Prospective EPP/MSI undergraduate scholars

The NOAA Office of Education 2024 undergraduate scholarships application period is now closed. The 2025 application period will open on September 1, 2024.

Adriana stands on a boat, holding a winch that she designed during the internship.
Adriana Marie Muñoz-Soto, a 2020 EPP/MSI scholar, testing 3D designed and printed components from her internship project in the Henry Stommel Research Vessel at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) during her 2021 summer internship. (Dr. Brennan Phillips)


The NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving institutions (EPP/MSI) Undergraduate Scholarship provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to study a wide range of science, engineering, mathematical, computer, technology and social science disciplines related to NOAA’s mission and objectives. Scholarships are awarded competitively to rising juniors or 4th year students in a 5-year program, who are full time students attending accredited Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) within the United States and U.S. territories.

The scholarship is awarded for two years of undergraduate study in fields related to NOAA’s mission critical sciences. Scholars are required to participate in two internships at approved NOAA offices and sites during the summers prior to their senior year. During the internships portion of the award, the scholar is provided opportunities for hands-on research at participating NOAA facilities. Scholars receive financial assistance for two academic years, a bi-weekly stipend and housing allowance during summer internships.

Noah stands on a wooden pier holding an approximately 2 foot long fish on an overcast day.
Noah Jenkins, a 2020 EPP/MSI scholar and former Hollings Prep Program scholar holds a lingcod. Lingcod are one of the fish species that Noah researched while interning with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in the summer of 2020 as an EPP/MSI scholar. (Courtesy of Noah Jenkins)

Program objectives

The NOAA EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program (USP) is designed to meet the following objectives.

  1.  To enhance the pipeline of high quality, diverse students in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology for the future U.S. workforce. The program accepts applications from students attending Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, throughout the United States and U.S. territories.
  2. To provide opportunities for scholars to: become familiar with NOAA’s mission offices, labs and sites; become familiar with NOAA scientific and technological programs; and, continue their education in NOAA mission-related fields of study.


The EPP/MSI scholar receives:

  • An EPP/MSI USP scholarship of up to $45,000 is awarded to successful scholars. The award includes housing allowances, internship stipends for two experiences, allowable travel expenses over the two years of the appointment and costs associated with attendance at Program-approved conferences or workshops.
  • Financial assistance during 9-month academic year to support college costs.
  • A bi-weekly stipend and housing allowance during the summer internships. The budget includes a $700 per week stipend for the summer internship, a housing allowance of $300 per week, and round trip transportation to the internship site.


An applicant for the EPP/MSI USP must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
  • be enrolled full-time at an accredited MSI within the United States or U.S. territory. What is an MSI?
  • be majoring in a field of study related to NOAA's missions and goals.
  • have and maintain at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average per academic term on a 4.0 scale in all completed undergraduate courses and in their major field of study. Current community college students may apply if accepted and will transfer to a 4-year institution in the fall term following the application period, and will have sufficient credit hours transferred to qualify for junior class academic status.

Important resources

Informational webinar: Applying to the EPP/MSI and Hollings undergraduate scholarships

This webinar was recorded during the 2022-2023 application period. Some eligibility and application requirements have slightly changed since the recording of this webinar. Please be sure to review the updated eligibility criteria and required application materials on the EPP/MSI prospective scholar FAQ page.

An informational webinar about the Ernest F. Hollings and José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) undergraduate scholarship programs.

Program description

Academic Year: Appointment as an EPP/MSI scholar involves full-time study during the 9-month academic year, an eleven (11) week internship during the first summer at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD and, if reappointed, full-time study during a second 9-month academic year and a second 10 week summer internship.

Internship: The internship provides “hands-on” research experiences involving scholars and a NOAA mentor. Scholars select internship opportunities at NOAA host facility and are given a specific assignment which is conducted under a mentor appointed. The EPP/MSI scholar must be in residence at the approved NOAA facility for the duration of the summer internship.

The internship must be conducted in a manner, and according to, a time schedule that meets the overall requirements of the internship sponsor. The interns are expected to be at the host facility during normal working hours and at all times observe and conform to all applicable rules, regulations, and requirements of the facility including, but not limited to, those respecting environment, safety, and health (ES&H) and ES&H training requirements, security, operating and health physics procedures, drug free workplace notification requirements, and conduct.

Interns are not considered to be performing a job or doing work, rendering advisory or personal services, or providing expert advice. There is no commitment to future employment by the host organization. The interns participate in the sponsor's programs primarily for the internship experience and educational benefits they derive.

During the internship, scholars do not earn sick leave or annual leave time; although, the host facility may permit occasional absences without reduction of the stipend payment or termination of the appointment. Stipends are reported to the Internal Revenue Service as scholarship awards and no Federal income taxes are withheld.

Appointment Period: Appointments will be for one year (the 9-month academic term and summer internship) and renewable for one year based on satisfactory progress toward degree completion, continuing coursework in a major field of study related to NOAA objectives, maintaining a cumulative 3.2 GPA per academic term and in their major field. Internship appointments are subject to the availability of funds and student performance, and may be terminated if conditions of the appointment are not met.

Students selected for the EPP/MSI scholarship awards are required to maintain communication with NOAA and the NOAA support contractor during the academic year and during the summer internship. These requirements help ensure that participants are engaged in full time academic training and are meeting all program requirements.

Application Procedure: A student interested in the EPP/MSI USP is required to submit an application using the NOAA Office of Education online web-based application. The completed application and supporting materials, including required references, must be submitted directly through the online system.

Completed applications are received, processed, and reviewed for eligibility and completeness. Applications of all eligible candidates are reviewed and evaluated through a merit review process which includes NOAA scientists and managers experienced in the areas of study related to NOAA’s mission.

Conditions and Obligations of Awardees: All contingencies of an appointment offer must be met before a scholar may begin a NOAA Scholarship appointment. Participants will also be required to show proof of health/medical insurance for the duration of the scholarship period.

What is an MSI?

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) as defined by the U.S. Department of Education include: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (AANH); Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI); Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI); Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU); Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI); Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI); and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU).