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NSF Proposal Writing

Self-Paced Online Course
Next Session Starts Dec 11
Available 24 hours

This course requires about 40 total hours to complete. It is self-paced, has open enrollment, and can be accessed for 60 days.

Our National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposal Writing Online Course consists of four modules. We designed the course for beginners who want to understand how to write a winning research proposal; however, advanced grant writers who want to jump start or wrap up a grant proposal will find the course equally beneficial. Navigating the NSF website, critical resources and search engines, and finding the right funding for your ideas are topics covered. You will also learn how to write proposals that win NSF grants, comprehend the review process, and dissect a full NSF proposal. For the experienced grant writer, each of the modules will serve as a refresher toward the development of your full proposal and provide updated techniques and information.

The materials include a proposal writing text, invaluable resources and links to guides, time and project management tools, and a series of worksheets to guide you on the path to success. The instructor will hold one-on-one sessions, and will take part in chat room sessions. Participants can also post questions or comments in the Message Board forum.

You will learn how to:

  • Find the appropriate program and grant mechanism for your idea
  • Read and interpret RFAs
  • Address the NSF proposal guidelines and merit review criteria
  • Identify and effectively write the key elements of an NSF proposal
  • Integrate each component of the grant into the final product
  • Develop focused and realistic budgets
  • Package a professional grant submission
  • Understand the NSF scoring system and peer review process
  • Use what happens during the review process to your advantage
  • Write winning grants that stand out from the competition

Dr. Mathilda Harris

Dr. Mathilda Harris

Dr. Mathilda Harris (Tillie) is the Executive Director of the Grant Training Center. During the past twenty five years she has written grants, conducted workshops on grant planning, developed strategic plans on grant procurement and assisted individuals and institutions nationally and internationally to successfully write and receive funding from federal, corporate, private, foundation and multi-lateral donors. She has served as a reader and evaluator of grant competitions for the U.S. Department of Education, the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dr. Harris has worked with the private sector in the US and abroad in order to create joint ventures, augment sales in designated markets and create strategic planning to assure commercialization of innovative technology. She has also conducted SBIR/STTR workshops for staff and faculty at institutions such as Brookhaven National Laboratory and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

She holds a doctorate from The George Washington University (Washington, DC), an M.A. from the University of Portland (Portland, Oregon) and a B.S. from the University of California (Berkeley).

Module OneRoadmap for Proposal Writing
Module TwoIntroduction to Research Proposal Writing
Module ThreeWriting the NSF Proposal
Module FourDeveloping Components Other Than the Narrative & the Review Process

Each module contains:

  • An agenda of topics to be discussed
  • Goals, objectives and outcomes
  • Audio/video presentations on key topics
  • Interactive activities to bolster learning checkpoints
  • Optional assignments with instructor feedback


An open forum is available at all times for participants to ask questions and submit commentary throughout the course. We urge everyone to contribute for a healthy discussion environment, and questions directed at the instructor.

Preparing for the Online Course

Begin thinking of a project you want to develop or considering the specifics of your current project. Having a specific project in mind will help you to understand the various proposal components presented. Begin thinking of donors who could fund your project, such as a foundation, state or federal agency, corporation, and/or individuals.

Consider how you would answer the following questions:

  1. Why do I need the money?
  2. Why is my idea worthy of funding?
  3. How much money will I need?
  4. What is the time period of my grant?

What You Will Need

  • REQUIRED: Computer/Tablet - PC, Mac, iOS, Android, or Windows Mobile
  • REQUIRED: Internet connection

Click on your question below to see the answer. If this page does not answer your question, feel free to contact us.

General Questions:

Q. When should I register?
Q. How can I tell if a training session is full?
Q. When do I get information about the training I registered for?
Q. Will I receive additional assistance after the class?
Q. How can I network with the other participants?
Q. Can two of us use the online training together?
Q. Can I record/receive a recording of this training?
Q. Does the Grant Training Center offer courses with partner institutions?
Q. Can I share the materials I get with friends and colleagues?
Q. Do I have access to the GTC Foundation/Federal Database?
Q. Can I obtain a full transcript of the course presentation?

Payment Questions:

Q. Do I need to pay when I register?
Q. What types of payments do you accept?
Q. Is U.S. currency the only type accepted?

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Refund/Retake: Once course registration has been processed, refunds cannot be issued. Students may choose to access the curriculum at a later date, upon request. If the course is not completed within the allotted time frame, an extension can be granted for a re-enrollment fee of 50% of the original course fee. In certain situations, such as illness or family emergency, this fee may be waived pending official proof of such circumstances.

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Additional Services

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Group Registration

TOTAL: $495.00