals who can comment on your ability, interest and experience in conducting research. You may ask only STEM faculty members and/or those who have supervised summer research.  Ask recommenders to read the Content and Format guidelines for letters on our Goldwater Overview webage. Please ask your recommenders to send either scanned pdfs of their letters via email (preferred) or hard copies to Christine Overstreet and by JAN 10, 2022, NOON. Either version should appear on institutional letterhead and signed. Hard copies may be sent to the address below.

Transcripts - You are not responsible for uploading the transcript to the portal for the internal application review. The Office of Fellowships will upload an unofficial version of your transcript by Jan 10th. If you are nominated by the faculty committee, you will need to request from the Registrar's office that a paper copy of your transcript be sent to Christine Overstreet in Converse Hall 212. Do not order a transcript through Parchment. If you received undergraduate credit from any other institution - whether study abroad, community college, or other - send Christine a pdf of either an official or unofficial transcript (not password protected or electronically authenticated) via email. College courses taken during high school are not included in this category.      

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536,   
Eric Myers, Associate Director, Fellowships                               
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, 212 Converse Hall, Amherst, MA 01002; Fax: 413-542-8555