Google PhD Fellowship

Award Overview


The Google PhD Fellowship Program recognizes outstanding graduate students doing exceptional and innovative research in areas relevant to computer science and related fields. Fellowships support promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology. Google’s mission is to foster inclusive research communities and encourages people of diverse backgrounds to apply.

Value & Duration

  • Full tuition and fees for up to 3 years (includes enrollment fees, health insurance, books) plus a stipend to be used for living expenses, travel and personal equipment.
  • Matched with a Google Research Mentor.


Applicants must:

  • Be full-time graduate students pursuing a PhD (normally in 2nd yr) in one of the research areas listed below.
  • Not be Google employees, their spouses, children, or members of their household.

Recipients must:

  • Have completed all graduate coursework by the time the Fellowship begins (usually 3rd year for Canadian students).
  • Remain enrolled full-time in the PhD program for the duration of the Fellowship or forfeit the award.
  • Not be already supported by a comparable industry award.

Research areas

  • Algorithms, Optimizations and Markets
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Computational Health Research
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Machine Learning
  • Machine Perception, Speech Technology and Computer Vision
  • Mobile Computing
  • Natural Language Processing (including Information Retrieval and Extraction)
  • Privacy and Security
  • Programming Languages and Software Engineering
  • Quantum Computing
  • Structured Data and Database Management
  • Systems and Networking

Underrepresented groups

At least two out of the four U of T nominees for this award must self-identify as a woman, Black/African descent, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Indigenous, and/or person with a disability.

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated on the strength of the research proposal, research impact, student academic achievements, and leadership potential. Research proposals are evaluated for innovative concepts that are relevant to Google’s research areas, as well as aspects of robustness and potential impact to the field. Proposals should include the direction and any plans of where your work is going in addition to a comprehensive description of the research you are pursuing.

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, essay responses are evaluated in addition to application materials to determine an overall recommendation.

Research should align with Google AI Principles.

Application Process

The University of Toronto may submit up to four (4) nominations (with min. two (2) from an underrepresented group) for the Google PhD Fellowships.

Given the extremely competitive and prestigious nature of this international award, the University is required to  carefully consider and select only the highest quality applications for nomination.

Applicants must submit an electronic copy of their completed application as a single PDF file via email to by the application deadline. The email must have the subject title “Google 2021 – NAME OF APPLICANT”.  Students applying for both Google and Apple fellowships must submit two separate applications as the required list of items are different for each competition.

Application Package

A complete application package will include all of the following items in the order listed:

  1. Cover sheet signed by the Department Chair or designate confirming the student passes the eligibility requirements stated above.
  2. Student CV with links to website and publications (if available).
  3. Short (1-page) CV of the student’s primary supervisor.
  4. Research / dissertation proposal including references (maximum 8 pages).
  5. Student (research) essay response (350-word limit) to: Describe the desired impact your research will make on the field and society, and why this is important to you. Include any personal, educational and/or professional experiences that have motivated your research interests.
  6. Student (leadership) essay response (350-word limit) to: Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time. (A leadership role can mean more than just a title. It can mean being a mentor to others, acting as the person in charge of a specific task, or taking the lead role in organizing an event or project. Think about what you accomplished and what you learned from the experience. What were your responsibilities? Did you lead a team? How did your experience change your perspective on leading others? Did you help to resolve an important dispute at your school, church, in your community or an organization? And your leadership role doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to school activities. For example, do you help out or take care of your family?)
  7. Transcripts of current and previous academic records. Scans official transcript are preferred but unofficial and web-based transcripts are accepted.
  8. 2-3 letters of recommendation from those familiar with the nominee’s work (at least one from the thesis advisor). Letters must be emailed by each referee as a PDF attachment directly to with the subject title “Google 2021 Ref – NAME OF APPLICANT” by the application deadline.

Underrepresented group applicants only: please indicate within the body of the submission email you self-identify as being a member of an underrepresented group. Your underrepresented group status will not be disclosed during Committee review, and applications will be reviewed based solely on the strength of the submitted materials.


The SGS Graduate Awards Office will notify applicants of the University competition results in late-September. The results of the international competition are communicated directly by the funding agency in December 2020.

Contacts & Resources

For more information, visit the Google PhD Fellowship FAQ page and/or contact or

Fong Di Caterina
Manager, Graduate Awards
School of Graduate Studies