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Programs Accepted Into a PhD Program: What Question Should I Ask?

  1. Mar 20, 2016 #1
    I got accepted into a PhD program this Friday! I am both very excited and nervous for this opportunity. I received a RA (19 grand for 9 months and an additional 6 grand for over the summer, totally 25 grand/yr), which states that I will be working on stochastic stability and control of drones/UAVs. This will be in the mechanical engineering department and should be a very interesting topic as it combines aircraft design, mathematical modelling, and fluid mechanics. Now that I have an offer with money, do you guys have any recommendations for questions I should ask? I have a few in mind, but I have been communicating back and fourth with the university for some time now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    What kind of health plan did you get? Is there some cost that comes out of your pocket?
  4. Mar 20, 2016 #3
    Congratulations! When I got accepted, the main question I asked was what the department's attrition rate for graduate students, if that's important to you, it might be worth asking.
  5. Mar 21, 2016 #4
    Good questions indeed. I forgot about attrition rate and with obamacare Im sure payroll deductions will be different than when I was in school.
  6. Mar 21, 2016 #5


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    Can they pay for you to visit the campus and speak with faculty and with students?
    How long is your RA-ship for? If that RA funding runs out, can you get a TA-ship?
    Is tuition and other fees included?
    What is the cost of living there? Is that stipend enough?
    When do you have to have to decide by? [ Are you waiting for other acceptance decisions? ]
  7. Mar 28, 2016 #6
    Ok, some feedback from my searching

    1, I don't need to visit the campus as I already did in November
    2, health insurance will cost about $150 a month or 1800 up front, but I think I can get this reduced though the NY market place. Im investigating now.
    3, I haven't asked about attrition, but I don't plan on dropping out so I don't think it will be a concern. Additionally, I was in a PhD program and left early on. The University I left were a bunch of scammers so I had an idea of what to look out for as I was interviewing schools.
    4, My RA is covered for the whole year, 2000/month
    5, I have not calculated specifics, but from the students I talked too the stipend sufficiently covered the cost of living. The students I spoke with said they made enough money to enjoy themselves on the weekend and pay for the essentials. I need to come up with a more quantitative assessment though.
    6, I have to make a decision by April 15th

    An additional question I asked was:
    Does my RA apply to a specific project that I will begin right away, or will that be decided after the first semester? The letter I received did not give specifics.
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