Read This First!
Please don't contact me before you've read all the relevant parts of this page. I will know if you haven't and I'll ignore your message.
Brown is one of the US's elite universities, and our computer science department is stellar. There are therefore lots of terrific reasons to want to study at Brown. If you read the rest of this page, I assume it's because you want to work with me; otherwise, please follow the instructions on the general graduate program pages.
Already at Brown?
If you're already at Brown, no matter what you are interested in applying for (summer research, etc.), please come by and meet me in person.
If you're a Brown student applying for a master's program, talk to me in person.
If you're applying for a master's from outside, please note that I am unlikely to fund a master's student. If I do fund one, it's only after they have been at Brown and have demonstrated significant expertise in my courses and can contribute something to my work in the short term.
If you want to write to me anyway, please follow the instructions for PhD students below, adapted accordingly.
Summer Interns from Outside Brown
I don't generally take non-Brown summer interns who require funding (though I have hosted students who come with their own funding). If you require funding, I will only consider you if you have exceptional credentials. The mere fact that you study at a school like IIT is insufficient: the Brown undergrads I get to work with are equally qualified, so your competition is extremely tough. If all you have done is a handful of standard courses and homework projects, I can find similar students outside my office. You should make a case for yourself just as a PhD student would: after all, you're competing for the same funding dollars. Therefore, please follow the heart of the instructions for PhD applicants.
Brown Computer Science funds all PhD students in full. Therefore, funding is not an issue: only admission is. I know what you're going to do next, so
Please don't send me attachments (especially resumes) or ask me questions about your chances of admission. Our decisions are made by a committee that considers the applicant pool as a whole. Furthermore, your decision hinges heavily on material, such as recommendation letters, that you can't send me. Therefore, I cannot give you any objective evaluation of your chances.
You can help your chances in two ways. First, you have to have a genuine interest in my work. Second, you have to not be clueless. If, for instance, you're asked to not do certain things (see above) but you do so anyway, it calls into question your reading comprehension and makes me much less interested in you.
To demonstrate interest in my work, you have to show that (1) you have some idea of what I do, (2) you have some background that at least intrigues me, and (3) some of my work interests you. The best way to do this is to show that you've read some of my papers or used some of my software in an interesting way. Write me a letter that
- indicates that you've read this page by including the phrase parens rock,
- summarizes your preparation (academics, work experience),
- describes highlights: particularly tough courses you took, especially profound texts you read, etc.,
- explains what you know of my work (which papers you've read, or what you've done with my software).
I realize I'm asking for a lot: you may have a form letter and attachment you've been sending out, and it probably doesn't fit the criteria above. But remember that you're asking for a lot, too: you're implicitly asking me to commit several years of time, funding, and emotional energy. Don't you think that kind of commitment deserves more than a form letter?
Postdocs and Research Scientists
I am interested in postdocs and research scientists. I'm opportunistic, and will work to accommodate outstanding candidates.
If you're close to completing a PhD or already have one, you should know how to establish communication with a scientific colleague, so I won't belabor the point. Nevertheless, you would do well to glance quickly at the instructions for PhD applicants, above.