About the program

Strong collaboration with faculty, students and universities is vital to IBM. The IBM PhD Fellowship Program advances this collaboration by recognizing and supporting exceptional PhD students who want to make their mark in promising and disruptive technologies. Focus areas include the following topics of particular interest:

• Hybrid Cloud
• Quantum Computing / Quantum Systems
• Artificial Intelligence
• Cloud / Open Source Technologies
• Security / Cyber Security
• Data Science
• Systems

Since the creation of the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program in 1951, thousands of Ph.D. students have been supported — with more than 700 students supported over the past 10 years alone. The program seeks to increase the number of under-represented minority students in the referenced science topics of interest by encouraging a diverse applicant pool.

Program details

The 2021 two-year IBM Ph.D. Fellowships are awarded worldwide.

  • US country awards: $60,000 in award year one; $35,000 in award year two
  • Other country awards: vary between $6,000-$25,000 each award year depending on country

All IBM PhD Fellowship awardees will be mentored by an IBMer in order to collaborate on a research or technology project for the duration of the award period and are strongly encouraged to do an internship during the first or second year of their award.


Students must be nominated by a doctoral faculty member and must be a full-time student in a PhD program over the two consecutive academic years of the award or forfeit their fellowship. Students should have three years remaining in their graduate program at the time of nomination. For example, nominees that are enrolled in a four year graduate program should have completed two years of their graduate program as of summer 2021 in order to benefit the most. Students from US embargoed countries are not eligible for the program. Award recipients will be selected based on their overall potential for research excellence, the degree to which their technical interests align with those of IBM, and their academic progress to – date, as evidenced by publications and endorsements from their faculty advisor and department head. Students receiving a comparable fellowship or internship from another company or institution (does not include academic scholarships) during the same IBM funded academic period may not be eligible for an IBM PhD Fellowship. The university credential email addresses must be entered in the nomination form.

Nominations should be submitted by October 23, 2020 at 12:00 AM (midnight) US Eastern Time. For further information, see your IBM contact, visit the IBM Ph.D. website, or contact [email protected].