Skip to main content

Graduate School in Computer Science

What's not to love about computer science, why not learn more? Here are a few resources for the CS Grad School process:


Williams' CS Colloquium on Grad School

Might (2013). The Illustrated Guide to a PhD, personal website

Krishnamurthy (2021). Getting a Computer Science PhD in the USA, personal website.

Patterson (2001). How to have a bad career in research/academia, CRA Academic Careers Workshop

Hong (2013). PhD Students Must Break Away from Undergraduate Mentality, Communications of the ACM

Lillian (2016). Best HCI graduate programs in the US, The UX Blog.

PhD Comics

Interview Questions from CS and InfoSci PhD Programs

Kindly aggregated by Catherine Yeh '22 and peers

Generic Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about your background/research interests.
  • How do your previous research experiences connect to your current research interests?
  • Why are you interested in a PhD?
  • Why this school/program?
  • Where does our program rank for you? Are you considering other schools?
  • What are your plans after getting a PhD?
  • What is something that you're proud of?
  • What is your favorite project/one you're most proud of? What were some challenges you faced?
  • Tell me about a research experiment you conducted.
  • What kind of environment/team do you work best in?
  • Do you like working independently or as part of a team better?
  • What would you say is an area in which you have strengths? What is an area you are hoping to improve upon in graduate school?
  • What type of mentoring approaches most motivate you to do your best work?
  • What is something you want to be an expert in 5 years?
  • What's your favorite work of art?

Research Questions:

  • What’s a research question that keeps you up at night and you can see yourself working on for the next thirty years?
  • Tell me what your first research paper/project in grad school would be about. How would you go about designing and executing it?
  • What do you think is an important problem in science?
  • What is a current "hole" in the research world that you'd like to address?
  • What is a paper that really changed your perspective/inspired you/you've enjoyed recently? How would you extend it? How would you design a study based on your proposed extension? What are some relevant statistics you would look at for this study?
  • What publication venues are you most interested in/would like to participate in?
  • What do you love about research? Favorite/least favorite parts of research?
  • Which communities would you like to impact with your research?

Skill Questions:

  • Do you like the implementation/building or running studies part of HCI more?
  • What is your familiarity with programming, and which languages do you have experience with?
  • How do you feel about scientific writing? What are some of the challenges when writing about research?
  • What do you think are fundamental problems of AI?
  • What experience/knowledge do you have about the Open Science movement?
  • How would your work embody the principles of participatory design?
- Top -