Microsoft PhD Fellowship Program

Program details



North America

What it is

A two-year fellowship for PhD students at North American universities pursuing research aligned to the research topics carried out by Microsoft Research.

How to apply

Applicants must be in their third year of PhD studies and nominated by the department chair in their field of study. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Contact us

Please direct any questions not answered in the FAQ to your university department chair or contact Microsoft directly at:
Microsoft Research
One Microsoft Way, 99/4719
Redmond, WA 98052


The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program has supported 132 fellows since the program was established in 2008, many of whom have gone on to work within the Microsoft Research organization. Others have gone on to perform pioneering research elsewhere within the technology industry or accept faculty appointments at leading universities.

Provisions of the 2019 award

  • Tuition and fees are covered for two academic years (2019–20 and 2020–21).
  • A $42,000 USD stipend is provided to help with living expenses and conference travel while in school for two academic years (2019–20 and 2020–21).
  • An invitation to interview for one salaried internship in 2019 with leading Microsoft researchers working on cutting-edge projects related to the recipient’s field of study.
  • An invitation to the PhD Summit: a two-day workshop in the fall at our Redmond lab where fellows will meet with Microsoft researchers and other top students to share their research.

Note: Fellowships are awarded to recipients for two consecutive academic years only and are not available for extension.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants for the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program must be nominated by their universities, and their nominations must be submitted by the office of the chair of the department. Direct applications from students are not accepted.
  • Students must attend a North American (United States, Canada, Mexico) university.
  • The proposed research must be closely related to the research topics carried out by Microsoft Research as noted in the Research areas tab above. We are particularly interested in proposals related to Systems & Networking and AI (including Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Robotics) as well as interdisciplinary extensions to them.
  • Students must be in their third year of a PhD program in the fall semester or quarter of 2018. The nominating university will be asked to confirm the student’s PhD program start date (month/year).
  • A maximum of three applicants per department will be accepted.
    • One of the three applicants must self-identify 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).
  • Microsoft will have discretion as to how any remaining funds will be used if the student is no longer qualified to receive funding (e.g. if the student unenrolls from the program, graduates, or transfers to a different university).
  • The recipient must remain an active, full-time student in a PhD program during the two consecutive academic years of the award or forfeit the award.
  • A recipient of a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship may not receive another fellowship from another company or institution for the same academic period. Fellows accepting multiple fellowships may become ineligible to receive continued funding from Microsoft.

Microsoft actively seeks to foster greater levels of diversity in our workforce and in our pipeline of future researchers. We are always looking for the best and brightest talent and celebrate individuality. We invite candidates to come as they are and do what they love.

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