Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Getting into grad school for CS/CE PhD

  1. Sep 14, 2011 #1
    I've been reading the depressing forums over at "thegradcafe.com" and am beginning to wonder if I can get into any graduate school. From the sound of things over there, it is as if I should have published 10 papers and have a statue in gold at my undergrad university in order to be able to get into any PhD program for Computer Science or Computer Engineering.

    In all seriousness though, I'm looking for some feedback regarding my current application profile and what I can do (if anything) between now and when I apply for graduate school next Fall.

    Current Stats:
    • University: Large State School in CA
    • Major: Computer Engineering
    • Cumulative GPA: ~3.65
    • Major GPA: 4.00
    • Cumulative GPA for last year: 4.00

    Research Work:
    REU at UIUC
    Worked with a Professor for 10 weeks on a REU project involving synchronization of systems. No publication resulted, although the Professor has told me he liked my work and believes I am fit for graduate school. Unfortunately, he is disappointed that I did not continue my research once I left for the summer.

    Software Engineer in Research and Development at Cisco Systems
    Worked on an industry research project which focused on enabling code written for a single processor system to take advantage of multiple processors. I have submitted my own, first-author paper to an IEEE conference regarding a portion of my work on this project and will be listed as an author on the larger paper. I have no idea whether this paper will be accepted.

    However, according to the posts I've read, it seems as if the recommendation from my manager here will not matter, as it is an industry position and is "filler". Can anyone comment on this? Why would a recommendation from someone involved in industry research not matter in the admissions process?

    Recommendation Sources
    Other then the two recommendations which will likely result from my previous research work, I'm well known within my university's Computer Engineering department and have a few Professors who could write me positive letters of recommendation which go beyond simply mentioning my grades. I worked with one of them on a project for 6 months which may result in a patent in the future, so he may serve as my third recommendation.

    So, all of that said, how are things looking? Can anyone comment regarding my choice to take an industry research position last summer (I could have done another REU, but there was confusion regarding what exactly I would be working on at the REU...). I will likely be applying again to REU programs this year for next summer, so I may have one last chance at getting some additional research experience.

    Thanks for any feedback
  2. jcsd
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Can you offer guidance or do you also need help?