About Us

NSF Noyce FAQs

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is an act of the US Congress originally authorized in 2002 and subsequently reauthorized in 2007 and 2010. The goal of the scholarship is to meet the critical need for K–12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by encouraging talented STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary schools.

Robert Noyce was the coinventor of the integrated circuit and went on to oversee development of the very first microprocessors at Intel, a company he cofounded. Mr. Noyce died in 1990, but his legacy lives on. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program falls under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The term “high-need, local educational agency” is defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as a school district that has at least one school in which 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, 34 percent or more teachers are not licensed or certified or teach out-of-field, or there is a 15 percent or higher attrition rate for teachers within the last three years.


A career changer is a student who majored in a STEM subject as an undergraduate and is returning to the University to earn a master’s degree and certification in teacher education. This student may have worked in a profession for a period of time and decided to return to the University to become a STEM teacher, or decided to enter a teacher education program upon graduating with a baccalaureate.

NSF has differentiated between these terms to indicate whether a selected STEM student is in an undergraduate/graduate five-year program or a graduate STEM career changer. The recipient who majored in a STEM subject and has subsequently entered a five-year program is designated as a Noyce Scholar. The STEM career changer recipient who returns to St. John’s University for a degree in education is designated as a Noyce Stipend Recipient.

Typically, a STEM major who completes a baccalaureate and then decides to become a STEM teacher would complete four years of undergraduate education and then apply for entrance to a teacher education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which would usually take about two to three years. The five-year STEM/Education Pathway program allows you to complete the baccalaureate and begin taking graduate education courses in your senior year. You then can complete your master’s degree in education and become a certified STEM teacher at the end of the fifth year. So, in essence, rather than taking up to seven years, each of the eight STEM pathway programs which grants students both the B.S. (or B.A.) and M.S.Ed must be completed in five years.

St. John’s University Noyce Scholars and Stipend Recipients are selected based on a competitive application process. This process addresses your interest in teaching secondary and elementary education in a STEM area and within a high-need school.

Noyce Scholar applicants are initially asked to complete an application that, if accepted, allows them to participate in a five-year Pathway program in which they complete a STEM major for their baccalaureate and teacher education for their master’s degree. Upon acceptance to the five-year Pathway, you need to complete the following in order:

  1. An online intake survey. Within a short period of time, you will be notified to continue to the Noyce application.
  2. The Noyce application consists of three parts. First, you are required to write and upload an essay about your educational experiences and what you hope to achieve as a St. John’s University Noyce Scholar. You are ranked based on your essay by the Noyce leadership team. Second, you need to upload two academic letters of recommendation. And third, you need to provide a copy of academic transcripts demonstrating a minimum of a 3.2 grade point average and a minimum grade of C in science and mathematics courses.
  3. Selected students participate in a short interview with members of the Noyce leadership team. Scholars are chosen by their combined score on essay, academic and teaching potential, and personal interview.

Noyce Stipend Recipient applicants must complete the same application process. However, they do not need to complete a Pathway program application.

The value of the grant to each student is $36,000. This funding is earmarked for covering your tuition. For undergraduate Noyce Scholars, funding is provided for the fifth year—when you complete your graduate studies in education and student teaching. For graduate career changer stipend recipients, funding is applied to the last 15 credits of the program.

Graduate stipend recipients are required to complete two years of service as a STEM teacher in a high-need local educational agency. This teaching commitment must be completed within four years after graduation from the program for which the stipend was awarded.

Noyce Scholars must be committed to participate in all Noyce Scholar courses, research projects, seminars, workshops, the annual Noyce Spatial Thinking Conference, and other opportunities with a team of Noyce Scholars and faculty as presented upon admission into the Noyce Scholar unit. In addition, upon graduation, Noyce Scholars will fulfill two years of full-time employment in a high-needs school district for every one year of Noyce funding received. Since the scholarship supports students for up to three years, this means a maximum commitment of six years in teaching. Scholars have eight years to fulfill the commitment. If the teaching requirement is unmet, participants will be required to repay the amount of NSF Noyce Support received plus any applicable interest.

For each full year of an undergraduate scholarship award received, scholarship recipients are required to complete a minimum of two years of service as a STEM teacher in a high-need local educational agency (e.g., a school), with a maximum service requirement of six years. This teaching commitment must be completed within eight years after graduation from the program for which the scholarship was awarded.

Upon acceptance of the NSF Noyce award, scholars sign a promissory note committing to teach in high-need school districts for two years for every year of NSF Noyce funding. Scholars have eight years to fulfill their commitment. St. John’s University monitors employment and if the teaching requirement is unmet, the scholarship defaults into a loan and repayment of scholarship funds occurs.

Noyce graduates are part of the national NSF network of Noyce Scholars beyond graduation, even after they get their own classroom. Scholars are invited to stay in contact with Noyce faculty and local school mentors after graduation. Scholars are also invited to share experiences in the classroom with each other and with current scholars. Graduates are a valuable part of the program and are always welcome back for events at St. John’s University.

St. John’s University and the district in which you have student taught work collaboratively to procure a full-time teaching position for you upon certification and graduation. This outcome has much to do with available openings (at the childhood level or STEM openings at the adolescent level); teacher attrition rates; and teacher retirements. While we are unable to guarantee that you will be hired upon graduation, we will, regardless of immediate outcome, provide you with a good deal of support as an alumnus of the St. John’s University Noyce program. In addition, as soon as you procure a position—which hopefully happens upon graduation—you receive at least one year of mentor support from one or more of the faculty at St. John’s University.

We provide funding for the following programs: Biology/Adolescent Education; Biology/Childhood Education; Chemistry/Adolescent Education; Chemistry/Childhood Education; Environmental Science/Childhood Education; Mathematics/Adolescent Education;  Mathematics/Childhood Education; and Physics/Childhood Education.

Regrettably, no. The NSF and the Noyce Program stipulate that awardees must either be in the process of or have completed a STEM major as an undergraduate student.

Unfortunately, the New York State Education Department does not consider psychology or sociology an area of science or mathematics certification. While several courses in psychology require advanced mathematics and some physics and several statistics courses in sociology, this STEM content does not equate to the content rigor that is needed for a major in these STEM fields.

If you are an undergraduate STEM major and are accepted as a Noyce Scholar, you are required to enroll in three graduate education courses during your senior year (with a B.S. or B.A. degree en route) and a full load of graduate education courses in the fifth year, when the award is funded. So, a spring semester start for the undergraduate STEM major does not apply. If you are a graduate education (career changer) student, you can begin your program at any time as long as you complete your program in May of the spring semester.

No, the St. John’s University Robert Noyce Spatial Thinking Academy is a full-time program. You need to spend an intense amount of time in schools, observing and teaching. In addition, classes are held during the day. You will generally be busy in schools from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. (at the earliest) on weekdays. Then, you need to take some evening classes.

Helpful Links

National and International Organizations

National Science Foundation (NSF). Washington, DC: The NSF is a federally funded entity that supports funds for the Robert N. Noyce Scholarship. It includes the general guidelines that institutions of higher education in the United States need in order to apply for Noyce funding.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Washington, DC: AAAS is a world-renowned organization whose mission is to advance science, engineering, and mathematics knowledge throughout the world. The organization is the largest multidisciplinary society of science in the world. The journal Science is published by AAAS.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The chief purpose of the Robert Noyce Scholarship is to provide funding for STEM majors at United States institutions of higher education who then wish to become teachers in the nation’s high-need school districts.

Other New York City Metropolitan Area NSF Noyce Programs

While we are perhaps the only Noyce program whose emphasis and theme is spatial thinking in STEM, we believe that it is important to collaborate in as many ways possible with nearby Noyce programs. Here are several programs in the New York City metropolitan area—five boroughs, Northeastern New Jersey, and Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Fairfield (CT) Counties—that also have excellent STEM themes within their programs.

Adelphi University, Garden City, NY: New York Noyce STEAM Pipeline Program. This program focuses on situated teaching and learning, as well as the integration of nonformal learning experiences in science.

City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, NY: Noyce Science Scholars Program. The program provides scholarships for up to three years to support Hunter College students majoring in biology, chemistry, geology/environmental studies, or physics who wish to enter the STEM teaching profession. A common theme is robotics.

City University of New York, Lehman College, Bronx, NY: Focus-On-STEM Scholarship Program. This program is a master’s degree-level program that prepares STEM graduates to teach a wide array of STEM disciplines, which include anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, economics and business, earth, environmental, and geospatial sciences, mathematics and computer science, physics, and astronomy.

City University of New York, New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY: Enhanced Noyce Explorer, Scholar, and Teacher Development for High-Need Schools in New York City. This program supports teachers with backgrounds in architectural technology, biological sciences, chemistry, computer engineering technology, computer systems technology, construction management and civil engineering technology, electrical and telecommunications engineering technology, environment control technology, mathematics, mechanical engineering technology, and physics.

City University of New York, Queens College, Queens, NY: Noyce SciTech Teacher Scholarship Program. Queens College CUNY, in collaboration with the New York Hall of Science, prepares students for secondary science certification in biology, chemistry, geology (earth science), and physics.

City University of New York, College of Staten Island, Staten Island, NY: Noyce Teacher Academy. This program focuses on preparation of mathematics teachers throughout K–12.

Columbia University, Barnard College/Teachers College, New York, NY: Barnard Noyce Teacher Scholars Program. The program accommodates STEM majors at Barnard College or Columbia University to become mathematics or science teachers.

Fordham University, New York & Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society Scholarship. Fordham University has linked with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo to provide scholarships to students majoring in one of the science disciplines.

Long Island University Post, Brookville, NY: Mathematics and Teacher Education Scholarship Program. This program is designed to prepare mathematics majors for careers in teacher education. Some themes of the program include problem solving and mathematical mindsets.

Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY: Mercy College Intensive STEM Teacher Initiative (MISTI). MISTI prepares new science and mathematics teachers with course work that supports the integration of engineering and technology.

Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ:Science Teacher Scholarship Program. The aim of this program is to prepare and support new science teachers from K–12.

Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher. This scholarship prepares elementary (K–6) mathematics teachers in high-need schools in northeastern New Jersey.

Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science Educator Scholarship Program (BioChemMaCS). The aim of this program is to increase the number of STEM educators who graduate from Sacred Heart University and increase the effectiveness of STEM teachers in high-need districts in Bridgeport, CT.

Videos and Recordings

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Learning in STEM is challenging for many students. It requires being able to visualize and manipulate complex spatial information, which can be difficult for students with low spatial thinking skills. Multimedia and technology offer great potential to support the learning of spatial concepts because they can provide external support for building accurate mental models. The goal of this workshop is to highlight several instructional tools or techniques that can be used to support STEM learning, and discuss how and why these tools are effective. This workshop will help educators identify spatially demanding content in their courses and think about how various instructional tools may be applied to support the learning of these concepts. Attendees will participate in group discussions and exercises geared towards adapting their instruction and learning activities to better support students with varying levels of spatial thinking skills. 


Dr. Allison Jaeger, Assistant Professor. Department of Psychology, St. John's University

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Do students learn about DNA more successfully when they look at 2-dimensional computer screens or when they manipulate a hands-on, physical model? That is precisely the question Drs. Salvatore Garofalo and Stephen Farenga will be discussing in their upcoming Workshop on how spatial ability enables conceptual understanding in STEM. In this event, they will system and will discuss the implantation of a composite assessment and its advantages in measuring participants’ systemic thinking and modeling of the DNA structure and function.


Salvatore G. Garofalo

Lecturer of Science & Technology Education, City University of New York, Queens College

Stephen J. Farenga

Professor of Science Education, City University of New York, Queens College