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October 11, 2018

OpenAI Scholars 2019: Applications open

OpenAI Scholars 2019

2019 Scholar Nancy Otero. Photo: Blake Tucker

We are now accepting applications for our second cohort of OpenAI Scholars, a program where we provide 6–10 stipends and mentorship to individuals from underrepresented groups to study deep learning full-time for 3 months and open-source a project.

The first cohort of Scholars recently released their projects and presented at the first Scholars Demo Day, and have moved on to work, teach, or otherwise be involved within deep learning.

Why we’re doing this

Diversity is core to AI having a positive effect on the world—it’s necessary to ensure the advanced AI systems in the future are built to benefit everyone. While we hope that some of the scholars will join OpenAI (as happened with the first cohort(opens in a new window)!), we want this program to improve diversity in the field at large.

2018 Summer Scholar Ifu Aniemeka presenting her Intuitive Physics Network
2018 Summer Scholar Holly Grimm presenting her Art Composition Attributes Network



Open applications


Close applications


Notify all accepted applicants


Welcome dinner—cohort start (onsite)


Final project due—cohort end


Demo day (onsite)

What we provide

  • $7.5k/mo stipend for 3 months from February 1, 2019 through May 2, 2019.

  • $25,000 worth of credits from Amazon Web Services.

  • A guaranteed interview with OpenAI for full-time work after completion of the Scholars program.

  • Access to a group Slack with the scholars and mentors. If you’re in the Bay Area, we’ll optionally provide a desk for you at the OpenAI office (which our past Scholars have found very valuable).

  • A mentor, who will work with you 1:1 via video call each week, answer your questions via chat/email, and work with you to design and execute a good project to stretch your skills. Mentors for this cohort include:


What we’re looking for

We’re open to all experience levels and backgrounds that meet the above criteria—it’s a common myth that you need a PhD to work in AI (many OpenAI employees don’t have one).

We look for people who are comfortable writing software, but no previous machine learning experience is required. This is a remote program open to anyone with US work authorization located in US timezones. We ask all Scholars to document(opens in a new window) their experiences studying deep learning to hopefully inspire others to join the field too.

You are eligible to apply if:

  • You are a member of an underrepresented group in science and engineering.

  • You have US work authorization and are located in the United States for the duration of the program; We give preference to applicants who can be physically present during the program.

  • You understand this article on calculus(opens in a new window) and this article on linear algebra(opens in a new window). (It’s fine if you have to brush up on these skills).

  • You are comfortable programming in Python (other languages are helpful, but you’ll spend the program writing in Python).

We’ll use these criteria for selection:

  • Technical skills. The stronger your technical background, the more time you’ll spend focusing on the deep learning itself.

  • Self-motivation. We’re looking for people who will work hard through those 3 months, and have demonstrated that they can push themselves to persevere through challenging work.

  • Community building capabilities. We want to hear from people who will inspire others (in the program and externally) to endeavor to learn deep learning as well.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.

Questions? Email