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Graduate Fellowships

The recipient of the Dr. Dennis Kafura Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year is Ya Xiao. "This gives me a great opportunity to devote myself to research for the entire summer this year. This kind of fellowship also gives me a strong feeling that I’m doing a good job and makes me more comfortable that I can be a good researcher. This is very important to a young researcher like me.” Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

The Department of Computer Science recognizes the achievements, leadership, and potential of computer science graduate students with a variety of fellowships and awards.

Fellowships offer students the opportunity to focus on their graduate studies and research without the need to perform any services in order to receive funding. Awards recognize current graduate students for overall excellence and outstanding research or leadership contributions with a gift or recognition.

These fellowships and awards are made possible by generous donations from alumni, friends, and corporate partners.

Dr. Richard E. Nance Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science 
Established as one of the first Ph.D. fellowships in the Department of Computer Science, this fellowship was created by computer science alumnus Greg Lavender (master's '88, doctorate '93) as a way to honor his master's advisor Richard Nance, who served as department head from 1973-79. The fellowship supports current students in the home-stretch of their Ph.D. studies as they strive to complete their dissertations.

The recipient of the Dr. Richard E. Nance Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year is Kobla Setor Zilevu.

Dr. Dennis G. Kafura Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science
Established as one of the first Ph.D. fellowships in the Department of Computer Science, this fellowship was created by computer science alumnus Greg Lavender (master's '88, doctorate '93)  as a way to honor his Ph.D. advisor Dennis Kafura, who served as department head from 1998-2008. The fellowship supports current students in the home-stretch of their Ph.D. studies as they strive to complete their dissertations.

The recipient of the Dr. Dennis Kafura Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year is Ya Xiao.

BitShares Fellowship
Funded by Virginia Tech computer science alumnus Dan Larimer ('03), this scholarship seeks graduate students pursuing studies and/or performing research in fields related to emerging interdisciplinary crypto currency technologies, including but not limited to: alternative currency, digital currency and digital asset exchange, like Bitcoin, BitShares and crypto currency.

The recipients of the Bitshares Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year are:

Eleanor Davenport Leadership Fund
Eleanor Davenport, daughter of Fred D. Durham (1921 civil engineering) for whom Durham Hall is named, created this fellowship to provide expanded opportunities for outstanding graduate engineering students with the hopes that they will carry on the tradition of philanthropy benefiting additional students in the future.

Recipients are students majoring in the College of Engineering, with preference to residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and are chosen on the basis of superior intellectual promise and academic performance, demonstrated leadership ability, personal character, and community service

The Davenport Fellowships are awarded starting in the fall term. They are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents with a three-year maximum for any one student. There is no work requirement attached to receiving this fellowship.

The recipients of the Davenport Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year are:

  • Gregory Bolet
  • Connor Weeks

National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) Fellowship Program
Virginia Tech is a member of The National GEM Consortium with a mission to enhance the value of the nation's human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities (American Indian, African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic Americans) at the master's and doctoral levels in engineering and science, outlined below. The application deadline is November 15 (early consideration: October 1). 

MS Fellowship Program

  • Stipend of up to $16,000 over three semesters
  • Full tuition and fees for four semesters
  • Two 12-week summer internships with a sponsoring GEM member company

Ph.D. Engineering Fellowship Program

  • Minimum of $14,000 academic-year stipend for up to the fifth year
  • Full tuition and fees (paid by the university)
  • 12-week summer internship with sponsoring GEM member employee
  • Fellow must accept a research or teaching assistantship after the first year

Ph.D. Science Fellowship Program

  • Minimum $14,000 academic year stipend for up to the fifth year
  • Full tuition and fees (paid by the university)
  • 12-week summer internship with sponsoring GEM member employer
  • Fellow must accept a research or teaching assistantship after the first year


Computer Science Scholars and Pratt Fellowship
This scholarship was created in 1967 through a gift by John Lee Pratt and represents the funding source for the Dean's Scholar Award.  

The Pratt Fellowship is awarded to a limited number of exceptional applicants admitted to the Computer Science and Applications graduate program. The fellowship guarantees recipients multiple years of support and may include summer support for research as well.  The Pratt Fellowship is open to any student regardless of citizenship status. 

In addition, computer science applicants are eligible to compete for university and college-level fellowships, including the Cunningham Doctoral Assistanships, Dean's Diversity Assistantships, and other doctorate-level fellowships. These fellowships typically include multiple-year support guarantees, summer research support, and possibly travel or discretionary funds. Some are only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The recipients of the Pratt Fellowships for the 2020-2021 academic year are:

  • Alexander Hicks
  • Xianho Jin
  • Lindah Kotut
  • Min Oh
  • Xavier Pleimling
  • Steven Roberts
  • Frank Wayne

Powell Graduate Fellowships
The Graduate School sponsors the Powell Graduate Fellowship for master's and doctorate-level students who are long-term Virginia residents entering their first year of graduate study.

Students are nominated by faculty members and one nomination is allowed per department. Faculty are encouraged to nominate prospective students who add to the diversity of the department, such as students who are traditionally underrepresented in their field/discipline. This may include first generation, low income, racial/ethnic minorities, and women in STEM.

Applications are normally due during the spring semester for students starting the program in the following year. For more information about the award, visit the Graduate School page.

Charles C. Walts Scholarship Endowment
Charles C. Walts, a 1941 alumnus, established scholarships for students pursuing a degree in the College of Engineering. The scholarships shall be limited to those students who are U.S. citizens enrolled in the R.O.T.C. program.  There is no work requirement attached to this fellowship. The fellowship is typically awarded starting in the fall semester.

The recipient of the Walts Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year is Kobla Setor Zilevu.

This section contains a list of some long-running fellowship and award opportunities available for graduate students in computer science and related fields. Each application has different eligibility criteria and requirements. If you are interested in an award, ideally you would start working on it at least a month before the deadline. Some applications, e.g., the NSF GRFP, will require more time.

Many fellowships/awards require nominations by the advisor, director of graduate studies, and/or the department head. If you would like to be nominated, consult your advisor first. Based on their feedback, contact the graduate program director, who will work with you, your advisor, and the department head to help prepare a nomination. For limited submission opportunities, the department will conduct an internal selection to identify the department's nominees.

National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
Virginia Tech has been awarded a five-year NRT program in Combating Antimicrobial Resistance. Computer Science is a major participant in this effort, and CS applicants with relevant research interests are encouraged to apply. Information on the NRT in Combating Antimicrobial Resistance is available here. General information on NRT fellowship awards can be found here.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The National Science Foundation GRFP aims to ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States and to reinforce its diversity by offering agraduate fellowships in this competition pending availability of funds.

The GRFP provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees and is intended for students who are in the early stages of their graduate study. The program invests in graduate education for a cadre of diverse individuals who demonstrate their potential to successfully complete graduate degree programs in disciplines relevant to the mission of the National Science Foundation. Deadlines are typically in October.

The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine Research Associateship Programs
The Research Associateship Program sponsors a number of awards for graduate, postdoctoral, and senior researchers at federal laboratories.

These awards provide generous stipends (starting at $30,000 for graduate students, $42,000 - $80,000 per year for recent Ph.D. recipients and higher for additional experience), and the opportunity to do independent research in some of the best-equipped and staffed laboratories in the country. Research opportunities are open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and for some of the laboratories, foreign nationals. 

Applicants should begin a dialogue with prospective Advisers at the lab(s) as early as possible, before their anticipated application deadline. There are four review cycles annually. 

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG)
The NDSEF fellowship program is sponsored by the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

This program is intended for U.S. citizens at or near the beginning of their graduate studies in science and/or engineering programs. The fellowships are for three year tenures. Full tuition and fees and a health insurance allowance are included as part of the program. The application cycle is from September to January. 

Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF)
The DOE CSGF program provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing a Ph.D. in scientific or engineering disciplines with an emphasis in high-performance computing.  Applications are ususally due in January.

Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship
The DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship program supports outstanding students to pursue graduate training in basic research in areas of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computational sciences, and environmental sciences relevant to the Office of Science and to encourage the development of the next generation scientific and technical talent in the U.S.

The fellowship award provides partial tuition support, an annual stipend for living expenses, and a research stipend for full-time graduate study and thesis/dissertation research at a U.S. academic institution for three years.

Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity (GFSD)
Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity is a partnership between government agencies and laboratories, industry, and higher education. GFSD is open for application by all U.S. citizens regardless of race or gender. GFSD's goal is to increase the number of American citizens with graduate degrees in STEM fields, emphasizing recruitment of a diverse applicant pool. Online applications open in late August and close on December 15.

IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program
Strong collaboration with faculty, students and universities is vital to IBM. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program advances this collaboration by recognizing and supporting exceptional Ph.D. students who want to make their mark in promising and disruptive technologies. Focus areas include the following topics: hybrid cloud, quantum computing / quantum systems, artificial intelligence, cloud / open source technologies, security /cyber security, data science, and systems.

Preference will be given to students who have had an IBM internship, or have closely collaborated with technical or services people from IBM, or have co-authored papers, or have faculty research advisors who are close IBM collaborators. IBM requests that a maximum of two nominations per department be submitted, in addition to any renewal nominations.

L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science
The L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science program is a national awards program that annually recognizes and rewards five U.S.-based women researchers at the beginning of their scientific careers. Recipients each receive up to $60,000 that must be put towards their postdoctoral research.

Google PhD Fellowship Program

Nurturing and maintaining strong relations with the academic community is a top priority at Google. The Google PhD Fellowship Program was created to recognize outstanding graduate students doing exceptional and innovative research in areas relevant to computer science and related fields. Fellowships support promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology. Google’s mission is to foster inclusive research communities and encourages people of diverse backgrounds to apply. We currently offer Fellowships in Africa, Australia, Canada, East Asia, Europe, India, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the United States.

Meta Research PhD Fellowship
The Meta Research PhD Fellowship is a global program designed to encourage and support promising doctoral students who are engaged in innovative and relevant research in areas related to computer science and engineering at an accredited university.

Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship Program
The Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship is a global program that identifies and empowers the next generation of exceptional computing research talent. Microsoft recognizes the value of diversity in computing and aims to increase the pipeline of talent receiving advanced degrees in computing-related fields to build a stronger and inclusive computing-related research community. Over the last two decades, the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship program has supported over 700 fellows around the world, many of whom have gone on to work at Microsoft. Others have gone on to perform pioneering research elsewhere within the technology industry or accept faculty appointments at leading universities.

Two Sigma PhD Fellowship, Diversity PhD Fellowhip, and Partnered Fellowship
Two Sigma's PhD Fellowship is open to all doctoral students who are expanding frontiers in a STEM field such as statistics, applied mathematics, computer science, and physics. Two Sigma's Diversity PhD Fellowship is open to doctoral students from historically underrepresented groups who are expanding frontiers in STEM. Two Sigma offers partnered fellowship opportunities to accredited universities and colleges in the United States to foster greater inclusivity in academia. They are actively seeking partnerships with institutions to establish fellowships for doctoral students who are members of historically underrepresented groups.