Graduate Student Research Grants

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Webinar: GSA Research Grants – Steps to Success
The Chair of the GSA Graduate Student Research Grant Committee and a recent student grant recipient provided tips on how to write a successful grant proposal. The webinar focused on the GSA Graduate Student Research Grant program, but many of the strategies discussed would be beneficial when applying to other grant opportunities, including GSA's Undergraduate Research Grants. Media Sponsors: American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Geoscience Alliance, National Association of Black Geoscientists (NABG). Visit the GSA webinar library to view a recording.

The primary role of the GSA research grants program is to provide partial support of master's and doctoral thesis research in the geological sciences for graduate students enrolled in universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America. In 2023, $676,701 was awarded to 302 graduate students (~57% of the 527 who applied), with an average grant of $2,235.


  • Support graduate student research in the geosciences and ultimately enhance the geoscience workforce.
  • Provide career development opportunity for students by gaining experience with grants writing, project development and research.
  • Increase the diversity of the geosciences through opportunities for students of underrepresented communities to achieve success in research

Specialized Awards: The Committee on Research Grants selects recipients of special awards from applicants to the general research grants program. A student may not apply directly for a specialized grant, however may indicate on the application if he/she would like to be considered for an award. These are generally recognition awards only with no additional funding. However, some specialized awardees may be funded for an amount greater than US$2,500.

GSA invites the full participation of individuals traditionally underserved in the geosciences, which includes but is not limited to individuals who identify as racially and/or ethnically diverse, LGBTIQ+, persons with disabilities, and individuals who experience intersectionality with one or more of these identities.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2323037.


  • Eligibility is restricted to GSA members. How to Join GSA.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in a North American or Central American university or college in an earth science graduate degree program (with a geologic component).
    • Applicants do not need to be a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. Resident Alien.
  • The research focus can be any subject matter within the geological sciences, such as paleontology, karst, geochemistry, stratigraphy, geoscience education, petroleum geology, and more. (See the full list of Subject Matter Categories .)
  • Students may receive a total of two GSA graduate student grants in their entire academic career, regardless of what program currently enrolled in.


  • 2024 application deadline: 1 February, 11:59 p.m. (MST).
  • Results are reported to applicants via email in late May.
  • Grant checks will be mailed sometime in June/July.


Appraisal Forms

  • Appraisal forms are due 8 February, 11:59 PM (MST).
  • One appraisal from the primary advisor is required with each application. Advisors do not have to be members of GSA or come from the same institution as the applicant.
  • The Appraisal Forms must be submitted by the advisors electronically through the online application system  .
  • Applications missing the appraisal form will not be eligible. The applicant is responsible for ensuring their advisor submits the appraisal form.
  • Appraisal Worksheet : Advisors may use this to compose their responses to all appraisal questions.
  • Advisors/appraisers may learn more on the Information for Advisors page.

Progress Report Forms

  • All grant recipients are required to submit a progress report (JotForm) by 1 February of the following year.
  • A copy of the progress report for any previous GSA research grant must be included with a current proposal regardless if one has already been submitted to GSA.


  • For tax purposes, all students chosen to receive a grant will need to provide their Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN), if they have one, or certify that they have no SSN nor TIN. Failure to respond promptly may result in the forfeiture of the grant. (Students who have neither an SSN nor TIN may receive a grant, provided they meet all other eligibility criteria.)
  • The Geological Society of America is required to issue 1099 forms shortly after the end of each calendar year according to rules set by the IRS. Issuance of a 1099 does not necessarily mean the income is taxable to the recipient. You need to make that determination which may require professional advice. GSA cannot offer such advice.
  • 1099 forms are now issued via email. Please make sure GSA has your current email address on file.


Matt Dawson
Geological Society of America
P.O. Box 9140
Boulder, CO 80301-9140
Phone: +1-303-357-1025

Thank you for your interest in our program.

Complete Policies and Procedures (PDF)

Instructions (PDF)

Application Worksheet  (Word format)
Students may use this to compose their responses to all application questions

Writing a Successful Grant Proposal; Essential Tips and Best Practices

Information for Advisors

Progress Report Form (JotForm)
Due by 1 Feb., the year after you receive a grant (a copy must also be included on current application form).

2019 Graduate Student Research Grant Recipients