Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science by ratna92656


									Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science

1 Introduction
This detail is intended instead of live in applying to Ph.D. Programs in laptop science or linked
Areas. The detail is informal in nature, and is doomed to express barely the opinions of the author.
The author is at this time an assistant professor of laptop science next to CMU, and has been involved
In the Ph.D. Admissions process next to CMU, U.C. Berkeley, and MIT.
Please nonstop several extend questions you gain similar to understanding this detail to the admissions coordinator
Martha Clarke (mwc@cs.Cmu.Edu). Do not dispatch email to the author of this
1 Introductio
2 Do I really need a Ph.D.? What does a Ph.D. Entail?
2.1 What is a Ph.D.?
2.2 Lack of prominence on courses
2.3 The exploration process and advisor/advisee relationships
2.4 Frustrations and joys of exploration
2.5 Funding at some stage in the Ph.D
2.6 Life similar to the Ph.D
2.7 Should I grasp a Ph.D.?
3 The Application Process
3.1 Transcript – grades and classes
3.2 GRE scores
3.3 Personal statement
3.4 Previous Research Experience
3.5 Recommendations
3.5.1 Whom to ask instead of a correspondence
3.5.2 How to ask instead of a correspondence
3.6 Awards and Extracurriculars
3.7 How many schools be supposed to you apply to?
4 Fellowship Information
4.1 Why you need to apply
4.2 List of fellowships
5 Choosing the healthy Ph.D. Agenda instead of you
6 Current 2002 Rankings of CS Ph.D. Programs in the U.S.
2 Do I really need a Ph.D.? What does a Ph.D. Entail?
2.1 What is a Ph.D.?
A Ph.D. Is a long, in depth exploration exploration of solitary issue. By long we’re typically conversation a propos
6 years. By in depth we mean with the purpose of next to the result of the Ph.D. You will be the earth expert or close
to it
In your actual area. You will know more than your advisor a propos your actual exploration area.
You will know a propos your exploration than anybody next to your educate. By solitary we mean with the purpose of
by the stay fresh
Join years of your Ph.D., you will typically be working on barely solitary narrow obstacle. The Ph.D.
Is not a propos breadth, it is a propos depth.
2.2 Lack of prominence on courses
The M.S. And B.A. Degrees are a propos breadth not depth. The major requirement in the M.S. And B.A.
Degrees is often a huge facts of courses. A B.A. Or B.S. In CS often entails taking 3 or 4 classes
A semester in CS or Math or Engineering. An M.S. Is parallel.
Voguish contrast, a Ph.D. Agenda typically requires typically take away than 10 courses at some stage in the full 6
Years (at CMU in attendance are 5 obligatory “core” courses, and 3 obligatory “electives”). The prominence in the
Ph.D. Is not on classes, but pretty on exploration. A Ph.D. Scholar will typically take classes barely what time
She feels with the purpose of they will be constructive in her exploration. The classes she takes can not even be in
CS next to all.
They can be in Statistics, Operations Research, Psychology, Linguistics, or something in addition constructive instead
Her actual exploration issue.
2.3 The exploration process and advisor/advisee relationships
At the same time as confirmed earlier, the major focus of a Ph.D. Is on exploration. You typically get to it your
exploration next to the
Schedule what time you choose an advisor. At the majority schools you pick an advisor sometime similar to your ?Rst
At CMU, we like you to start exploration healthy away, so you pick an advisor contained by a month or two of
Opening the agenda.
Research is very sundry from taking classes. Many students not at all knock together the transition stuck between
taking classes and burden exploration – in truth, next to the majority schools barely 1/2 of the students who enter
The Ph.D. Agenda leave with a Ph.D. (at CMU, a propos 3/4 result up with a Ph.D.). Keep in mind
With the purpose of we’re typically conversation a propos students who came in with 4.0 GPA’s from their scholar
Some answer differences stuck between classes and exploration:
• voguish classes, the training problems all gain celebrated answers and the techniques wanted instead of
Solving the problems gain (usually) been introduced in refinement. Voguish exploration, you can be working
On a obstacle instead of years lacking a clue of whether it is solvable. You will be the solitary inventing
Or ?Nding the techniques instead of solving the obstacle.
• voguish classes, you are assigned confident problems to design on. Voguish exploration, you grasp to pick the
Problems. Voguish truth it is your job to ?Nd excellent problems. By “good” we mean problems which
Are “fundamental.” For illustration, ?Nding a arrangement hack which makes a actual result
Like Cisco’s Local Director run better is something with the purpose of Cisco would love, but would not
Count as fundamental exploration. However discovering better algorithms instead of the obstacle of
Task assignment of jobs to hosts in a wine waiter fruit farm is considered fundamental exploration. You
Are too mature instead of making certain with the purpose of veto solitary in addition has already solved this
obstacle. This
Typically involves understanding hundreds of credentials on earlier exploration in this area.
• voguish classes, if you can’t solve your training obstacle, you can each time ask other classmates.
Even if not a bit of your classmates know, you can ask the professor, who certainly knows the
Answer. Voguish exploration, you are often working single-handedly, or next to unsurpassed with you advisor and
maybe solitary
Other scholar. You are free of charge to ask anybody in the earth instead of help, but they will typically not be
Able to help you, since they don’t know the answer either – if they did, it wouldn’t be exploration.
Many students gain a thick-skinned schedule with working independently
Voguish classes, you are constantly being known grades and you are constantly being told could you repeat that? To
Prepare after that. Voguish exploration, in attendance are veto grades. There is a quantity of education (from your
advisor), but
Mostly it’s up to you to be self-motivated and pro-active.
• voguish the classroom, in attendance is a distance stuck between you and your professor. Voguish exploration, you
and your
Advisor will design side-by-side. Your advisor will still tell you could you repeat that? To prepare – devote you ideas
instead of
Problems to design on, assign credentials instead of you to read, devote you encoding assignments, and
Often devote you a time-line and schedule. However, what time you and your advisor are working
On a obstacle collected, you will design as equals. You will both ascertain from apiece other. You
Will knock together discoveries collected. Many students are surprised to ?Nd with the purpose of their advisor is
Sundry in exploration than in the classroom. A professor who is very dry in the classroom and
Often looks bored and uncomfortable will often turn out to be exceedingly enthusiastic and excited
What time working on exploration problems. Voguish the classroom, you hear your professor discuss results
Which he/she has already worked not in. All problems are each time solved by the result of lecture. Voguish
Exploration, you will watch your advisor think not in loud and establish how he/she thinks and reasons.
Students often ?Nd this very exciting. You can ?Nd with the purpose of you think more quickly than your
Advisor, but your advisor has more ideas than you. Or you can ?Nd with the purpose of you are better next to
Computations or coding, but your advisor is better next to proofs or copy or speaking. This
Surprises many students, who expect their advisor to be better than they are next to everything.
Don’t mope, this is an unrealistic expectation. At the same time as in all of life, you will be the majority triumphant if
You simply ?Gure not in could you repeat that? Skills your advisor has with the purpose of you don’t and design
thick-skinned next to alternative up
All of individuals skills lacking complaining.
• When taking classes, you will almost not at all establish your professor single-handedly. When burden exploration
With an advisor, you will typically gain 1 hour for each week what time you be acquainted with with your advisor
Single-handedly. If your advisor is especially eventful (remember, professors gain to prepare exploration, teach,
Apply instead of grants, act on committees, ?Y around giving talks, and the rest.) you can barely grasp 1/2 hour
A week. If your advisor is a newer faculty, you can grasp as much as 2 hours for each week. It’s your
Job to design to come so as to get the most out of the benefit of your schedule collected.
Keep in mind with the purpose of veto solitary can devote you a complete picture of could you repeat that?
Exploration is. The unsurpassed way to
Ascertain could you repeat that? Exploration is, and whether you like it, is simply to start burden it. The earlier the
2.4 Frustrations and joys of exploration
Research can be very rewarding and very frustrating. Most students depict graduate educate as a
Roller-coaster with tremendous highs and tremendous lows.
Frustrations can be as long as from not being able to solve a obstacle with the purpose of you’re working on, or from
Having someone in addition beat you to the solution. Frustrations can be as long as from aloneness. However,
Probably the biggest frustration is the realization with the purpose of you’re not as downright as you theory you
Here’s a very archetypal story:
Student X comes from famous educate Y in nation state Z, somewhere he was ranked 5th not in of greater than
hundreds of thousands of students. He was too ranked #1 in his refinement instead of the day
In requisites of GPA. The scholar comes to graduate educate expecting to be the unsurpassed and
Starts working very thick-skinned on exploration. By the result of his ?Rst or support day, the scholar
Realizes with the purpose of he has not yet available several credentials. His links and children from homeland start
Asking what’s sin against with him. He feels frustrated and ashamed. He blames his advisor,
He blames his realm, he blames his educate. Finally, he grows up and accepts the
Truth with the purpose of maybe he’s not the unsurpassed, but he can still prepare well if he factory thick-skinned.
He starts
Listening better, factory harder, and tops up quite triumphant.
For all the frustrations, exploration can be exceedingly joyous. For a quantity of live in, the joy of exploration
Is the joy of discovering something extra with the purpose of veto solitary knew a propos. You might be discovering
a extra
Algorithm, a extra operating arrangement design initiative, a extra initiative instead of maximizing the performance of
compact disk
Arrays, and the rest.. For others, there’s the joy of really understanding. You’ve probably noticed with the purpose of
Classes a professor or manuscript will plug truthful what time things are getting really exciting and say, “the
Have a break is ahead of the scope of this refinement.” voguish exploration, you can take a obstacle as far as you
need and
Understand everything a propos it. For many, the joy of exploration comes from being able to knock together an
Bang – to conversion the way systems are built and design them in a smarter way. There’s too the
Joy of burden it healthy. Voguish a company, the aspiration is to grasp a working result and distribute it not in
quickly. Voguish
Exploration, you can take your schedule and design not in your project so with the purpose of you are proud to
defend all solitary
Of your design decisions. Research is not a propos clean heuristics or quick hacks. Many live in too
Relish the joy of being the authority on an area and of having their design cited by others.
2.5 Funding at some stage in the Ph.D.
Unlike the B.A., somewhere you or your parents recompense many tens of thousands of dollars, or the M.S.,
You typically design as a training assistant and perhaps carry on to recompense many tens of thousands of
Dollars, the Ph.D. Is a schedule somewhere funding is not a matter to you. At the majority schools, you will not
Tuition at some stage in the schedule with the purpose of you are getting a Ph.D.. Typically, you will too receive a
living stipend
– on the order of $1700 for each month, from which you will recompense your living expenses. Ideally, your barely
Duty will be exploration. This is called burden an RAship (Research Assistantship).
The Ph.D. Is a tremendous opportunity. You grasp to pick an advisor in several exploration area you like
And at that moment you grasp to prepare exploration in with the purpose of area, receive mentoring, think intensely
on problems, advertise
Credentials, turn out to be famous, while paying zip tuition instead of 6 years and receiving a salary. Your advisor
Is paying instead of this opportunity by copy grant proposals to companies and to the government to ask
Instead of funding. A single graduate scholar can cost an advisor upwards of 50K for each day (given the cost
Of tuition, the stipend, the overhead excise charged by the educate, cost of equipment and bodily cosmos,
And the rest.).
Important memorandum 1: At the majority schools, you can barely prepare an RAship if you gain an advisor who has
Funding instead of you. Since a quantity of advisors don’t apply instead of grants or are in areas which aren’t well-
You can gain to design as a training assistant all semester to grasp your stipend. This is called a
TAship (Teaching Assistantship). When I was a graduate scholar, I had a the minority links who were
Artificial to TA 13 semesters, to sponsor their way through educate! Alternatively, you will gain to hold back your
range of advisors to individuals who gain funding. At CMU, all Ph.D. Scholar is guaranteed a
Stipend plus tuition not considering of which advisor she chooses to design with.
Important memorandum 2: There are many companies and government organizations which offer Graduate
Fellowships instead of Ph.D. Students. If you are fluky sufficient to grasp solitary of these, they will cover
Your rounded way through graduate educate, and you will not at all gain to anxiety a propos whether your advisor
Has funding or not. Details a propos graduate fellowships will be discussed in Section 4.
2.6 Life similar to the Ph.D.
When making a decision a propos the after that 6 years of your life, it’s excellent to plug and think a propos could
you repeat that?
You might prepare what time you ?Nish. Most students ahead completing a Ph.D. Either run into academia
(research university or training school) and turn out to be a professor, or they run to a exploration lab. Some
Live in not at all prepare exploration again similar to completing a Ph.D.. For such live in, the Ph.D. Was largely a
Desecrate of schedule.
If you select to be a professor next to a exploration university, your life will consist of the following
Tasks: (i) burden exploration on something you like, (ii) working with graduate students, (iii) training
Classes, (iv) applying instead of grants, (v) ?Ying around to design with other researchers and to devote talks
On your exploration, (vi) burden service instead of your realm and educate (like giving this talk). Note with the
purpose of
I say “your life” pretty than your job, as instead of extra faculty, your life becomes your job. It’s a
Fantastic job/life instead of me as I love these activities, so I’m cheery to design thick-skinned next to all of them,
It’s not healthy instead of one and all.
If you select to be a professor next to a training college, your job will consist of the following: (i)
Training lots of classes, (ii) burden service instead of your realm or educate, (iii) occasionally advising
Undergraduates on scholar exploration, or burden a little of your own exploration.
If you select to run to a exploration lab, your job will consist of the following: (i) burden exploration
(half will be on whatever you need, partially will be on whatever the company wants you to do), (ii)
Working with other live in in the company, (iii) peripatetic around a little to devote talks and design with
2.7 Should I grasp a Ph.D.?
Here are a quantity of things to keep in mind what time making this decision:
I. A Ph.D. Is not instead of one and all!
Ii. A Ph.D requires 6 years on standard. The opportunity cost is extreme.
Iii. Do not even think of applying instead of a Ph.D. If you gain not tried exploration and/or training
And found with the purpose of you like next to slightest solitary of individuals. (Note: The Ph.D. Agenda will require
Exploration, not training, but a love of training can help motivate you to grasp through, so with the purpose of
You can run on to be a teacher. I gain seen many examples of this.)
In opposition to. A Ph.D. Requires a actual type of personality. You need to be someone who is obsessed
With ?Guring not in a obstacle. You need to gain tremendous perseverence and be clever of
Thick-skinned design. You need to be willing to prepare whatever it takes to solve your obstacle (e.G., take 5
Math classes, ascertain a unbroken extra area like databases, rewrite the unbroken kernel, and the rest.).
In opposition to. You need to know why you need a Ph.D. You need to gain forethought and ideas and you need to
Be able to express manually.
Vi. Obviously, many live in are still unsure straight similar to a B.A.. I was solitary of them, so I understand. For such
live in working in a exploration lab or in an trade lab which involves burden
Exploration instead of a the minority years will help them decide. If you are unsure, I highly put in a good word for
working instead of a the minority years previously opening a Ph.D.. Do not apply to graduate educate until you are
You know could you repeat that? You need.
My own story: After I ?Nished my B.A. In CS and Math, I went to design next to the Advanced
Machine Intelligence Lab next to GTE in Massachusetts. At ?Rst I was very excited by my remuneration and the
downright feeling of being self-supporting. I too really enjoyed my area of exploration
Next to the schedule: Pattern recognition and classi?Cation. I was working with frame-of-reference
Transformations connecting eigenvectors of autocorrelation matrices. It was exciting! However
I quickly realized with the purpose of I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why a quantity of algorithms
produced excellent results and others didn’t. I wanted to be as long as up with my own algorithms. I vexed
With the purpose of I didn’t gain sufficient of a mathematics background to answer my own questions. Voguish
sudden, I wanted to burrow deeper. Everyone around me theory I was out of the ordinary instead of without these
Things. I not here similar to 2 years and went to graduate educate. That ?Rst month of graduate educate I
Looked around and realized with the purpose of one and all in attendance was truthful as weird and obsessed as I
was, and I
Knew I had made the healthy decision.
3 The Application Process
The Ph.D. Concentration has several parts:
I. Transcript – Grades and classes
Ii. GRE scores
Iii. Personal Statement
Iv. Previous exploration experience (possibly in industry).
In opposition to. Recommendation inscription
Vi. Awards and additional activities
Voguish defense you didn’t notice, the language “you need to be smart” are purposely absent from the exceeding
inventory. Anyone
Received is more than smart sufficient. The have a break is up to your own determinatio
I will elaborate on apiece of these beneath in feature. People often ask me which of these is the majority
Focal. The answer is: It depends. For the top Ph.D. Programs in CS, the the majority focal
Constituent is your aforementioned exploration experience and could you repeat that? Your recommendation
inscription and not public
Statement gain to say a propos your aforementioned exploration experience. At these schools all concentration is
Carefully scrutinized by next to slightest 3 faculty, all of whom are wearisome to gauge your exploration promise.
At lesser-ranked schools, in attendance can be a clean formula which looks next to GRE scores and GPA and
Scholar educate and based on with the purpose of classi?Es applications into piles of “highly-desirable”,
“lessdesirable”, and the rest.. Everyone in the highly-desirable mound is at that moment admitted.
Since my watch is with the purpose of of the top-ranked CS programs, my picture beneath will trail the
Perspective of individuals schools. By a top-ranked agenda, I’m typically conversation a propos a Ph.D. Agenda
Ranked in the top 10 or so.
3.1 Transcript – grades and classes
When applying to a Ph.D. Agenda in CS, you’d like your grades in CS and Math and Engineering
Classes to be a propos 3.5 not in of 4.0, as a rough guideline. It does not help you, in my outlook, to
Be closer to 4.0 as divergent to 3.5. It’s a much better initiative to splurge your schedule on exploration than on
Optimizing your GPA. At CMU the mean GPA of students admitted is greater than 3.8 (even though we
Don’t custom grades as a criterion), however students gain too been admitted with GPAs beneath 3.3,
Since exploration is could you repeat that? Matters, not grades. A GPA of 4.0 single-handedly with veto exploration
experience will
Not grasp you into several top CS agenda. Keep in mind with the purpose of GPAs are evaluated in the context of the
Scholar agenda. A 3.4 GPA from a top-ranked CS scholar agenda like CMU counts
The same as a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA from a take away well-known CS scholar agenda.
Some questions I hear habitually are “will taking bonus classes knock together me look good” and “will
It knock together me look excellent to take forward-thinking graduate classes?” The answer to both questions is
If these bonus courses head start you to design on an exciting exploration obstacle.” Taking arbitrary bonus
Classes as a rule does not head start to burden more exploration. However, taking solitary or two carefully selected
graduate classes, and harsh back on other classes with the purpose of semester, will often head start you to ?Nd
Exciting exploration problems to design on.
Note: Your grades can be somewhat low – under 3.0 – as you were having a excellent schedule
In college and you can therefore be having danger getting into a Ph.D. Agenda. Voguish this defense, you
Can need to prepare an MS and custom the schedule to boost your grades and reapply similar to the MS.
3.2 GRE scores
The GRE exam has 2 parts, which you can take on the same calendar day or sundry days.
I. The universal GRE exam – This is very much like the SAT test you took to grasp into scholar educate, excepting
with the purpose of it has Quantitative (Math), Verbal (English), and an Analytic Writing
Ii. The question exam – If applying to a CS Ph.D. Agenda, you be supposed to probably take your question
Exam in CS, Math, or Engineering. Check with the educate you’re applying to.
Each exam is 3 hours long. You can study instead of these exams. I did. Most bookstores gain study
Guides with old exams. Study guides are too on the Web.
The GRE Verbal (English) portion is very parallel to the SAT. However, truthful as you got an
800 on your Verbal SAT does not mean with the purpose of you will duplicate this performance. If you’ve been in a
Agenda instead of 4 years, your vocabulary and understanding speediness are not could you repeat that? They were
4 years since. Also,
You’ll be competing with live in who majored in English instead of 4 years.
The Analytic Writing portion is sundry from the SAT. You will be asked to correspond with two essays.
Voguish the ?Rst you will be known an argument and asked to consider it. Voguish the support you will be asked to
Devote your perspective on a quantity of issue. There are examples known on the GRE complication sheet.
The Quantitative (Math) portion is very parallel to the SAT math test. It doesn’t run ahead of the
10th grade level.
The GRE exam is untaken all 2 months. Check not in this complication spot:
Instead of everything you eternally wanted to know a propos the GREs, counting test dates, test gathering place
And lots of in rank on how to study.
Once again: Your get on the GRE will be largely unnoticed by the top schools, particularly if you
Are next from a top educate. At CMU we look next to the Verbal GRE get barely what time the applicant is
Not a native presenter of English. We look next to the Subject test get barely what time we gain an concentration
From a educate whose CS realm we’re not familiar with.
At lesser-ranked schools, however, your GRE get can be the difference stuck between your getting
In or not.
Note: If you are planning to design instead of a the minority years stuck between completing your scholar
Degree and applying to graduate educate, I highly put in a good word for taking the GRE exam previously leaving
Your scholar educate. The material is fresh in your mind while you are an scholar, and
More importantly, your test-taking skills will fade while you’re working.
3.3 Personal statement
It’s misleading with the purpose of the not public statement is called a “personal” statement, since could you repeat
that? Admission
Committees are really looking instead of is a exploration statement. What admission committees need is
A statement a propos could you repeat that? Exploration you gain complete, could you repeat that? Exploration you
hope to prepare, and why you like
Here’s a outline if you need solitary:
I. First item – Describe the universal areas of exploration with the purpose of curiosity you and why. (This is
Advantageous instead of a agency to determine which professors be supposed to read your concentration.)
Ii. Second item and Third item – Descibe a quantity of exploration projects with the purpose of you worked on.
Recognize us could you repeat that? You found, could you repeat that? You learned, could you repeat that?
Approaches you tried. It’s ?Ne to say with the purpose of you
Were unable to ascertain could you repeat that? You wanted or to solve your obstacle.
Iii. Fourth item – recognize us why you feel you need a Ph.D.. Look back to section 2 and explain
Could you repeat that? In in attendance appealed to you.
Iv. Fifth item – recognize us why you need to be as long as to CMU. Whom might you like to design with?
What credentials gain you looked next to from CMU with the purpose of you enjoyed understanding? What will CMU
It’s focal to realize with the purpose of the exploration statement is not a dedication to prepare exploration in with
the purpose of
Area. A third of all applicants result up working in an area sundry from with the purpose of which they described on
Their exploration statement.
Here are the collective mistakes with the purpose of partially of our applicants knock together:
• The grade regurgitator – “In my extreme educate, I was ranked Number 1. Then I got a just right
Get on my college admission exams. Then I competed in a statewide math competition and
I was the unsurpassed. Then I competed in a nationalized encoding competition and I was 5th. Voguish
College, my GPA was 3.95 not in of 4.0. For these reasons, I believe I will prepare well in your
Graduate realm.”
What’s sin against with this? This portion of the essay is a desecrate of cosmos. Awards are certainly
Germane, however several give you won be supposed to be listed on a separate chunk of paper which
Is patrician “Awards and Honors” and which you can include with your concentration. There is
Veto senses to tell us all this in your essay. It will barely piss-off the live in reviewing your
Concentration as they already read all this in rank earlier in your concentration and they
Instantly need to hear a propos exploration barely.
• The boy genius – “When I was born, my protect gave me a tumbler sphere to occupy yourself with. I would
Lay and look next to the prisms of light shining through my sphere. At age 3, my father brought homeland
Our ?Rst laptop and I disassembled it and at that moment place it back collected. It was at that moment with the
purpose of I knew
I wanted to turn out to be a laptop scientist. By age 5, I had taken apart all appliance in our
Cottage. At age 6, I became a chess whiz ....”
What’s sin against with this? We simply don’t concern could you repeat that? You did as a product, and we don’t
You either. You’d be surprised how many applications from Einstein-wanna-be’s we grasp. If
You really think this is germane, place the focal particulars on a separate sheet of paper, and
Include it in your concentration. It’s unsurpassed if your essay can stick with stuff you did in college and
Soon after.
3.4 Previous Research Experience
At the same time as I’ve held earlier, to grasp into a top graduate educate you need aforementioned exploration
experience. This is
Not necessarily stanch instead of schools beneath the top 10, or maybe even the top 5. Note with the purpose of
aforementioned exploration
Experience does not mean with the purpose of you need to gain available a paper. It does not even mean with the
purpose of your
Exploration needs to gain yielded a conclusion – results can every so often take years. We truthful need to gain
Con?Dence with the purpose of you know could you repeat that? Burden exploration is like. At CMU we receive
hundreds of applications
Apiece day from 4.0 GPA students who gain not at all complete exploration. These are all place into the extreme
Mound and are subsequently rejected.
So the question is, somewhere can you grasp this exploration experience?
There are ?Ve sitting room somewhere you might grasp exploration experience:
I. At the same time as an scholar, you can prepare exploration with a professor. I did this. You can even grasp way
Belief instead of this, and every so often if you’re really fluky you can grasp paid a little (e.G., at some stage in the
Ii. At the same time as an scholar, you can apply instead of a summer internship next to a exploration lab, e.G.,
Did this. They will recompense you a little and you will ascertain a fate a propos burden exploration. This was a
Downright experience instead of me! Here’s the complication spot instead of the AT&T summer agenda with the
purpose of I attended:
When you run to this complication spot, click on “Special Programs and Fellowships.”
Iii. After graduating, you can grasp a job, somewhere every so often you can prepare exploration on the job. I did
Iv. At the same time as an MS scholar, you will design on an MS project.
In opposition to. You can design single-handedly or with a colleague. Ask professors in your classes to tell you a
propos exciting unfasten problems and extra exploration (most professors have burden this). Ask them to tell
You names of league proceedings. For illustration in my area (performance modeling of
Laptop systems) a germane league proceeding is Sigmetrics. Sit down and start understanding
These proceedings. You will be as long as across all sorts of exciting problems. Think a propos how
You can get well ahead the solution projected in the paper.
Since the majority of you understanding this are probably undergraduates in your Junior day, I will splurge
The majority of my schedule conversation a propos option 1 exceeding. Unfortunately, convincing a professor to take
you on
Instead of a exploration project is every so often easier held than complete. I gain therefore place collected the
How to ask a professor to prepare exploration with him:
I. Make a inventory of professors with whom you might need to design. Most professors gain a complication
Sheet with lots of credentials and descriptions of their exploration. Take your schedule and read these.
Ii. Make a sudden sheet a propos manually. This is a one-page chunk of paper which you will be
Giving not in. It be supposed to gain the following in rank a propos you:
(a) Your photo. Professors can’t remember names, but they prepare remember faces.
(b) Your bigwig and make contact with info.
(c) Brief picture of your exploration interests.
(d) Your availability – are you looking instead of a full-time summer locate, a part-time fall
Locate, both? How many hours can you dedicate to this project? Are you looking instead of
Refinement belief?
(e) List of all refinement you took and your grade and the professor you took it with (professors
Like to discourse to apiece other a propos you).
(f) Relevant preceding experience and skills.
Iii. Talk with your scholar advisor – next to CMU this is blot Stehlik – a propos whether anybody
Has an unfasten locate instead of scholar exploration. Blot maintains many such lists.
Iv. Pick a professor from your inventory. Go to his/her of?Ce hours or dispatch email to schedule an appointment
(most professors have a preference of?Ce hours). Explain your job and devote your sudden
Sheet. Occur prepared instead of the following questions which he can ask you:
(a) Do you gain several ideas a propos could you repeat that? You might need to prepare exploration on?
(b) Which of my projects are you the majority interested in working on?
(c) Describe your math background.
(d) Describe your encoding background.
With very extreme probability the professor will thank you instead of your curiosity, but tell you with the purpose of
Isn’t taking on several undergraduates this name. This does not mean with the purpose of he hates you! Occur
Try the after that person on your inventory. You can gain to try this 10 epoch. Hang in in attendance. If the
Professor does say all right, you need to be prepared with your own inventory of questions:
(a) What is the goal of the project?
(b) What exactly will be my responsibilities?
(c) Whom will I design with? – e.G., will you design precisely with the professor, with solitary of
His graduate students, with a different scholar?
(d) What background material can I read to ascertain more a propos this project?
(e) What textbooks can I study to ascertain more a propos this exploration area?
Warning instead of international applicants: The admissions agency needs to be able to evaluate
Your exploration. If your publications appear in conferences/journals which we are not familiar with
And gain veto access to, at that moment we cannot evaluate the quality of your design. Voguish my experience, this
As a rule leads us to lower such publications. If you don’t need this to come about, now are two things
You be supposed to prepare:
I. Publish in worldwide familiar conferences – ask your advisor.
Ii. Create a complication spot with the purpose of has relatives to all of your credentials in English in either postscript
or pdf.
Explain in your concentration with the purpose of all of your credentials can be found on your complication spot.
3.5 Recommendations
Perhaps the the majority focal part of your concentration is the inscription of recommendation. You will need
3 inscription of recommendation instead of the Ph.D. Agenda, and typically 4 inscription of recommendation instead
of a
3.5.1 Whom to ask instead of a correspondence
Ideally you would like to knock together all your inscription of recommendation count. Consider the following
Two inscription:
I. Letter 1: “I highly put in a good word for scholar X instead of your graduate agenda. Student X usual an
A+ in my scholar algorithms refinement. He was ranked Number 2 not in of 100 students. He
Got the highest get on the ?Nal. He worked very thick-skinned all semester, not at all missed a refinement,
And was each time able to answer the questions with the purpose of I asked in refinement. This diligent line
Makes him an superb candidate instead of several graduate agenda. ”
Ii. Letter 2: “I highly put in a good word for scholar Y instead of your graduate agenda. Student Y usual a B in
My scholar algorithms refinement. He was ranked Number 29 not in of 100 students. Halfway
Through the semester we happening working on set of contacts ?Ows. Student Y seemed exceedingly
Excited by this issue. He disappeared instead of 4 weeks and even missed an exam. However what time he
Came back, he showed me a quantity of design he had been burden on a extra set of contacts ?Ow algorithm
instead of
High-degree graphs. He had complete a quantity of simulations and had a quantity of proofs. I’ve been working
With scholar Y instead of the history join months since at that moment and he is rounded of ideas instead of extra
I think scholar Y’s initiative makes him an superb candidate instead of several graduate agenda.”
Which correspondence prepare you think is stronger? It turns not in with the purpose of Letter 2 is very strong.
Letter 1 really
Counts as 0. At CMU we mark all inscription like correspondence 1 with the acronym D.W.I.C.. This stands instead of
“Did Well voguish Class” which counts instead of 0, since we already know from the student’s transcript with the
purpose of
He did well in refinement. By contrast, scholar Y’s correspondence gives us a fate of in rank. It explains with the
purpose of
The senses scholar Y didn’t prepare better in refinement was with the purpose of he was eventful burden
exploration. It too tells
Us with the purpose of scholar Y happening burden exploration on his own initiative, and with the purpose of he is
quite excellent next to burden
Exploration. The professor was impressed sufficient with scholar Y’s ideas with the purpose of he took him on as a
Scholar researcher despite scholar Y not having extreme grades.
You need your inscription to all be of type 2 (this doesn’t mean with the purpose of you be supposed to skip
refinement!). Remember with the purpose of inscription of type 1 will not count. You need language like self-
motivated, strong exploration
Promise , own initiative, self-supporting, and driven to appear in your inscription. These are the language with the
purpose of
We orbit what time understanding recommendation inscription. You therefore need to ask inscription from live in who
Gain seen you prepare exploration. These can be professors or employers.
One caveat: It makes a quantity of difference whom you ask instead of a correspondence. At the same time as a
universal decree (there are
Each time exceptions due to people’s fame), inscription from professors count the the majority. Next highest are
Inscription from exploration scientists. After with the purpose of be as long as inscription from lecturers, systems
scientists, employers,
Or postdocs. Please prepare not grasp a correspondence from a graduate scholar. If you found manually burden
Somewhere you were supervised by a graduate scholar or postdoc, you be supposed to ask the professor instead of
They design if she can co-write the correspondence. The senses is clean: Professors are the ones understanding the
Correspondence, and they are the majority likely to know other professors.
There is an concern instead of students who gain been working instead of a while. You will certainly need a
From your employer, but you will too need two inscription from professors. This was an concern instead of me
What time I functional to graduate educate. What I did was to keep trace with a the minority professors at some
stage in my
Schedule next to design. When I was disposed to apply to graduate educate, I contacted the professors who knew
Me well and scheduled a seminar with them to discuss the exploration with the purpose of I had complete while I
I gave them apiece an oral presentation. I too gave them apiece writeups of apiece of my projects.
3.5.2 How to ask instead of a correspondence
Asking instead of a correspondence of recommendation won’t be a obstacle if you gain been burden exploration with
Person, but with the purpose of won’t be achievable in all defense. Here’s a guideline which will get the most out of
the contents
Of your correspondence. This factory on the theory with the purpose of professors gain very little schedule and little
recall (both
Of which are excellent assumptions):
I. Prepare a packet instead of apiece recommender. This packet be supposed to contain all the germane in rank a
propos you with the purpose of might help the recommender. Occur gentle not to knock together the packet too
Here’s could you repeat that? Be supposed to be in it:
(a) Your statement of resolution.
(b) A sudden of all exploration project you worked on and with whom, not considering of
Whether this was next to a educate or exploration lab. If you gain available a paper, or gain
A technical register, please include with the purpose of too.
(c) A sheet of paper record all math/cs/engineering/science classes you gain taken with the
Names of professors and grades.
(d) A inventory of additional activities and awards/competitions.
At the top of the packet be supposed to be:
(a) A modern photo of you – professors receive many such packets and don’t remember you
The support similar to you leave the of?Ce.
(b) Directions. E.G., please seal and sign and dispatch to this attend to by Jan. 5. Put an earlier
Go out with than the real deadline – professors are disgracefully put off.
(c) Con?Rmation in rank: Please dispatch me email next to break attend to similar to you dispatch this sour.
If I don’t hear from you by Jan. 5th, I will dispatch you an email reminder. (You need this
Con?Rmation in rank as otherwise you’ll not at all know if the recommendation
Was sent and you’ll be sitting around biting your nails wondering.)
Ii. Go to your promise recommender with your packet and ask him/her the following question: “Do you feel
comfortable copy a strong correspondence of recommendation instead of me to graduate
Educate?” You need to phrase the question this way so with the purpose of the promise recommender has a
Way not in. Do not be upset if the promise recommender says veto. It is excellent with the purpose of he/she permit
Know. This is much better than getting a weak correspondence.
Iii. Check with the educate to con?Rm with the purpose of they gain usual a correspondence from apiece of your
Iv. Remember to next to slightest dispatch your recommender a thank you certificate! It’s a fate of design to
correspond with a
Decent recommendation correspondence, and you can need more inscription in the coming.
3.6 Awards and Extracurriculars
Often applications prepare not gain suf?Cient cosmos instead of record awards you can gain usual, or additional
activities which you participate in. Think a propos something germane and include it on a
Separate sheet of paper, which you put together to your concentration. A particularly germane additional
Movement which many live in prepare, but don’t think to memorandum is tutoring or preceding TA experience. A
History of tutoring suggests with the purpose of you are a excellent teacher, which is highly connected with being a
Researcher as well.
3.7 How many schools be supposed to you apply to?
There is veto decree a propos how many applications you be supposed to dispatch not in. People by and large apply
to 3
Schools next to their level, 2 schools exceeding their level (you can grasp lucky), and 1 or 2 schools beneath
Their level (you need a safety school). If you are unsure a propos could you repeat that? Your level is, ?Nd a scholar
With a parallel concentration to yours and consider somewhere he was accepted/rejected. You can too ask
Your recommenders to evaluate your concentration and tell you your approximate level. Voguish choosing
A educate, you can too need to consider schools which are very strong in your actual area of
Curiosity, but perhaps not as strong overall. Read Section 5 on how to select a educate.
4 Fellowship Information
4.1 Why you need to apply
Even previously you decide which schools you need to apply to, you be supposed to pick not in which outside
Fellowships you are eligible instead of and apply to all of these. I myself functional to 5 outside fellowships.
Many outside fellowships require a U.S. Nationality, so not one and all is eligible. There are next to slightest 4
Reasons to apply instead of a camaraderie:
I. If you are awarded the camaraderie, it is an honor with the purpose of will forever appear on your cv.
Ii. An outside camaraderie typically pays instead of several years of graduate educate. This leaves you free of charge
To pick several advisor you need to design with and not at all gain to anxiety a propos whether this person
Has funding or not.
Iii. An outside camaraderie makes you an delightful target instead of several educate and instead of several advisor.
I usual a 6-year camaraderie, I right now sent all educate I had functional to a postcard
Notifying them. Within a week they all received me – Why not? I came free of charge of charge.
Iv. You’re a fool not to apply instead of next to slightest a join fellowships. If you’re excellent sufficient to grasp into
A top educate, at that moment you’re excellent sufficient to grasp a camaraderie.
Warning: The deadlines instead of fellowships are as a rule a month or two earlier than the deadlines
Instead of graduate educate.
4.2 List of fellowships
Below is a inventory of the fellowships with the purpose of I am personally familiar with. Please check the
complication instead of other
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship – This is the camaraderie with the purpose of one and all applies instead of. It
pays instead of
3 years of your tuition and stipend. It is barely open to undying residents or US citizens.
All in rank is open now:
NDSEG Graduate Fellowship – This camaraderie pays instead of 3 years of your tuition and stipend. It is
Barely open to U.S. Citizens. All in rank is open now:
Hertz Fellowship – This camaraderie pays instead of 5 years of your tuition and stipend. It is barely open
To US citizens and undying residents. The camaraderie has a pretty tough interview process.
When I functional they asked me to correspond with the Taylor Series growth instead of a quantity of functions. All
In rank is open now:
AT&T Labs Graduate Fellowship – This camaraderie pays instead of 6 years of your tuition and stipend.
It is barely open to undying residents or US citizens who are women or minorities. All
In rank is open now:
When you run to this complication spot, click on “Special Programs and Fellowships.”
National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) – This camaraderie pays instead of 6 years of stipend. It
Was originally designed instead of women and minorities, but they often consider white males to be
Minorities. All in rank is open now:
The exceeding fellowships are all universal fellowships with the purpose of don’t place several restriction on your
There are too specialty fellowships like DOE Computational Science Fellowship or the DOE
High-Performance Computer Science Fellowship instead of students whose exploration prominence is
highperformance computing.
5 Choosing the healthy Ph.D. Agenda instead of you
By advance, you will hear from all the Ph.D. Programs to which you functional. If you haven’t heard,
You be supposed to dispatch email to the person in charge of admissions. You will need to knock together a decision
By April 15, which doesn’t devote you much schedule. During the after that month and a partially, the majority
Will gain an Open House, at some stage in which they invite received prospective Ph.D. Students to visit
The educate and be acquainted with with faculty and other students. Do not skip these visits. They are a highly
Valuable source of in rank. Remember with the purpose of you are choosing a place somewhere you will splurge the
After that 6 years, and choosing faculty with whom you will design instead of the after that 6 years.
Below are truthful a the minority things to consider in the schools with the purpose of you visit. You will need to
decide instead of
Manually which things are the majority focal to you.
I. Count the faculty in your chosen area of exploration. Now take from all the ones who are not
Really show (their bigwig appears on the complication sheet, but they’re really on leave). The
Numeral not here are the capital you will gain to help you with your thesis exploration. Since partially
Of all live in result up changing their exploration area, it’s a excellent initiative to duplicate this count instead of next
Slightest two more areas with the purpose of you might be interested in open into.
Ii. Count the numeral of faculty whose exploration you feel really excited a propos. Now take from sour
The numeral who are not taking on students. What’s not here is the numeral of faculty whom you
Might be choosing from what time you look instead of an advisor.
Iii. Try to assess the character contained by the realm. Is the character competitive or collaborative? Do live in have
a propensity to mix areas (e.G., exploration combines systems and theory) or stick
To solitary area. A fate of hints can be gleaned by looking next to the seats arrangements: Are areas
Separated by ?Oor, or diverse up? Are the students contained by an of?Ce all working in the same
Area, or are students diverse up? Are the faculty of?Ces separated in ?Oors from the scholar
Of?Ces, or are faculty of?Ces side-by-side with scholar of?Ces.
Iv. How are graduate students treated contained by your area? Perhaps the the majority focal question
Now is: How freqently prepare the grad students in your area be acquainted with with their advisors? Talk with
Students of professors with whom you are in view of working with. What prepare they design on?
Are they excited by their exploration? Is their advisor advantageous? Do they like the other students?
Graduate students will let slip all!
In opposition to. How are graduate students treated by the realm overall? What is the equipment and of?Ce
Cosmos known to students? Does the realm gain a method instead of reviewing grad students and
Carriage them progress reports all semester (this is very focal to grasp you through your
Ph.D.). What is the division of students who be as long as in without a Ph.D. And really leave with
A Ph.D., (not an M.S.)?
Vi. How does funding design contained by the realm? Are you restricted to choosing an advisor
Who has funding? What happens if with the purpose of advisor loses her funding? Spirit you gain to at that moment
Turn out to be a training assistant?
Vii. What are the hurdles associated with completing the Ph.D. Degree? What are the way
Supplies? What exams will you gain to pass? What are the training supplies?
Viii. Pay a quantity of attention to could you repeat that? Is outside the realm. For illustration the Department of
Computer Science next to CMU (which consists of a propos 66 faculty) is enclosed contained by the School
Of Computer Science (which consists of greater than 200 faculty). The School of Computer Science
Is made up of a propos 6 creature departments counting the Computer Science realm,
The Robotics Institute, the Language Technology Institute, the Human Computer Interaction
Institute, and the rest.
Ix. Consider the overall position of realm. This is focal barely as it determines the
Standard quality of your peers (the other graduate students). Your peers are the live in who
Will teach you the the majority in graduate educate.
X. Lastly, keep in mind the cost of living. At almost all graduate educate, you can expect a
Stipend of around $1700 for each month. Voguish a quantity of cities, you will live like a king sour of this. Voguish
Others you will be live like a churchmouse. This can not trouble you next to ?Rst, but it can grow
Old similar to 6 years.
6 Current 2002 Rankings of CS Ph.D. Programs in the U.S.
I’m counting the 2002 Rankings from the U.S. News & World Report instead of the top 40 CS PhD
Programs: (Ranking get is not in of 5)
1. Carnegie Mellon University (PA) 4.9
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4.9
Stanford University (CA) 4.9
University of California-Berkeley 4.9
5. University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 4.6
6. Cornell University (NY) 4.5
7. University of Texas-Austin 4.4
University of Washington 4.4
9. Princeton University (NJ) 4.3
10. California Institute of Technology 4.1
University of Wisconsin-Madison 4.1
12. Georgia Institute of Technology 4.0
University of Maryland-College Park 4.0
14. Sunburned University (RI) 3.9
University of California-Los Angeles 3.9
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 3.9
17. Rice University (TX) 3.8
University of North Carolina-Chapel prominence 3.8
University of Pennsylvania 3.8
20. Columbia University (NY) 3.7
Duke University (NC) 3.7
Harvard University (MA) 3.7
Purdue University-West Lafayette (IN) 3.7
University of California-San Diego 3.7
25. University of Massachusetts-Amherst 3.6
Yale University (CT) 3.6
27. University of Southern California 3.5
University of Virginia 3.5
29. Johns Hopkins University (MD) 3.3
New York University 3.3
Rutgers State University-New Brunswick (NJ) 3.3
SUNY-Stony Brook 3.3
University of California-Irvine 3.3
University of Utah 3.3
35. Ohio State University 3.2
Penn State University-University Park 3.2
University of Arizona 3.2
University of Chicago 3.2
University of Colorado-Boulder 3.2
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 3.2
Washington University in St. Louis 3.2
Take this position with a grain of salt. Ranking is based on people’s opinions. Even very low
Ranked schools gain a quantity of really downright professors and a quantity of very famous professors. Also
With the purpose of a famous professor does not imply a downright advisor.

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