Jeffrey A. Bilmes: Prospectives
- Students applying to graduate school at UW
- Students already at UW
- Others outside of UW (students, postdocs, summer interns, visiting scientists)
Students Applying to Graduate School at UW
Due to the volume of email I receive from prospective students, I cannot (and do not) respond personally to questions about admissions. If you are applying to the UW graduate program, then please read the prospective student information and contact the EE graduate admissions assistants at the advising office for any additional questions. They are extremely helpful.
Here is a set of standard questions and responses to the questions I'm frequently asked in student emails.
I have completed (am completing) my studies at a particular university and I have received very good marks from my university. I am very interested in your research. Do you think I should apply to your department and university? Can you look over my resume to let me know if I should apply?
I am not able to look over your resume. In any event, I do strongly recommend that you apply to UWEE in all cases. Once we have the applications, the admissions team looks over every application extremely carefully and makes final decisions only then. It is not possible to look over an individual resume and accurately assess admissions. Please look over our prospective student information and contact the EE graduate admissions assistants (email addresses are listed here) at the advising office for any additional questions. When in doubt, apply.
Do you have positions available for the next academic term?
It is quite likely I will, but I never know. Positions come in at unexpected times. In general, if you want the chance of a position, the best thing is to just apply. I can not look at your resume to tell you your chances, but if you do not apply, your chances are definitely zero.
Can I be your research assistant?
I cannot take on a research assistant unless they have already been admitted to UW. Admissions decisions are not made by individual faculty but by the UWEE admissions committee, who set very high standards on the caliber of students admitted. After all, you might end up working with another advisor later in your career.
You should also realize that on average, I only take on one or two new doctoral advisees per year. I usually select advisees from the pool of admitted students, after reading their folders and chatting to them in person.
I have funding from an external source, so I will cost you nothing. Can I be your research assistant?
Congratulations on receiving external funding! But you still have to make it through the admissions committee, which does not consider external funding as a factor when selecting students. I also personally do not consider external funding when selecting graduate advisees from the pool of admitted students, as quality and compatibility with my group are my overriding concerns.
I can only afford to come to UW if I receive support. Will I receive a RA or a TA appointment?
It is hard to say, as it depends on many things. The vast majority of our students ultimately receive full support for the remaining duration of their graduate career, either as RAs or TAs. Funding should not be a concern that stops you applying to UW.
Can you read my resume to see if I have a chance at UW?
Admission to graduate school in the UW EE department is highly competitive. The best judge of your chances are the faculty at your own institution, who should hopefully know you well and can compare you with other students from your school who were successful in gaining admission to graduate school. If in doubt, apply. You might also find it useful to contact our advising office
Almost all of our applicants have exceptional course grades, and so these are rarely a factor in admissions. The most important factor for admissions is the set of research projects you've been involved with, and letters of recommendation from your supervisors on those projects. If you are reading this before your senior year, then the single best way to improve your chances of gaining admission to the our program is to seek out a faculty advisor at your school and work on an independent undergraduate research project with them.
I am interested in graduate school and will be visiting UW, can I come by to see you and chat about your research?
Unfortunately, I am usually too busy myself, but my group will try to accommodate visitors if you give them sufficient notice and they are not too busy. Usually, my graduate students will make time to chat with you about our research and what graduate school is like here. Please note that a visit will have absolutely no impact on the admissions process, so please don't make a special trip solely to try to improve your chances.
Students at UW
I always try to respond to students who are already at UW, but it might take me up to a week or more to get back to you depending on my schedule. Please be patient. Why might it take me so long to respond? Because I have long passed the email event horizon. If it's been a week or so since you have sent me email and I still have not responded, it might have been that your email was sent to my spam box (which I do not check). Try sending email again.
Others Outside of UWI would like to do a postdoc or visiting scientist position with you, do you have any positions open?
I do work with some postdocs and visiting scientists.
If you wish to do a postdoc with me, then read the following. If you already have your own funding, then please just send me email. If you do not have your own funding, then chances are I already would have advertised the postdoc position in various places and have listed it on my home page. If you do not see a currently open postdoc position, then I do not have a funded postdoc position available.
If you wish to visit for a period of time as a self-funded visiting scientist or to spend your sabbatical with my group, then please just send me email.Please, however, do note the email event horizon issue I mentioned above. Email is a rapidly flowing river, and emails from individuals I do not know (and even from those I know) sometimes flow by without me even seeing them until many months later (I apologize for that).I would like to do a summer internship with you, do you have any positions open?
I do not in general take on summer interns, unless I am involved in a research collaboration with your current advisor, in which case we will have already discussed the possibility.I would like to do a summer internship with you, and I have funding so will work for free. Can I work with you?
I do not in general take on summer interns even with their own funding, unless I am involved in a research collaboration with your current advisor, in which case we will have already discussed the possibility.
I am currently at another school/company, I will work for you for free. Can you supervise my research?
No. I reserve my time for my students at UW.