Application FAQs

General Application Questions

If I submit my application, will I be able to go back and make changes?

You will not be able to make any changes after submission. It is up to you to start a new application for consideration. However, you should notify our office if you plan to do this, so we validate and evaluate the correct application.

When I enter a phone number, the system returns a validation error. What is the correct format that should be used?

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 (‘’).

How do I redact my CV/Proposal/Essay?

Redaction is defined as no inclusion of any identifying information, such as your or any person(s) names, organization/institution names, or specific details that could tie the application back to you and any institution/organization or person. Failure to follow this guidance will prevent your application from moving forward in the evaluation process. Some recommendations are provided below:

  • Resume/CV: Highly recommend you use the template provided and ensure no identifying information is included.
  • Proposal: Recommend you utilize MS Word black highlighter feature or Adobe redaction feature. However, it is entirely up to you how you will redact your proposal.
  • Essays: When drafting your essay, please ensure you follow the redaction guidance on the page.


I am not enrolled in a graduate program. However, I am applying to enroll in a PhD program in Fall 2024. Am I eligible for the program?

Refer to the Eligibility - NDSEG ( page to determine if you meet the requirements.

I graduated from my Undergraduate this summer and intends to enroll in a PhD in Spring 2024. What should I select under “Current Degree Program” while I am in my gap year?

Enter the most current degree that applies, not your intended program.

Under the Doctoral section, you can enter your PhD program information, as applicable to your situation.

Applicant Information

I am trying to fill out ‘Applicant Info’ page and I am getting following error: “Invalid Graduate Program Year”

Please ensure you use the correct format for the data fields (i.e., year, dates, etc.) using the instructions provided on the page.


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.


What are the requirements for the proposal? Do I have to follow the requirements of the DoD Strategy Documents?

Proposal requirements can be found on the following webpage:
You are NOT required to fulfill any of the requirements put forth by the DoD Strategy Documents. You are only using them as reference to align your research and proposal to DoD strategic and scientific research mission, initiatives, and priorities.

Can I contact any DoD personnel to ask questions about DoD Strategy Documents (formerly Broad Agency Announcements), 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 DOD STRATEGY DOCUMENTS (E.G., BAA/FOA) 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.

Where can I find the DoD Strategy Document (e.g., BAA/FOA) title?

You will find the DoD Strategy Document for each DoD Military Service for your application on the following web page:

The DoD Strategy Document is often referred to as the Funding Opportunity (generally having a title and number), and you will typically find that referenced on the first page of the DoD Strategy Documents.

As an example, the Air Force is currently seeking research on Remote Sensing. The Air Force issued a DoD Strategy Document 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 (Air Force Office of Scientific Research) DoD Strategy Document 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 DoD Strategy Document. You would use the title of the section appropriate to your research.


I am currently filling out the redacted CV template for the NDSEG application. I want to confirm that in the section called "Education & Certifications," are we to provide the name of our undergraduate and graduate institutions?

No. The CV template just shows you where to put your major and degree, but you should not identify the school.


For the essay portion there appears to be two types of questions. Is the second one for a different personal essay or is a list describing personal journey major events meant to be put there instead?

The first box asks to answer the following: What are your short and long-term professional goals? How did these goals develop? How have you already begun to lay the foundation for these goals? How does this fellowship fit into these goals?

The second box is for a different essay that asks for Personal story statement to describe the Fellows personal journey to get where they are today (e.g., 1st to receive PHD, 1st to go to college, worked multiple position while achieving degree, what it took personally to get to where they are, etc…)

Can I include my company name or names of people I worked with in my essays?

Please do not reference your name, organization you worked with, people you worked with or anything that denotes who you are or what company or school you are associated with in your essay.

There is a 500-word requirement for the essays. Does that apply to personal story statement and professional essay combined?

No, the 500-word requirement applies to each essay.


My reference is telling me they have not received the email requesting a reference. What can I do?

Make sure you have the correct email address from your reference. Click the green ‘Save’ button when making any changes to the reference request pages. Once you click ‘Save’ button, a ‘Send Email’ button will appear which will allow you to generate an automated email to your reference.

Wait for the page to finish loading completely after you’ve pressed the ‘Save’ button. If the page does not generate a validation 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.

If you would like to resend the email to your reference, please repeat the above process, click ‘Save’ then click ‘Send Email’.

I am trying to save a reference change, but the system tells me the email is invalid. I’ve confirmed the email address is right. Please advise me on how to save my reference’s email.

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

Can I submit 4 references?

No, the Application can only take 3 references. If you would like to change your reference, simply replace the current reference information you would like to replace and click ‘Save’ and then the ‘Send Email’ button.

Applicant Statement or Disclosure Release Statement

I cannot access the 'Applicant Statement' or 'Disclosure & Release Statement' pages to submit my application. What can I do to access these pages?

The ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ are only accessible if all other areas of your application are complete. Please follow the below steps to verify that your application is has all the required elements to access these pages:

  1. Close out any current NDSEG Log-In sessions and close your browser
  2. Log into the NDSEG application as normal at
  3. On your Applicant Dashboard, make sure that every element of your application on the left side of the page has the phrase “[Saved/Complete]” shown immediately after it.
    • Any link that only says “[Saved]” (without “/Complete”) is NOT COMPLETE and the ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ tabs will not be available until all elements are complete.
    • Please carefully review each element in [Saved] status to ensure you can access the ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ pages

Under the ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ pages, I accidentally clicked "do not agree" and "save". Will I be able to change my response to ‘agree’?

Yes. You will be able to change your response to “agree”. If your application has not been submitted, you can make changes to any application element.

I agreed to the ‘Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ pages but have not submitted my application yet. I would still like to make changes to my application. How can I do this?

Select “do not agree” in both the Applicant Statement’ and ‘Disclosure & Release Statement’ pages and you should be able to go back and make changes. Once your changes are made you can select and save the “agree” option to complete and submit your application.


Are GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores required to apply for the NDSEG Fellowship?

No. GRE scores are no longer required for an application.

I keep getting errors when I try to upload my documents. What do I do?

Make certain your file is smaller than ~4MB and is a PDF file. 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.