So You Want to Work For Me?

This is for EVERYONE - be sure to read everything, whether you are applying for a PhD, GUROP, research assistantship, post-doc, independent study, or any other opportunity for working with me.

NOTE: While this is in the Georgetown context, the philosophy holds for Virginia Tech. If you are a Virginia Tech student / prospective student / prospective post-doc / prospective faculty, be sure to read to the end.

What does it take: Georgetown’s Perspective

I do take on Postdocs, PhD, Masters, and skilled, motivated undergraduate students. Much of the below is oriented to PhD students, but Masters and undergraduates would be well served to read to the end as well. If you are thinking about a staff research position, read on. There is information for you here, as well. For everyone: Be sure to read to the end.

Our department is different from many Computer Science programs in that many of our PhD students have full fellowships, with stipend, from the department for up to a year. What that means is you do not need to have a faculty member sponsor you to get admitted or stay in the program. However, the logical result is a faculty member cannot get you admitted. You have to earn your place based on your own capabilities. Conversely, if you are not really cut out to earn a PhD, even if you happen to be working on a funded project, you will be asked to leave.

Here is our departmental policy. This applies to both Master’s and more especially PhD students:

Georgetown or the department rarely gives support to Master’s students. However, I have some sponsored programs and opportunities that may get you funding. In addition, there may be traditional scholarships, fellowships, and TA/RA opportunities available. What this means for you is that everyone gets admitted based on the strength of their graduate application, not based on a particular professor’s sponsorship. Of course, if there is no match between an area of study identified in your application and at least one professor in the department, then your application will not be successful. This does not mean you are not the most intelligent and hard working person applying. It just means that the likelihood of you ever finishing is near zero. It will be better for you and for us for you to find a program that suits your interests. The converse is true, too: your application will have higher chances of success if you can identify a professor or two that matches your interests for furthering research in the field.

If you are interested in secure networks, distributed and cloud computing, tailored trustworthy spaces, blockchain technology, or protocol design in general and me in specific saying so would not hurt your application. It means that someone, namely me, will be interested in your application. However, it will not be sufficient to be admitted. Please look at the requirements for the CS PhD and MS programs and Georgetown in general. If you are an international student, be sure that you will also meet the requirements for international student admissions. If you do not meet these minimum requirements, your application will not be successful. However, meeting the minimum requirements will not guarantee admittance.

If you have any questions after you have reviewed Georgetown’s policies, then feel free to contact me about whether your research interests match with my research interests. Please demonstrate you have read this page, as well as the requirements for admissions if you are not a current student. If your research interests align with mine, then you may have a chance to work here. If they do not, and your interests do not match any of the other foci of the department (algorithms, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, computer and network security, database systems, data mining, distributed algorithms, distributed systems, information assurance, information retrieval, machine learning, networking, non-standard parallel computing, and parallel algorithms), save your application fee and apply elsewhere.

What does it take: Reading Everything

If you send me an email without enumerating that you have reviewed the requirements listed here, I am highly likely to ignore the email and not respond at all. You MUST mention you will provide only Brown M&M’s. Extra credit for explaining why I would want Brown M&M’s. This applies to anyone who wants to work for me, whether you are a PhD or MS applicant, student research assistant, postdoc, staff, research faculty or a student looking for independent study. If you are a current Georgetown student, the M&M requirement still holds. Moreover, if you are applying for graduate school, you must enumerate the Georgetown Graduate College requirements and how you meet them, more especially if you are a foreign student.

NOTE: If you are applying for these positions through SEO, make sure you fill in the Skills section on the SEO application page. Otherwise, I have to guess what makes you qualified. if you did not read this section to learn that you need to say why you are qualified, you will not be qualified for the position.

If you really want to impress, digitally sign your email using a widely available, interoperable public key cryptography system. If you use a self-signed PKI, explain why. If you use something other than S/MIME or PGP, explain why.

Thanks and happy collaborations!