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Find answers to the most common questions about the IBM Masters Fellowship Awards Program

What is the IBM Masters Fellowship Awards Program?

The IBM Masters Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive United States only program, which honors exceptional Masters students who want to make their mark in promising and disruptive technologies. Focus areas include the following topics of particular interest:

  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Cybersecurity
  • Quantum Computing / Quantum Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence

Who is eligible for IBM Masters Fellowships?

Nominations are welcome for students seeking Masters degrees from historically Black colleges and universities. Students must be nominated by a faculty member. Students should have at least six (6) months remaining in their graduate program at the time of nomination.

Must I be a US citizen to qualify?

No; however, IBM may solicit US residency and citizenship information for legal compliance purposes as part of the award process. IBM is a US headquartered company and complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

When is the IBM Masters Fellowship nomination period?

Nominations for the IBM Masters Fellowship program begin in September and are accepted for 3 weeks. Notification of nominee status takes place by January of the following year.

Where can I get the forms for an IBM Masters Fellowship nomination?

All nominations for the IBM Masters Fellowship must be submitted by faculty electronically over the Web on a standardized form to facilitate an open and uniform competition. The nomination form will be available on the IBM Masters Fellowship Awards Program website.

What is needed to submit an IBM Masters Fellowship nomination?

The faculty advisor must complete the form. We recommend that you read through the entire form first to understand what information is expected, gather the necessary materials and then complete the form. You will be asked to provide information about the student, yourself (the faculty advisor), the department head and university administration. You will be asked to attach the student's CV. Correspondence via e-mail is necessary to complete the nomination process and all information provided will be used in connection with the IBM Masters Fellowship program. Input to lengthy fields (such as the department head's supporting statement) may be provided by copy-and-paste from another document (Word or other text format).

If the nominated student is awarded, you will be asked to provide additional documentation before payment is made. We will provide you details in those circumstances.

Can students submit nominations themselves?

No. Students must be nominated by a faculty member. The nomination form must be prepared and submitted by a faculty member. We suggest faculty coordinate their nomination(s) with their department chair because there is a limit of three nominations per department.

Is there a limit to the number of applications that a department may submit?

No more than three nominations per department may be submitted.

What information does a student have to submit?

A student does not submit any nomination or documentation to IBM; only faculty may nominate students. A nomination includes the student's CV, faculty nominator's supporting statement, department head's supporting statement, thesis / project title, and a brief description of the student's thesis / project work.

Can an IBM employee or IBM contractor nominate a Masters student for an IBM Masters Fellowship award?

IBM employees, IBM supplemental employees and IBM contractors may not submit IBM Masters Fellowship nominations.

Can an IBM employee apply for an IBM Masters Fellowship?

IBM Masters Fellowships are not intended for IBM employees. IBM offers education reimbursement and leave programs and employees should work with their managers on eligibility.

What are the focus areas that IBM pays special attention to?

Focus areas include the following topics of particular interest:

  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Quantum Computing
  • Cyber Security

How are IBM Masters Fellowship recipients selected?

Award recipients will be selected based on their overall potential for educational excellence, the degree to which their technical interests align with those of IBM, and their progress to-date, as evidenced by publications and endorsements from their faculty advisor and department head.

Does IBM embrace diversity?

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.

How will I know if my Nominee is awarded an IBM Masters Fellowship?

The award recipients will be finalized by January 2022. All nominees will receive an email shortly thereafter of their nomination status. A formal letter of congratulations will be sent to the award winners within a few weeks after the emails are sent.

How do I find out the use of my personal data?

The information provided in the IBM Masters Fellowship application is used in connection with the IBM Masters Fellowship program. Your privacy is of utmost importance to us. The data retention period for the personal data is seven years as the awards are processed as contributions and subject to US Tax Law. To learn more about IBM's data privacy, read IBM's Privacy statement. For a particular inquiry please send an email to phdfellow@us.ibm.com

What are the award payment documentation requirements for IBM Masters Fellowship Awardees?

Please note, because IBM Masters Fellowship awards to students are governed by US charitable giving rules and regulations, the recipient institutions will be required to provide additional documentation. After awards have been announced, you will be contacted with the specific requirements.

When can I expect my IBM Masters Fellowship Award payment?

The IBM Masters Fellowship payments will be sent to each recipient university in January 2022. Awards are payable to the university or foundation, not directly to the student awardee. We will contact the finance administrator for the department (designated in the nomination form by the faculty advisor) to confirm details for payment.

Are IBM Masters Fellowship Award Recipients expected to submit a report at the end of the academic year?

There is no requirement for award recipients to document their activities while holding an IBM Masters Fellowship.

As a nominated candidate how do I gain access to the information provided by the faculty?

You may request a copy of the submitted nomination form from the faculty who submitted the nomination.

What if I have more questions?

Address all questions to phdfellow@us.ibm.com. You will receive an answer within three business days.