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PhD Fellowship program FAQ

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship program.

Current schedule

  • Microsoft Research is no longer accepting applications for 2016 PhD Fellowships. The submission deadline was Tuesday, October 9, 2015.
  • Selected applicants will receive notification of their acceptance status by no later than February 26, 2016.

Selection criteria

Are international students eligible to apply?
Yes, if you are a full-time international student at an eligible U.S. or Canadian school and pursuing your PhD in academic year 2015–16, you are eligible.

What if I’m a student attending a university outside the United States or Canada?
The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship program includes only U.S. and Canadian schools. If you are a student attending a school outside the U.S. and Canada, you are not eligible for this fellowship. For information on international fellowship opportunities, visit Microsoft Research Fellowships.

What if I am not starting my second or third year in academic year 2015–2016?
Students must be in their second or third year in an eligible PhD program in the fall semester or quarter of 2015 to apply for this program.

Do I have to be nominated by my university or can I apply on my own?
To be considered for the program, you must be nominated by an eligible university. The application contact for your department chair must submit the application on your behalf.

Which university departments are eligible to participate?
Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics departments at eligible universities may each nominate up to three students. If your department falls in the broad scope of computer science, electrical engineering, or mathematics but is called something else, your department can nominate you as well. However, we prefer that your department coordinates with and sends your nomination through Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mathematics departments. If your department is unable to coordinate with one of these three departments at your school, please encourage your departmental chair’s office to contact us at

Application process

See How to apply.

Fellowship review process

Who will review the nominations?
Applications will be reviewed by researchers from Microsoft Research, whose expertise covers a wide range of disciplines. After the first review, a selection of applicants is invited for live interviews. Award winners are chosen from the finalists.

When will I know the outcome of the review process?
Selected Fellowship applicants will receive notification by no later than February 26, 2016. Due to the volume of submissions, Microsoft Research cannot provide individual feedback on applications that do not receive Fellowship awards.

Fellowship award details

If selected, when will my fellowship begin?
Fellows awarded a fellowship in February will receive their financial awards beginning in August of that year. Microsoft sends payment directly to your university, and your university will disperse funds according to their guidelines.

If selected, am I required to complete an internship at Microsoft Research?
As part of your award, you are invited to complete one 12-week internship within the year directly following your award. Internships are encouraged, but not required, as part of the award.
See also: Microsoft Research Internships

Are there any tax implications for me if I receive this fellowship?
The tax implications for your stipend, fees, and tuition are based on the policy at your university.

Will intellectual property be an issue if I am awarded a fellowship?
The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship program is not subject to any intellectual property (IP) restrictions unless and until the Fellowship recipient accepts the associated internship. If you accept an internship, you will be subject to the same restrictions as any other Microsoft intern.

Can I simultaneously receive fellowships from other companies?
If you accept a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship, you may not receive another fellowship from another company or institution for the same academic period. Fellows accepting multiple fellowships will become ineligible to receive continued funding from Microsoft.

Can I simultaneously receive a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship and a Microsoft Research Women's Fellowship?
No. Eligibility conditions do not allow for a student to apply for both awards simultaneously.