HST is extremely proud of MEMP students’ outstanding track record in obtaining internal and external fellowships.

Students who have been awarded a fellowship distributed via MIT should complete a fellowship application form.

Internal Fellowships

A number of internal fellowships – offered by MIT’s Office of Graduate Education, MIT’s School of Engineering, and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science - are available to MEMP PhD students on an annual basis. Announcements and application procedures for these fellowships are distributed via HST student email lists.

External Fellowships

Students are encouraged to apply for outside fellowships offered by various public and private agencies as described on this site maintained by MIT’s Office of Graduate Education. Additional resources for preparing fellowship applications can be found here. MEMP students often receive these external fellowships:

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP)
  • Department of Defense/National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG)
  • Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE-CSGF)
  • Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF)
  • NIH Individual National Research Service Award Fellowship

Students applying for external fellowships should contact laurie [at] mit.edu (Laurie Ward) at least one month before the submission deadline to review the specific terms of particular fellowships and to discuss the following considerations: 

  • Some external fellowships require institutional signatures from central MIT offices. If a particular fellowship requires MIT administrative involvement, it can take several weeks to obtain the necessary approvals.
  • Most external fellowships provide partial support relative to MIT tuition and stipend rates. This will result in a funding shortfall, in which case the research supervisor provides partial RA funding to complete the student’s support package. Any applicable stipend increase (described below) is included in this shortfall.
  • MIT’s RA tuition subsidy does not apply to fellowships.
  • Some external fellowships impose restrictions on the nature of other funding sources utilized simultaneously.
  • Many external fellowships are restricted to US Citizens and Permanent Residents. MIT's Office of Graduate Education maintains a list of financial resources outside MIT that are specifically geared toward international students.

Stipend Incentive for External Fellowships

HST PhD students with external fellowships automatically receive a stipend increase of $300/month, added to either the pre-qual or post-qual rate. The rationale for this increase is to incentivize students to apply for outside fellowships and reward those who are successful. Note that:

  • The increased stipend rate applies throughout the tenure of the fellowship and during the summer term for nine-month fellowships, but not in years after the fellowship has ended.
  • If a student receives an outside fellowship providing $10K/year or less, the funds are not used to offset standard graduate support. Instead, the funds are considered an additional personal allowance to be spent at the student's discretion, and the stipend incentive is not applied.
  • If an outside fellowship provides funds in excess of the increased stipend rate, no additional stipend increase is provided, but students are not required to use the excess stipend towards a tuition shortfall.
  • HST covers the stipend increase for students who have deferred an external fellowship in order to utilize an HST-funded fellowship during their first year.
Pie chart 2022-2023: 34% External Fellowship, 21% Internal Fellowship, 1% Teaching Assistantship, and 44% Research Assistantship

Primary sources of funding for MEMP PhD students, 2022-2023


Melinda Chen headshot

I got help from MEMP and other MIT students, who provided me with copies of their successful NSF applications. They helped me edit and improve my essays. Having people with different scientific backgrounds read my application was helpful, making my research impactful to those outside of my field.

Melinda Chen (recent MEMP PhD alum)