What makes Wash U's PhD program unique?
Our faculty’s diverse research interests allow students to customize their PhD experience and find solutions to real-world problems. Students and faculty members work together in symbiotic relationships, and faculty members pay special attention to students to ensure student success in the program. The CSE department has a multidisciplinary paradigm that allows students and faculty to collaborate with other departments, guaranteeing interests are met.
"Wash U makes sure the relationship between students and advisors works. There is a level of attention here to make sure students succeed in the program. The research has a wow factor and people here are really good at finding interesting solutions to real-world problems."
-Agata Kargol, Computer Science PhD Student, Media & Machines Lab
Many students explore their research interests by coming into the program unattached, that is, without having decided on a specific research area. The first year of the PhD program involves students doing rotations. Students work with faculty members across a variety of computer science and engineering disciplines to find the best research area and advisor for them. Throughout their program, PhD students at Wash U are fully-funded, as research advisors cover tuition costs, and students receive a stipend through grants and fellowships. All new students will also receive a new high-end Apple laptop computer.
PhD students at Washington University stand out from students at other universities. Our students’ diversity and personality distinguish our program. Students and faculty are ethnically and religiously diverse, and have a variety of educational and experiential backgrounds. Many students are involved in the community and have hobbies outside of the program, such as Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. In other words, they are not stereotypical computer scientists and engineers.
How do I earn a PhD?
Students can choose to pursue a PhD in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. The requirements vary depending on which you choose. Here are the basics:
- Complete 72 units, including at least 33 units of regular courses, at least 3 units of seminar courses, and at least 24 units of research credits
- Satisfy fundamental and pedagogical teaching requirements
- Pass milestones demonstrating abilities to understand research literature, communicate orally and in writing, and formulate a detailed research plan
For more information, check out our Doctoral Program Guide, which details exactly how you will earn your PhD. This PhD may be completed as part of the MSTP program, and here is an example of the CSE MSTP (MD-PhD) timeline to help you understand how these programs would mesh.
What can I do with my PhD after I graduate?
Our doctoral graduates have gained employment at a variety of places. Some choose to stay in academia and now work as tenure or tenure-track faculty at universities like Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and here at Wash U. Other students pursue careers in the industry, working for companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, Google and Monsanto.