IT Masters Scholarships 2024: Your Guide to Funding Options for a Postgraduate Degree in Information Technology

With the rising costs of higher education, finding funding for a master’s degree in IT can seem daunting. However, there are scholarship opportunities available every year to help masters students fund their studies. This comprehensive guide will outline the various IT master scholarship options for 2024, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, award amounts, and tips for strengthening your application. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to finance your postgraduate IT education.

Overview of IT Masters Degrees

Before diving into specific scholarship details, let’s briefly discuss IT masters programs. Information technology is a broad field that involves applying computing capabilities and principles to solve business problems. Popular types of IT master degrees include:

1. Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)

An MSIT provides advanced training in core IT subjects like networking, databases, cybersecurity, and software engineering. This degree is ideal for those with an undergraduate degree in a non-technical field seeking to transition into IT. Coursework focuses on both technical skills and management aspects of the career.

2. Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)

For those with a bachelor’s in computer science, an MSCS delves deeper into programming, algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced computing topics. Expect advanced math and theory alongside hands-on programming assignments. This path is recommended for pursuing research or tech-focused roles.

3. Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)

Like an MSIT, an MSIS balances technical training with a business perspective. However, there is more emphasis on how organizations use IT to enable processes, manage data, and gain strategic advantages. Project management, systems analysis, and emerging tech applications are common areas of study.

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With an understanding of typical IT master programs, we can now overview the top scholarship opportunities available for the 2024-2025 academic year. Let’s jump into the details.

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Major IT Scholarship Programs for 2024

Several prestigious national programs award IT scholarships each year. Planning and applying early generally improves your chances of winning one of these prestigious awards:

1. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The NSF Fellowship is one of the most competitive STEM scholarships in the country. It provides up to three years of support for graduate study, including a $34,000 annual stipend and tuition & fees funding. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding potential for research careers. The deadline for the 2024 competition is in late October 2023.

2. AT&T Labs Fellowship

This fellowship from leading telecom company AT&T provides $80,000 and a paid summer internship for one year of full-time graduate study in fields relevant to AT&T, including computer science, engineering, and information technology. The application typically opens in late spring with a deadline in August.

3. Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship

As one of the top computer and software companies in the world, Microsoft offers support for PhD study through this prestigious fellowship program. Fellows receive a yearly stipend of up to $37,500, tuition money, and mentorship opportunities at Microsoft Research Labs. The award period covers three years of doctoral study. Deadlines are in December.

Those are some of the largest national scholarship opportunities solely for IT graduate students. Now let’s look at additional options through professional organizations, private foundations, and universities themselves.

Scholarships from Professional Associations

IT professional associations award competitive scholarships annually to support further education. Here are a few to explore:

1. ACM SIGCHI Graduate Scholarship

Offered by the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction of the Association for Computing Machinery, this $5,000 scholarship goes to a student pursuing graduate study related to human-computer interaction. The deadline is typically in early January.

2. Anthropic AI Safety Scholarship

Anthropic, an AI safety startup, offers a $20,000 scholarship for master’s or PhD research advancing AI safety, security, and governance. Only a handful are granted each year. The deadline is in early January.

3. USENIX Scholarship in Computer Systems Research

Students focusing their graduate research on operating systems, networking, distributed systems, and other core computer science topics are encouraged to apply for this $2,000 award from the Advanced Computing Systems Association USENIX. Applications are open annually from March through May.

Professional IT societies can be an overlooked scholarship resource. Applying to opportunities through relevant associations should be part of your financial plan.

Scholarships from Private Foundations and Companies

Private foundations established by technology pioneers and companies offer additional IT funding options. Here are some details on a few to research further:

1. Anthropic graduate AI Safety Scholarship

As an AI safety startup, Anthropic funds graduate research advancing topics like adversarial robustness, interpretability, and constitutional AI. The award provides $20,000 and application deadlines are in January.

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2. CyberFlorida Scholarship

CyberFlorida Foundation, a non-profit established by the Florida high-tech council, provides $5,000 per year to Florida residents pursuing cyber-related master’s degrees. The deadline for the 2024-2025 school year is in March.

3. Facebook Fellowship Program

Through this fellowship, Facebook funds specific research projects proposed by graduate students. Awards provide over $50,000 each and proposals are reviewed quarterly. The research must advance Facebook’s technical priorities.

Like associations, private sector funders provide additional pathways for IT scholarship support. Research foundations and companies in your intended career field or area of study.

University-Specific Scholarships

Now let’s explore funding directly through the graduate institutions themselves. Every university offers need-based financial aid and merit scholarships for qualified candidates.

Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantships

Many IT master’s programs provide on-campus employment in the form of a research or teaching assistantship. These awards include full or partial tuition remission alongside an hourly wage or monthly stipend. They are an excellent way to gain experience while funding your education.

Program-Specific Scholarships

Departments may allocate scholarship dollars specifically for incoming or continuing IT graduate students. These awards are prestigious and competitive but increase your odds by applying directly to your intended program of study.

Diversity or Needs-Based Scholarships

All universities have scholarship programs geared towards attracting talented students from groups underrepresented in STEM or those facing financial hardship. These are worth exploring depending on your background and situation.

Alumni Association Awards

Many college alumni groups provide modest scholarships reserved just for graduate students pursuing continued education at their alma mater. While smaller, they are easier to qualify for given the institutional affiliation.

The best university funding requires proactive research into individual school’s financial aid deadlines and requirements. Start this process early in your application cycle.

Strengthening Your IT Masters Scholarship Application

No matter the specific scholarship, the strongest candidates generally have some combination of the following strengths:

Outstanding Academic Record

This includes both your undergraduate GPA along with any relevant IT coursework, certifications, or independent projects demonstrating content mastery and self-motivation. Aim for at least a 3.5 GPA.

Meaningful Personal Statement

Share your career goals and passion for IT through a compelling personal statement. Explain why the scholarship is meaningful and how you will pay it forward through future impacts and contributions.

Highly Recommended Letters of Reference

References should come from past instructors or professors who can speak directly to your intellectual ability, work ethic, leadership, and potential for success.

Relevant Work or Volunteer Experience

Demonstrate initiative through relevant IT work experience, competitive internships, and involvement in student groups or projects that build experience alongside academics.

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Superior Standardized Test Score (If Required)

For programs requiring GRE scores, aim for at least the 70th percentile or higher in both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

While academic achievements and testing are considered, scholarships also go to well-rounded candidates who bring a diversity of thought and a passion that inspires. Reflect deeply and showcase the full depth of who you are through a strong application.

Scholarship Application Strategies and Timeline

With competitive IT scholarship deadlines as early as October, it’s important to be proactive in your planning. Here are some tips for maximizing your candidacy:

  • Research options extensively from Summer 2023 onward. Create a spreadsheet to track deadlines and program requirements. This allows you to refine your target list.
  • Reach out to faculty and references EARLY. Give them ample time to write personalized, insightful letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  • Take or retake standardized tests by Fall 2023. This gives time for superior scores to be received and included in your application.
  • Craft multiple compelling drafts of your statement. Have others review and provide feedback to strengthen this critical personal narrative.
  • Submit complete applications 2-4 weeks before deadlines. Allow time for any issues to be addressed before cut-off dates. Sign up for application status update notifications.
  • Follow up if not selected initially. Inquire if any openings remain from applicants who declined awards. Persistence sometimes pays off.

Applying for Multiple Scholarship Opportunities

It’s generally a good strategy to apply for more than one scholarship to hedge your chances of securing funding. Of course, you’ll need to tailor each application to the specific requirements and mission of that award. Here are some tips for applying to multiple scholarships successfully:

  • Research scholarships thoroughly so you only apply to those closely aligned with your background and goals. This allows a more authentic application.
  • Use the same core personal statement but alter small details to better address each scholarship’s priorities and review criteria.
  • Request letters of recommendation be tailored specifically for each application versus generic letters. Provide details on scholarship requirements.
  • Fill out each application completely and allow sufficient review time rather than rushing multiple at once. Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Some applications like the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship require very different materials than typical scholarships. Be prepared to adapt your work.
  • If any deadlines conflict, prioritize more prestigious and larger national awards first before smaller or more local options.
  • Track application progress and deadlines in a central spreadsheet so you know what’s been submitted where and when follow-ups may be needed.

Applying to suitable scholarships requires investment but also improved odds when done strategically versus applying to as many as possible with watered-down efforts. Quality stands out more than quantity.

The Admissions and Award Timeline

Here’s a brief overview of what to expect after submitting scholarship applications:

  • Mid-Late Winter: Notifications for earliest December deadlines like Microsoft begin being released. Check portals regularly.
  • Spring: The bulk of scholarship admissions and award notifications will occur from March through May. Carefully read acceptance letters for any next steps required.
  • Early Summer: A few additional notifications may continue into June from programs with later deadlines or rolling admissions. Appeal any denials if the option is given.
  • By Fall: Have your admissions, aid, and scholarship funding secured by late summer so you’re set to start your program in the coming academic year confidently.
  • 1st Year Complete: Most scholarships last one year but some continue for multiple years if requirements like GPA thresholds are met each year. Renewals have their deadlines to comply with.

About the author

subchief

Subchief is the chief administrator and lead developer of Subteller.com. He has over 10 years of experience in web design, development and digital content strategy.

As the founder and content strategist of Subteller, Subchief oversees all aspects of content creation and website management. He works closely with freelance writers and editors to develop valuable, informative articles on topics related to immigration, careers, legal issues and more.

Subchief's technical expertise includes proficiency in HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript. He has deep knowledge of content management systems like WordPress and Drupal. Prior to launching Subteller, he worked as a senior web developer at Anthropic, where he helped design and build large-scale marketing websites for clients.

When he isn't coding or managing Subteller, Subchief enjoys spending time with his family, reading non-fiction books and staying up-to-date with new technologies. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of the People in CA, US.

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