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Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program

The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship program aims to recognize, support, and mentor students as they continue their doctoral education in computer science, electrical engineering and mathematics, as well as interdisciplinary studies intersecting with those domains.

This fellowship program is open to PhD students enrolled in their second or third year at universities in the United States and Canada. Students are nominated by their departments and the process is managed by the UC San Diego Graduate Division. 

At a glance:

  • full coverage of tuition and fees, $28,000 stipend for living expenses, and $4,000 for travel and conferences each year
  • two years of support
  • can intern with leading Microsoft researchers working on cutting-edge projects related to the recipient’s field of study.
  • particularly interested in students working on theses related to AI (emphasizing the disciplines of Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Robotics) and Systems & Networking
  • Deadline in September/October

This fellowship is subject to internal deadlines set by the graduate fellowship advisor.

Learn more here:


  • Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Fellows should support this mission and embrace opportunities to foster diverse and inclusive cultures within their communities.
  • PhD students must be nominated by their university, and their nomination must be submitted by the office of the chair of the department.
  • Students must be enrolled at a university in the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
  • Proposed research must be closely related to the general research areas carried out by Microsoft Research as noted in the Research areas tab above.
  • Students must be in their third year of a PhD program in the fall semester or quarter of 2019. The department chair’s office at the nominating university will need to attest that the student is considered a third year PhD student having taken into account transfers, approved leaves of absence, etc.

Nomination/Application Components

Nominations must include:

  • Nominee’s name, email, university, and department
  • Month and year the nominee entered their PhD program and expected graduation date (nominee must currently be in their third year of their PhD program and vetted by the university)
  • Whether or not the nominee self-identifies with an underrepresented group in computing (women, African-Americans/Blacks, Latinos, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities and/or LGBTQ) – one of the three applicants per department must self-identify as such
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae
  • Nominee’s thesis proposal or research statement title
  • One-page summary of their thesis proposal or research statement
  • Their thesis proposal or research statement (short and concise is recommended—no more than five pages)
  • Approximate cost of tuition and fees for one academic year
  • Where and when the nominee held an internship (if applicable)
  • Name and email of the nominee’s advisor
  • Primary and secondary research areas (a list can be found on our Research areas tab)

Internal Deadline Timeline

General timeline of deadlines; check with Michelle Monroy ( for specific detail information:
  • September 2020: Departments submit an “intent to nominate” to the Graduate Division. Please provide: name of graduate student, graduate program, advisor, and research area. This information will be used to assemble the review committee.
  • October 2020: Departments submit formal nomination of students to the Graduate Division. Please include letter of recommendation(s), statement of purpose, unofficial transcript, and student's CV. 
  • Eligible programs may submit a maximum of two (2) nominations to the Graduate Division.
  • A total of nine (9) nominations will then be submitted by the campus to Microsoft.
  • All materials should be sent to the attention of Michelle Monroy (
  • Based on feedback from the review committee, the Graduate Division will then confirm with each nominating department/program which submissions may be made.

Research Areas

Important Information

The Graduate Division does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions in the applicant's submission. We will do our best to review the format of the proposal; however final responsibility for format, content, and completeness always rests with the applicant. Please proofread the application fully and connect with both the graduate fellowship advisor and departmental fund manager for additional guidance prior to submission.