A friend of mine, we'll call her "C", asked my opinion of the grants that she should apply for over the next few years. She's beginning a PhD program this fall. Since this is pretty broad information, I decided to post my advice.
First, read this guidance on writing grant applications:
Second, find out what grants are available through your:
In some cases, you will be competing with fewer applicants to these grants then to those open to graduate students (and in some cases faculty) from every university in America. Be sure to find out if there is an institution at your university that does matching grants! Do not assume that you will hear about this. YOU MUST ASK!
Third, speak with a few faculty ahead of time and ask if they would be willing to look at a few drafts of your proposals.
With that being said, here is a partial list of some of the grants out there for political scientists:
Pre-Dissertation Grants (Apply for these once you know the general topic for the dissertation. I recommend the research be done during the summer of your first or second year, depending on your exam/study schedule, so you would apply during the fall of your first or second year).
- The SSRC's Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship
- Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Grant
- If your work is related to a particular region, check the related studies associations for pre-diss grants.
Dissertation Grants (Apply for most of these during the fall of the year prior to which you would like to do research)
- Fulbright-Hays (Frequently announced with very little turn around time. Prepare your application before the process is even announced. Ask for letters THE DAY that you receive the email saying that the competition has opened)
- Boren Fellowship (not the Boren Scholarship)
- Ford Foundation's Doctoral Award
- Chateaubriand Fellowship
Writing Grants (Apply for these the Fall that you will be in the field)
Early Career Grants (Apply for these according to the rules of the individual grant)