Blue Waters Graduate Fellowships

 Fellowships FAQ


Blue Waters Graduate Fellowships provide PhD students with a year of support, including a $38,000 stipend, up to $12,000 in tuition allowance, an allocation on the powerful Blue Waters petascale computing system, and funds to support travel to a Blue Waters-sponsored symposium.

For the Fellowships, preference will be given to candidates engaged in a multidisciplinary research project that combines disciplines such as computer science, applied mathematics, and computational science applications. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. by the time of the application deadline. Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Academic record

  • GRE score

  • Related experience and service

  • Research plan and its relationship to use of the Blue Waters supercomputer

  • Letters of reference

Applications for 2014-2015 fellowships were due Feb. 3, 2014. Awards will be made in spring 2014, with the tuition allowance applied to the 2014-2015 academic year. Information on 2015-2016 fellowships will be available in fall 2014.

Questions? Contact

Application Instructions

There are a number of parts to the application. You should gather the materials for all portions of the application and prepare each portion prior to uploading the application at All of the materials must be uploaded in a single online session.

The fellowship application requires:

  1. An online Summary Information form with demographic information and a list of references.

  2. A Fellowship Application form with information about your education, experience, and graduate program. That form can be downloaded in PDF format and filled out offline.

  3. An unofficial transcript from your current graduate institution.

  4. A one-page personal statement concerning your career goals and experience. You are limited to one page of text but can add illustrations and references to that text as appropriate.

  5. A one-page research statement defining your research topic and its uses for the Blue Waters allocation. You are limited to one page of text but can add illustrations and references to that text as appropriate.

Along with these materials, we require a minimum of three and maximum of four reference letters to be separately submitted by your references. Reference letters are required from your PhD advisor and the chair of your home department. The additional letters can be from anyone who can address your capabilities and ability to carry out the proposed research program and the potential impact you will have in your career.

Once all of the materials have been completed and uploaded, you will receive an email from the Blue Waters Fellowship office acknowledging the completed application package.

Summary Information Form

The online form provides your contact information, some background demographics, and the list of references for your fellowship application. You will fill in online your name, university, and department. The citizenship information is to confirm you are a U.S. Citizen or will be a permanent resident of the U.S. by the time of the application deadline.

The demographic information is optional. Please note that none of the demographic information will be available to the reviewers of the fellowship applications but will help in the assessment of this program for continuing funding.

For the three or four references you wish to include, you must provide their names, institution, and email contact information. They will receive an email from the fellowship office requesting their reference along with background information on the fellowship.

Fellowship Application Form

The Fellowships Application Form can be downloaded and filled out offline. The Fellowship Application form begins with information about your name and institution to link it with the other form. Enter your current address, email, and office and cell telephone numbers. It is especially important to provide an email and phone number where you can easily be reached in case any questions about your application arise.

The next section provides information about your education and experience. List each of the higher education institutions from which you received a degree along with the major, date the degree was awarded, and GPA. If you attended more than one institution for your baccalaureate career (e.g., you attended a community college or another institution before transferring to your baccalaureate institution, you took summer courses or studied abroad, etc.), you only need to list the degree-granting institution. The final entry should be your current institution and your estimated date of graduation. This is also the institution for which we require an unofficial transcript as part of the application materials.

For your graduate program, indicate your primary field of study and a secondary area of study, if any. Enter your GRE scores. Indicate whether you have passed your general exams and the date of that exam. If you have not yet passed the general exam, indicate the anticipated date of that exam.

In the table below that information, insert your expected coursework over the next year starting with the courses that are not yet on your transcript. Indicate research or dissertation credit hours as relevant.

The table on publications, presentations, and technical documents is an opportunity to highlight your relevant research accomplishments. You may include any papers or technical reports on which you are an author or co-author. You may also indicate conference presentations were you were the primary presenter. For those entries, insert the conference title under the journal column.

Finally, enter information about your awards, teaching, or service activities. You may include experience as a teaching assistant or instructor, service to the university and profession, and honors and awards you have received to date.


An unofficial transcript from your current graduate institution is required. Although these documents are handled confidentially, we recommend that you redact all sensitive and personally identifiable information on the transcripts including social security numbers, financial information, home addresses, and home telephone numbers. Scan in an electronic copy of the redacted document to PDF format to upload when you are submitting your fellowship application.

Ensure the transcript uploaded meets the following requirements:

  1. The transcript must be legible

  2. The applicant name must be listed

  3. The school name must be listed

  4. If the institution does not use a 4.0 grade scale, provide the grade scale used as the last page of the document.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is a one-page summary that describes your personal, professional, and educational experiences and future educational, professional development and career goals. In your statement, outline your educational and professional development and career goals. Describe your personal, educational and/or professional experiences that motivated your decision to pursue advanced study. Include specific examples of any research and/or professional activities in which you have participated. Present a concise description of the activities, highlight the results, and discuss how these activities have prepared you to seek your graduate degree. Specify your role in the activity including the extent to which you worked independently and/or as part of a team, and how you contributed to the team's activity Explain what is unique about you and why you should be selected. Discuss why you would make an outstanding Blue Waters Fellow.

The statement should be composed using 11 point type, 1-inch margins, and single spacing or greater. Save your statement in either Microsoft Word or PDF format for uploading with your application.

Research Statement

Using the same format as that specified for the personal statement, present your proposed research topic as a one-page summary. Describe the research idea, your approach, and how you will use Blue Waters resources to pursue your topic. Your statement should clearly define how parallel computing resources, data analysis, and/or visualization are critical to addressing your topic. Indicate how the research will advance knowledge and understanding within your field of study. You may choose to include important literature citations and information on the codes that will be used or developed as part of the research effort. Explain how having access to Blue Waters would further your research goals and accelerate or expand the impact of your research.