Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program

What is the DoD SMART Program?

The Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program, funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students.

SMART offers scholarships for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students currently pursuing a degree in one of the 21 STEM disciplines. SMART scholars receive full tuition, annual stipends, and guaranteed employment with the DoD after graduation.


SMART provides the research leaders of tomorrow with not only an education, but a career.

Visit the SMART Program’s website

Apply between August 1st and December 1st

3,783Scholarships Awarded


91%of SMART scholars successfully completed/are on track to complete service commitments

199Sponsoring Facilities

SMART Scholar Benefits

SMART provides scholars with the tools to pursue their STEM education and begin their career in a civilian position with the DoD.

Benefits include:

Full tuition

Annual stipend between $25,000 - $38,000, depending on degree level

Summer internships

Book and health allowance

Experienced mentor

Guaranteed employment at a DoD facility upon degree completion

Two students laughing

SMART STEM Disciplines

The program focuses on students pursuing disciplines that are critical to national security functions of the DoD. The following is a list of SMART’s 21 approved STEM disciplines. These disciplines are general umbrella disciplines—specific applicant majors or fields of study may fall under one or more discipline on this list.

  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Biosciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
  • Computer and Computational Sciences and Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Information Sciences
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Oceanography
  • Operations Research
  • Physics

Meet SMART Scholars

Jennifer Lopez, Ph. D.

“The SMART Program was the catalyst for my research career. It has given me the opportunity to travel, meet new people, learn about new topics, and research areas, build my leadership skills, and confidence in my abilities. I am grateful for the SMART program because without it, I might not have pursued my masters and doctorate due to lack of knowledge and resources.”

Jennifer Lopez, Ph.D.

Jennifer Lopez, Ph.D.

Mathematics, Air Force Institute of Technology, Ph.D. (2019)
Mathematics, San Francisco State University, MA (2010)
Mathematics, University of California, Davis, BS 2007 (through SMART 2005 Cohort)

SMART scholar Jennifer Lopez, Ph.D., decided to take her family’s history of serving their country in a new direction. Jennifer comes from an enlisted family, a legacy she wanted to honor while pursuing her passion for mathematics. SMART provided Jennifer that opportunity when she received one of the first SMART Scholarship awards in 2005 for her bachelor’s degree. Nearly 15 years later, she still serves the Department of Defense at her current facility, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate. Since receiving her SMART Scholarship in 2005, Jennifer has gone on to earn both a master’s and Ph.D. Jennifer’s mentor, Dr. Richard Albanese, showcased how mathematics could be applied to various research to benefit the warfighter. He encouraged her to continue her education and listen to customer. On a daily basis, Jennifer works on collaborative teams, to apply her mathematic skills to analyst needs, by developing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, and designing experiments. Jennifer is also motivated by her role as a mother and says, “I work hard because I know I am a role model to my children. I want to show them that though it might be difficult, they can make their own path through education and make positive changes. Programs like SMART make this possible.”

Meet Additional SMART Scholars

Become a SMART Scholar!

Visit the SMART Program’s website to learn more about eligibility requirements, award cycles, and how you can become a SMART scholar.

A SMART scholar looking at a sample in a lab.