Graduate and Post-Doctoral Fellowships

What is a Fellowship?

Fellowship awards are generally made to individual applicants. MIT agrees to administer the awards on behalf of the recipients. These awards are generally funded in response to proposals, which are routed through, and endorsed by, the Research Administration Services. Each sponsor's terms and conditions must be reviewed for MIT acceptability.

Awards are generally modest amounts. Support of the fellow is provided as a stipend. Sometimes a modest research allowance is included which may be used for health insurance, materials and supplies, travel, or computer purchase. Purchases must be made under the supervision of the faculty sponsor.

Fellowship awards made to faculty members are not covered by this guidance.

Graduate Fellows

Financial support for graduate students in the form of fellowships— covering a cash award to the fellow, tuition, and an additional allowance to MIT— is subject to the rules and regulations of the committee on Graduate School Policy. Faculty members who are soliciting fellowships should consult with the appropriate department head and the Dean for Graduate Education before making commitments.

MIT Graduate Fellowship Appointments are described in MIT Policies and Procedures Section 8.2.4

Postdoctoral Fellows

A Postdoctoral Fellow is an individual who is performing independent research to further their education and research. The fellow usually works under the supervision of MIT faculty members and uses the facilities of the Institute. However, this individual is not required to perform any specific research under the direction of any individual or employer. It is common for the Fellow to collaborate with others who are working on similar research or to discuss possibilities or alternatives concerning the research with colleagues and receive assistance, suggestions, guidance or advice.

Fellows are expected to observe the policies and procedures of the Institute regarding conduct and behavior consistent with employees and visitors. To that extent the Institute exercises some behavioral control over all individuals. The important consideration is that the fellow maintains the final decision(s) regarding the direction of their research and is performing independently.

A fellow is usually provided with a monthly stipend, the purpose of which is to support the fellow during their research. This stipend is not a salary because the fellow is not an employee, not hired by MIT to perform research. This income is referred to as "unearned" income by the IRS.

MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship Appointments are described in MIT Policies and Procedures Section 5.3.3

Taxable Status

Cost Objects and Indirect Costs

  • "Fund Sponsored" fellowship WBS are created for sponsored Graduate and Postdoctoral fellowship awards.
  • MIT grants a waiver of indirect costs and the 10% fund transaction fee for Graduate and Postdoctoral fellowship awards. The waiver is not extended to faculty fellowship awards.

Proposal Processing

For most fellowships, the faculty sponsor is listed as the Investigator in the KC proposal and the fellow is listed as a Key Person. These designations are kept at the award stage. On fellowship proposals, both the fellow and the faculty sponsor must certify. To ensure the fellow certifies when they are listed as a key person, use one of the methods below:

  1. If the Sponsor is among the COI hierarchy, KC will automatically require a certification.
  2. In instances where the Sponsor is not among the COI hierarchy, add a KP flag under Supplemental Information.

NOTE: If the certifying party does NOT have an MIT Kerberos ID, a guest account MUST be obtained in order for them to certify. Please allow three days from the time of request to the time of adding the individual to a proposal. This will provide sufficient time for the account to be created and fed to Kuali Coeus.

Fellowship Agreement Form for Non-Federal Sponsors

Template Form for Fellowship Agreements with Non-Federal Sponsors [DOCX]

RAS Contacts

For all fellowships, please contact the RAS Contract Administrator you normally work with.