I've read from past questions and answers on this site, namely an answer by JeffE, that anyone with more than 12 months of full-time graduate study, MS or PhD, is considered too late of an applicant, unless there is a significant change of field.

What if my undergrad degree was not in mathematics, but I have an MS degree in math, and am looking to apply to PhD programs in math? Would my MS degree be considered something equivalent to an undergrad / first degree in math, and thus make my application eligible for a review by the panelists?

3 Answers 3


The NSF revised the eligibility criteria in 2016. As of 2017, the only way you can have previous graduate study of more than a year or have earned a graduate degree and retain eligibility for an NSF graduate fellowship is if you have had a two-year or longer break before November 1 of the year in which you apply.


If you have had 12 months of graduate study, then no, you are not eligible, regardless of your undergraduate degree.

Note: there are some exceptions to this (I think they have some language in there for exceptions), but I wouldn't bet on it.

  • There is an important exception: coming back to studies after an extended period.
    – aeismail
    Sep 12, 2017 at 21:40

Contact your NSF program director. Ultimately it will be up to him or her as to whether your situation is covered, and since there are exceptions and loopholes and ever-changing requirements, it will be best to hear it from the one that counts.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .