Application FAQs

Application Frequently Asked Questions

Can you provide feedback about why my application has not been selected for the NDSEG Fellowship?

Systems Plus is unable to provide any direct feedback regarding specific applications and why they may not have been selected as NDSEG Fellows.

Our Program Office understands that it is important for applicants to have insight into any areas of potential improvement for future applications to the NDSEG. Below is a list of common situations that should be carefully reviewed by each applicant for future submissions. As noted on our website, if for any reason an application does not contain all of the required elements, it will not be reviewed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the completeness of their application.

  • The applicant’s proposal exceeded the required guideline of 3 pages of proposal with 1 page reserved for citations.
  • The applicant did not provide a valid BAA, or selected a BAA outside the scope of NDSEG
  • The applicant exceeded the guidelines for the personal statement (maximum 500 words)
  • The applicant submitted alternative format documents; the application required PDF documents only
  • The applicant supplied altered, modified, or redacted documents; all documents submitted should be unobscured in any way.
  • The applicant submitted a transcript that was not considered to be official. All documents submitted should be official PDFs from the institutions, from the transcript clearinghouse, or unaltered photographic copies in PDF form.
  • The applicant submitted a GRE score document that was missing pages, or was obscured/redacted.
  • The applicant submitted an incorrect document in place of a required document (ex. submitting a thesis paper in place of a resume, or submitting ACT scores in place of GRE).

Our Program Office receives only the final selections by the DoD Selection Panels.

It is important to note that this is a highly competitive program with thousands of applicants and a limited number of awards that can be made by the DoD each year. Therefore, applicants should not assume that there was something necessarily wrong with the application that prevented them from being selected.

We encourage those not selected this year to please apply again if you meet the edibility requirements of the program.

Do I need to submit official transcripts, or can I submit my unofficial transcripts in their place?

The Department of Defense requires scanned/photographed copies of the official transcripts. Official transcripts typically contain a raised/embossed seal and a signature from a member of the University staff. Unofficial transcripts do not.

Due to COVID-19, my school doesn’t require the GRE. Do I still need it to apply for the NDSEG Fellowship?

GRE scores are no longer required for an application.

You can select ‘GRE was not required’ on the webform.

Write a letter in your favorite word processor indicating that GRE scores are not required, save it to PDF, and upload that in place of your scores.

I don’t have access to my GRE scores because they’re more than 5 years old. Can I have an exemption?

If any of these conditions are true, you can upload a letter explaining it in place of the GRE scores. Official letterhead is not required.
* you have not taken the GRE but plan to in the near future
* your school did not require the GRE for admission
* you took the GRE more than 5 years ago and your scores are not available

Otherwise, please provide the official, UNMODIFIED PDF you receive from ETS. No redaction is permitted on any transcript or GRE score report. Visit for more information.

What are the requirements for the proposal? Do I have to follow the requirements of the BAA?

Visit for more information about the application and proposal.

You are NOT required to fulfill any of the requirements put forth by the BAA. You are only using the BAA to determine what interests the Department of Defense has with regards to scientific research.

Also, if there isn’t a requirement explicitly stated on the website linked above, it is left entirely to the applicant

Can I reach out to any DoD personnel to ask questions about BAAs, review my proposal, or learn about the decision/selection status?

Absolutely not. Do *not* reach out to any member of the Department of Defense unless they reach out to you first. This includes not reaching out to email addresses you receive from various forms of social media, including GradCafe and Facebook. They are not going to be able to answer your BAA questions, they will not review your proposal, and they will not provide you any information that has not already been provided to NDSEG Program Office, administered by Systems Plus, Inc..

Your sole point of contact aside from your research & academic advisors is Be sure to address any and all questions to to ensure that you get an answer in a timely manner. Directly emailing a member of the NDSEG staff may not get answered quickly. Your email to will receive a response, typically the same day or the next business day.

I can’t find the BAA number or title—help!

The BAA is often referred to as the ‘Funding Opportunity Number’ in the BAA, and you will typically find that referenced on the first page of the PDF version of the BAA.

As an example, the Air Force is currently seeking research on Remote Sensing research. The Air Force issued BAA number FA9550-19-S-0003, and the title you would use can be found on the ‘Packages’ tab at the top of the website the AFOSR BAA is linked to. It is a combination of the Competition ID and Competition Title, so it would look like this: “RTB 1-8—Remote Sensing”.

The Army uses a slightly different format for the BAA number. The ARO’s BAA number is ‘W81XWH18SBAA1’. You would simply use the title of the section that is appropriate to your research.

I keep getting an error when I try to upload my transcripts/resume/GRE scores. What do I do?

Make certain your file is smaller than ~4MB. The website cannot handle files larger than that. If you are struggling with the file size, please consider obtaining the free mobile application ‘Adobe Scan,’ available on both iOS and Android, which uses your mobile device’s camera to generate a PDF. This application tends to make much smaller files than a standalone scanner or multifunction devices can. You should be able to send it to your email, and then upload it from there to the NDSEG application page.

I am a first-year graduate student at my university, and I don’t have a GPA yet. What do I do?

You can find the answer to this at

I am trying to save a reference change, but it tells me the email is invalid. I’ve confirmed the email address is right, so what am I doing wrong?

Remove any and all spaces from the email address – if there are any spaces before, in the middle of, or after the email address, it will be considered invalid.

Your system keeps telling me my phone number is invalid. I know it isn’t - I use it every day – so what can I do?

The required format is printed directly to the left of each field requiring a phone number. It is ‘###-###-####’. The dashes are required; leave out the quotes (‘’).

I can’t access the 'Applicant Statement' or 'Disclosure & Release Statement' pages to submit my application. What’s missing?

All of the other sections of your application, including the references, must be completed before those two tabs will become available.

Please follow these steps to verify completion readiness:

  1. Log into the NDSEG application as normal at
  2. As soon as the page finishes loading, click the green ‘Sign Out’ button on the black menu bar at the top
  3. Log back into the NDSEG application as normal
  4. Make sure that every link on the left side of the Applicant Dashboard (where you land when you log in) has the phrase “[Saved/Complete]” shown immediately after it
    • Any link that only says “[Saved]” (without “/Complete”) is NOT COMPLETE. The ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ tabs will not be available until you complete ALL OTHER INFORMATION.
  5. Check the status of your references.
    • If any are showing “Email Sent” but your reference says they did not receive the email, please press the green ‘Save’ button on that reference FIRST, and wait for the page to reload completely, before clicking ‘Send Email.’ You absolutely MUST press the green ‘Save’ button before sending the email!
    • If all are showing “Reference Status: Complete”, they are done, and assuming you’ve ensured that everything else says “[Saved/Complete]”, the last two tabs should be available.

My reference is telling me they haven’t received the email requesting a reference. What can I do?

First, make sure you’re clicking the green ‘Save’ button when making any changes to the reference request pages. If you don’t click ‘Save’ first, no email will be generated to the reference.

Wait for the page to finish loading completely after you’ve pressed the ‘Save’ button. If the page doesn’t generate an error (a red box with text in it), you will then be able to press the ‘Send Email’ button, which should generate an email to you *and* to your reference. The email to you is simply a confirmation that the email to your reference was sent successfully.