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Fellowship and Funding Inquiries FAQ

A large number of individual fellowships are awarded to Tech students. They vary in value from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 or more per year. Most of them are awarded internally by schools, not by Graduate Studies or the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Even for campus awards for which students from several disciplines are eligible, nominations usually come from within the programs.

The following information is meant to help you better understand the fellowship and funding opportunities available to you.

Fellowships vs. Scholarships

Fellowship funding is usually awarded for doctoral research based on the various specialized areas. It is merit-based, but generally not need-based. Fellowship funding is generally discretionary for student awardees to use as they see fit to support themselves while pursuing graduate study. They often come with a stipend.

Scholarship are usually based on merit and are sometimes need-based. They usually must be applied directly to tuition and directly related expenses, and do not include stipends.

Fellowships for Master’s Students

Fellowships are largely tied to doctoral research, and many are also heavily focused on STEM disciplines (note that some majors are widely considered to be professional programs). That’s not to say there are not any existing fellowship opportunities for master’s level students. At the Institute level, we do not tend to see a lot of fellowship or assistantship funding held by exclusively and/or terminal master’s students.

You might also use other fellowship databases from peer institutions. (See examples below, and disregard those opportunities that are specific to enrollment at those particular universities). Please use the filters that all of these tools provide to isolate potential opportunities (e.g., by major, citizenship, interest in experiential opportunities, etc.).

Note that there is a greater chance of finding a source with at least some degree of fellowship support if you are pursuing a research-based master’s program, and/or if you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. It is understood that often professional master’s program students are not on such a track toward a thesis option or doctoral study, but it is worth mentioning if you are at all interested in that pathway.

International Students

A key reason that, generally speaking, it can be challenging for international students to secure fellowships is that many of the fellowships we work with are funded by the U.S. government, and/or often they come with a U.S. citizenship requirement. However, there are still some fellowship opportunities available, and students are encouraged to follow up on those leads and do research on their own.

You might check the following online resources for scholarships, which feature opportunities for graduate-level students as well:

A Few Additional Things to Consider

For many of the fellowships, especially the smaller ones that are internal to Tech and are awarded by schools, there must be a nomination from the faculty advisor. Announcements often go out to entire colleges, or sometimes to the specific academic units where those particular majors are eligible for campuswide competitive awards.

Throughout the year, students will also see information forwarded out from their major school department via the Graduate Coordinators’ email distribution list. They are also notified of funding opportunities via announcements in the biweekly GradBuzz e-newsletter that goes out to all currently enrolled graduate students.

For any opportunities that you do come across, you can reference the timing and anticipate similar timelines for the following year’s fellowship application cycle.

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