By Samir Naqvi – Oct. 29, 2018
The Department of Defense, through its Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship program, awards full-tuition scholarships (along with other financial incentives) to qualifying undergraduate- and graduate-level individuals who want to pursue a career in a science, technology, or math-related field.
In exchange for this generous incentive package, scholarship recipients will sign a pledge to dedicate a portion of their early career toward paid civilian service in a Department of Defense (DoD) facility. SMART students may also have the opportunity to participate in paid and unpaid student internships with the DoD, and in many cases, success at an internship may evolve into a lucrative post-graduation job offer.
This mutually beneficial arrangement provides STEM students with the incredible (and increasingly rare) ability to exit college completely debt-free and head straight into a stable, challenging, and potentially lucrative job with the U.S. government. For the DoD, having a pool of highly-trained and qualified STEM graduates to help implement the future of military and defense technology, cybersecurity, and other high-tech programs is just, well—SMART.
Who Qualifies for the SMART Scholarship?
The SMART Scholarship program selects from among applicants who fit the following criteria:
- A legal citizen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States.
- A person who will be over 18 on or before August 1, 2019.
- A university or college student in good standing, who has a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) when the scholarship award is announced. (In most cases, students whose GPAs fall below 3.0 at the time of application risk rejection.) Undergraduate students who apply for SMART scholarships must be currently enrolled in an accredited U.S.-based secondary school—high school students can’t apply. Graduate students who apply for SMART scholarships can apply after admission and before enrollment but must have GRE scores available for the DoD scholarship committee’s review.
- A student who plans to obtain a degree in one of the 21 approved SMART STEM programs. Approved programs include most types of engineering (including aeronautical, astronautical, biomedical, civil, chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and nuclear engineering); biosciences, environmental sciences, geosciences, and information sciences; and mathematics, oceanography, and physics.
SMART Scholarship recipients must also agree that they’re able and willing to serve in a summer internship at the DoD (which can be just about anywhere in the country) and pledge to work for the DoD upon their graduation.
The application period for SMART scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year will close at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Dec. 1, 2018. If you’re pursuing a degree in one of these fields, it can pay to learn more about the various initiatives the DoD has to offer students who are passionate about STEM subjects.