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Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science Mor Harchol-Balter School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University Last updated 2004 1 Introduction This document is intended for people applying to Ph.D. programs in computer science or related areas. The document is informal in nature, and is meant to express only the opinions of the author. The author is currently an assistant professor of computer science at CMU, and has been involved in the Ph.D. admissions process at CMU, U.C. Berkeley, and MIT. Please direct any further questions you have after reading this document to the admis- sions coordinator Martha Clarke (mwc@cs.cmu.edu). Do not send email to the author of this document. Contents 1 Introduction 1 2 Do I really want a Ph.D.? What does a Ph.D. entail? 2 2.1 What is a Ph.D.? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2.2 Lack of emphasis on courses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2.3 The research process and advisor/advisee relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.4 Frustrations and joys of research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2.5 Funding during the Ph.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.6 Life after the Ph.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.7 Should I get a Ph.D.? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1
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3 The Application Process 7 3.1 Transcript – grades and classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3.2 GRE scores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3.3 Personal statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3.4 Previous Research Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 3.5 Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3.5.1 Whom to ask for a letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3.5.2 How to ask for a letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 3.6 Awards and Extracurriculars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 3.7 How many schools should you apply to? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 4 Fellowship Information 16 4.1 Why you need to apply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 4.2 List of fellowships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 5 Choosing the right Ph.D. program for you 17 6 Current 2002 Rankings of CS Ph.D. programs in the U.S. 19 2 Do I really want a Ph.D.? What does a Ph.D. entail? 2.1 What is a Ph.D.? A Ph.D. is a long, in depth research exploration of one topic. By long we’re typically talking about 6 years. By in depth we mean that at the end of the Ph.D. you will be the world expert or close to it in your particular area. You will know more than your advisor about your particular research area. You will know about your research than anyone at your school. By
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2010 for the course PHYS 021 taught by Professor Dick during the Spring '08 term at GWU.

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gradschooltalk - Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer...

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