Draper Fellow Program

The mission of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. (“Draper”) is to serve the national interest as an independent not-for-profit laboratory engaged in applied research, engineering development, advanced technical education, and technology transfer. Draper originated in the 1930's as the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, and became independent from MIT in 1973. Since then, the flagship Draper Fellow Program has supported over 1,000 graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in engineering and the sciences. Draper Fellow Alumni are from both civilian and military backgrounds and excel worldwide in the technical, corporate, government, academic and entrepreneurship sectors.

In the 2017/8 academic year, Draper is supporting more than 60 Fellows at multiple universities in the Draper Fellow Program and two graduate students in the inaugural Hertz-Draper Fellowship Program.

The Draper Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for students to benefit from not only immersion in their university's academic research environment, but also from Draper's facilities, collective knowledge, and experience. Draper Fellows work closely with Draper technical staff to develop state-of-the-art technologies in world-class laboratories, and their scholarly outputs often go beyond top-tier journal papers and conference presentations to include prototypes, testbeds, and field implementations. Each Draper Fellow conducts his/her research under the supervision of both a University faculty advisor and a Draper supervisor who is a member of Draper’s technical staff in an area of mutual interest.

The Draper Fellow Program provides structured additional professional development opportunities for students to complement and supplement their research experiences. Additionally, Fellows have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor drawn from Program alumni to leverage the Draper Fellow network across space and time.

Quick facts:

  • Draper Fellowships support MS and PhD study in technical areas of interest to Draper, in engineering and the sciences. All Draper Fellows must complete a thesis.
  • Support includes tuition and stipend; tuition is at a rate agreed to by Draper and the university while stipend is at the university's set rate.
  • Draper expects to support a Fellow for the time required to complete his/her degree. Fellowships are renewable annually following a successful yearly review by faculty advisor and Draper supervisor indicating progress toward the degree.
  • Students must be accepted to and matriculate at a participating university, given below.
  • Technical areas of interest to Draper include but are not limited to our capability areas, as given at www.draper.com/solutions.
  • Students may be at any point in their graduate degree programs; the Fellowship is not limited to students at the beginning of their graduate study.
  • Active duty military personnel pursuing graduate study may work on classified projects.
  • The program is open to US Citizens only.

Participating Universities:

  • Brown University
  • Boston University
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northeastern University
  • Rice University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • University of Colorado, Boulder

Department/degree programs:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Bioengineering/biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering/Electrical & Computer Engineering/EECS
  • Epidemiology
  • Health, Science, and Technology (Harvard/MIT Joint Program)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Physics
  • Technology and Policy
  • Other programs may also be included

The application process:

The application period opens in the fall and closes in mid-January. Applications can be submitted here.

Applications are only accepted through the web submission portal during the application period. Applications include a resume, a transcript, a statement of purpose, and 3 references who will be solicited for letters of recommendation. Finalists will be interviewed prior to an offer being made. Student receiving an offer will have the opportunity to visit Draper to meet the program staff, current fellows, potential supervisors, and to hear about potential projects.

Questions can be directed to fellows_program@draper.com. Please do not send application material to this address.

This program is limited to US Citizens only.