The Department of Computer Science recognizes the achievements, leadership, and potential of CS graduate students with a variety of fellowships and awards. Fellowships offer students the opportunity to focus on their graduate studies and research without the need to perform any services in order to receive funding. Awards recognize current graduate students for overall excellence and outstanding research or leadership contributions with a gift or recognition. Below, we list these honors by category:
Applicants to the CS @ Illinois Graduate Program are automatically considered for fellowships based on the strength of their application materials. Fellowship offers are made after admissions to the graduate program and are typically awarded either as (1) a supplement to a research or teaching assistantship, or (2) a full fellowship. Fellowship offers may include an option to review for one or more additional years. Incoming graduate students awarded a full fellowship are encouraged to take an independent study course (CS 597) to help them connect with a research group and advisor their first year.
The College of Engineering and the University of Illinois also offer fellowships to incoming graduate students. The Department of Computer Science makes nominations for these fellowships based on the admitted students' application materials; no additional application is necessary. Besides the descriptions below, more information is available from the College of Engineering and the Graduate College.
Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Fellowship
This fellowship is intended to encourage exceptional Pakistani students to attend graduate school and to help Pakistan's technological growth. It was endowed by Sohaib Abbasi, B.S. 78, M.S. 80, who was formerly Senior Vice President of the Tools Product Division of Oracle Corporation.
Chirag Foundation Graduate Fellowship
This fellowship was initiated by Anil and Abha Singhal, Trustees of the Chirag Foundation, in recognition of Anil Singhal's graduate studies and M.S. degree from the Department of Computer Science and because of the Singhals great esteem for education and desire to assist future graduate students.
Richard T. Cheng Fellowship
Richard T. Cheng earned his M.S. in 1969 and Ph.D. in 1971 in computer science from the University of Illinois. He was the founding chair of the Department of Computer Science at both Rochester Institute of Technology and Old Dominion University, and he was the founder and chairman of ECI Systems and Engineering, an information technology and integrated systems company that was headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has established the Richard T. Cheng Fellowship to assist the department in recruiting and retaining exceptional graduate students.
Ira & Debra Cohen Graduate Fellowship
Established in Fall 2005 by Debra and Ira Cohen, this fellowship seeks to assist American citizens peforming research in the area of Bioinformatics. If no Bioinformatics students are available, those students researching Databases and Information Systems can be considered.
Andrew and Shana Laursen Fellowship
The Andrew and Shana Laursen Fellowship was established in 2001 to provide meaningful assistance in the recruitment of top graduate students to the Department of Computer Science, and to improve the quality of education and research at the University of Illinois.
Saburo Muroga Endowed Fellowship
Saburo Muroga earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tokyo in 1958 and visited Illinois that summer while doing research at MIT. He noticed that the Illinois professors were much nicer to their students and he eventually became a professor here. Muroga is known for the mentoring of his graduate students. This fellowship was established by Shigenori Matsushita, a former Toshiba executive, to honor Professor Muroga, with whom he studied in 1962-1963. It is awarded to outstanding graduate students in computer science.
Ray Ozzie Fellowship
The Ray Ozzie Fellowship was established in 1996 by Ray Ozzie, BS'79. Ozzie spent a lot of his time as a CS student programming PLATO, the nation's first computer-based education system. He was the lead programmer for Lotus Symphony before founding his own company, Iris Associates, where he wrote Lotus Notes. After that, he founded Groove Networks, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2005, where he is currently Chief Software Architect. This fellowship is available to graduate students enrolled in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering.
Wing Kai Cheng Fellowship
The Wing Kai Cheng Fellowship in Computer Science was established through a gift from the Wing Kai Cheng estate in honor of his time spent as a graduate student at Illinois. Wing Kai Cheng was the cofounder and technical visionary behind the object-oriented database company Objectivity and NetResults, a software company based on object-oriented thinking.
Roy J. Carver Fellowship
The Carver Fellowships are some of the largest and most prestigious at the University of Illinois. The intent of the Carver Fellowship Program is to bring the best new graduate students to the College of Engineering. Extraordinary applicants will be nominated by the Department of Computer Science for this fellowship.
Support for Underrepresented Groups in Engineering (SURGE) Fellowship
SURGE is a comprehensive package of stipends, service, and activities to recruit persons from under-represented groups into engineering doctoral programs. The goal is to increase the number of persons qualified for engineering faculty and research positions from groups currently under-represented in engineering. Strong minority applicants will be nominated by the Department of Computer Science for this College of Engineering fellowship.
Illinois Distinguished Fellowship
The Illinois Distinguished Fellowship program is intended to improve the ability of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate departments to recruit exceptional applicants by providing funds to match or exceed multi-year financial aid packages. Extraordinary applicants will be nominated by the Department of Computer Science for this campus fellowship.
Grad College Fellowship for Underrepresented Minority Students
The Graduate College Fellowship for Underrepresented Minority Students is to strengthen the institution and its program by increasing the enrollment of outstanding students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in graduate study. Strong minority applicants will be nominated by the Department of Computer Science for this campus fellowship.
Awards and fellowships for continuing graduate students are often chosen based on student applications and faculty recommendations. The bulk of the department's awards are chosen during the spring term. There is typically a call for nominations in January or February, with application information posted to the department's wiki.
Deadlines occur throughout the academic year for awards and fellowships from the College of Engineering, University of Illinois, and our industry partners. In some cases, students may apply directly to the sponsoring organization. However, in most cases, the department may only nominate a limited number of students or must endorse the student's application. See the department's wiki for relevant deadlines and requests for applications.
Siebel Scholar Fellowship
The Siebel Scholars Program was established by the Siebel Foundation in 2000, to recognize the most talented students at the world's most prestigious business and computer science schools. Based on academic merit, distingished research, and outstanding leadership, five students from each institution are honored as Siebel Scholars every year and receive an award to defray tuition costs and expenses for their final year of master's studies.
Feng Chen Memorial Award
After being hired for a tenure-track faculty position at Iowa State University, former Ph.D. student Feng Chen tragically passed away on August 8, 2009. His seminal work in runtime verification has been widely published, cited, and awarded, including recognition with the SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award for an ASE 2008 conference paper. Feng was also the recipient of the C.L. and Jane Liu Award. The Feng Chen Memorial Award has been established to recognize students who are first authors on a paper that has won a best paper award in the previous calendar year.
C. W. Gear Outstanding Graduate Student
In recognition of the longtime contributions and services of Charles W. Gear to the University of Illinois and to the Department of Computer Science, contributions from alumni, friends, and former students established an endowed fund to annually honor a graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in research and service, as well as two undergraduates who intend to pursue graduate studies.
David J. Kuck Outstanding Thesis Awards
These awards were established by alumni, friends, and former students in recognition of David Kuck's intellectual and leadership contributions. Kuck was professor of computer science from 1965-1993. In 1977, he developed the Parafrase compiler system, which is used as a test bed for the development of many new ideas on vectorization and program transformation. He led the construction of Cedar in 1985, a 32-processor SMP supercomputer built at Illinois. He was founder of Kuck and Associates and won numerous awards including the Eckert-Mauchly Award from ACM/IEEE and the Charles Babbage Outstanding Scientist Award. Awards for M.S. and Ph.D. theses are based on quality and impact.
C .L. and J. W.-S. Liu Award
Established by AVANT! Corporation in honor of Professors C. L. (Dave) Liu and Jane W-S. Liu, this award is given in support of a graduate student showing exceptional research promise relatively early in their graduate studies. Qualified candidates must have passed the qualifying exam.
W. J. Poppelbaum Memorial Award
On the faculty from 1955-1989, Professor Poppelbaum joined the solid state research group under Professor John Bardeen in 1954 and worked on an electrolytic analog of a junction transistor. He joined DCL the next year, and was in charge of circuit research. Hence this award is intended for graduate students in computer hardware or architecture, based on academic merit and creativity.
Yahoo! Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
Generously sponsored by Yahoo!, this award is a lifetime achievement award for one outstanding teaching assistant serving the Department of Computer Science each year. Selection is based both on ranking by students and recommendations by faculty.
Outstanding Teaching Assistants
Each semester, the department recognizes five outstanding teaching assistants. Winners are chosen based on recognition by faculty, by considering their supervisor's evaluation, and by whether their students select them for the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent.
Selected awards and fellowships are listed below. More information is available from the College of Engineering and the Graduate College. In many cases, your application must be first submitted to the Department of Computer Science. In those cases, a deadline will be announced and posted at the top of the department's wiki.
As a top graduate institution pursuing cutting-edge research, our students are well-positioned to take advantage of fellowship opportunities offered by our partners in industry. Selected fellowships are listed below. In many cases, your application must be first submitted to the Department of Computer Science to review. In those cases, a deadline will be announced and posted at the top of the department's wiki.
Another source of fellowship funding comes from charitable foundations and from the U.S. government. For many of these, college seniors and first year graduate students are both eligible, and U.S. citizenship is typically a requirement. Deadlines vary, but are typically set for late fall to early winter. Besides listing a few of the more prominent programs below, the Department of Computer Science maintains a list of deadlines.
Usually, students may apply directly to these institutions for funding. However, your college or university may provide assistance for these applications. At the University of Illinois, see the National and International Scholarship Program, the Graduate College's Proposal Writing Assitance aids, or the Department of Computer Science's wiki page on this topic.
Selected national fellowships: