Thanks to grants and the generous donations of alumni, scientists, and friends, FHL is able to offer financial assistance to many students taking courses at the Laboratories.


  • Students who wish to conduct independent research at FHL should view details on our page on research fellowships.
  • Undergraduate students who are interested in participating in mentored research at FHL should refer to the Blinks-REU Summer Internship Program, which offers funding for students to work with scientists as collaborators on research projects.




1. UW Office of Financial Aid – Your First Stop!

All UW students should begin by exploring options through the UW Office of Financial Aid.

2. Mary Gates Endowment (MGE) Scholarship – Spring & Autumn

If you are taking an FHL Research Apprenticeship or Research Experience in Spring or Autumn, you may be eligible for a Mary Gates Endowment (MGE) Scholarship. These scholarships offer UW students up to $3000 for a 15-credit FHL Research Apprenticeship and $1250 for a 6-credit FHL Research Experience.  Note that eligibility criteria, awardee requirements, and the application process are different than for non-FHL Mary Gates scholarships.  And the total award may be reduced depending on how much other financial assistance a student is receiving.

The majority of eligible FHL students who apply for MGE scholarships are awarded them!

Who is eligible to apply for an MGE scholarship?

  • Must be a UW Undergraduate at the time the FHL course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Sufficient course background in introductory science courses
  • For a 15-credit Research Apprenticeship (OCEAN 492), minimum junior standing
  • For a 6-credit FHL Research Experience (FHL 470), minimum sophomore standing

How do I apply?

You must apply through Friday Harbor Labs. If you are eligible for and interested in an MGE scholarship, please notify FHL Student Services:

Application Materials Required – emailed to

  • A copy of your most recent UW transcript (unofficial is fine). Although you submitted your transcript when you applied to FHL, you probably received grades for another quarter since that application.
  • A Personal Statement (ca. 1 page) describing your motivation for participating in the Research Apprenticeship or Research Experience, with a focus on your long-term goals.  Scholarship reviewers are not so interested in the fact that you’ve loved the ocean since you were two years old, but want to know why you want to pursue research and where you hope to go with it in the future. Also, if your GPA is very close to the minimum 3.0 required or your transcript includes particularly low grades for certain courses or quarters, you may want to include a few words of explanation on your statement. Email your statement as a PDF document.
  • Request a Letter of Recommendation from a UW faculty member (preferred) or other college-level instructor, and ask that person to email the letter as a PDF document to; the email subject line should include your last name and FHL academic quarter:

When are MGE scholarship applications due?

Complete MGE applications (including letters of recommendation) are due as noted below. We will consider MGE applications after we’ve made admissions decisions.

  • Spring quarter: February 1st
  • Autumn quarter, priority review & early notification: May 15 (notification in June)
  • Autumn quarter, late review & notification: August 15 (notification in September).

If I am notified that I received an MGE scholarship, what happens next?

See this page of important information for MGE Scholarship Recipients.

3. Other UW Awards

The UW Biology department lists a number of scholarships, including one that offers up to $1,900 to Biology majors taking a course at FHL.

The UW Library Research Award is for UW undergraduates working on a project that involves use of library and other information resources. Multiple $1000 grants available each year. Application deadline in May.



1. FHL Financial Assistance

FHL scholarships are made possible by generous donations from alumni, scientists, and friends of the Laboratories.

Any student facing financial constraints may apply for assistance from Friday Harbor Labs; applicants need not be U.S. citizens, and scholars from Japan may apply to the special funding source available through the Morse Institute. UW STUDENTS will be considered only after they have determined how much financial aid will be available to them from the UW Student Financial Aid Office, and UW students who are eligible for MGE awards (above) will generally not be considered for FHL assistance.

FHL Awards are based on academic merit as well as financial need. Most eligible students who apply for scholarships receive some assistance, with the amount awarded depending not only on student merit and need, but also on the funding available for a particular course. For summer courses, typical awards are $1000 – $3000; for spring and autumn courses, the usual range is $100 – $1000. Because we try to support as many students as possible, we can’t provide full financial aid for anyone. The expectation is that you will contribute to the expenses of taking an FHL course; most applicants use a variety of sources, e.g. personal, departmental, and other.

Who is eligible to apply for an FHL scholarship?

We accept scholarship applications from any student applying to an FHL course except for UW undergraduates who are eligible for a Mary Gates Endowment Scholarship in spring or autumn (see above). 

How do I apply?

Submit your request as part of your application to an FHL course or program; instructions are provided on the application.

When are FHL scholarship applications due?

Materials are due when you submit your application for the course or program. We will consider aid requests after we’ve made admissions decisions.

2. Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship “provides assistance to students to take courses or to carry on research on invertebrates at a marine, freshwater, or terrestrial field station.” It is for advanced undergraduates and first or second year graduate students. The application deadline is typically in early February. Examples of FHL courses that would qualify include Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Comparative Invertebrate Embryology. Follow the link above for application instructions (applications do not go through FHL).

3. Phycological Society of America Fellowships

For graduate students taking courses on algae at a field station. Follow the link above for application instructions (applications do not go through FHL).

4. Other Potential Sources of Assistance

  • Many academic departments at most universities will contribute travel and sometimes partial tuition.
  • Sometimes undergraduate institutions offer alumni fellowships to current graduate students.
  • UC Berkeley has a good list of biology-related funding, some of which could be relevant for students studying at FHL.


Back to Top