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a very incomplete list of websites with related or useful reference information

Frequently Asked Questions by prospective graduate students:

  • Q: Are you taking on new grad students next September?
  • A: Yes. We tend to welcome about 2-4 new grad students every year.
  • Q: What projects do you have available for new grad students?
  • A: You can make a good guess about the latest projects in our group by looking at the latest 20 or so published papers. Beyond that, it's a bit hard to tell too specifically, if you are asking this a year in advance. We will tailor and narrow down your specific project(s) in the summer preceding your first quarter at Stanford.
  • Q: Will you admit me to your group?
  • A: Stanford EE grad school works by admission to the department, not to a particular group. Thus, we can discuss choice of projects and whether our group is a good fit after you get into the Stanford PhD program. Keep in mind that most (but not all) first-year grad students do a rotation program to determine which group to eventually join. Some first-year grad students do join a group directly, if a very good fit is determined. However, this decision (both on the student and advisor side) is usually made after the admission process ends, e.g. during the summer preceding their first quarter at Stanford.
  • Q: Will you be able to fund me?
  • A: All students admitted to the Stanford EE PhD program receive at least a one-year EE fellowship. Some receive 3-year SGF fellowships, and others come with external fellowships, e.g. from NSF, NDSEG, DOE, Hertz, NASA, GEM, or NSERC. (If you are eligible for these, you should definitely apply.) Thus, even at the very minimum, if you are admitted you will have funding for the first year. In addition, during my time at Stanford, I have not yet seen any graduate students (in the PhD program) go without funding. So don't worry about funding!
  • Q: Do you take on students from departments other than EE?
  • A: Yes. Our group has welcomed students from Computer Engineering, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics (or Applied Physics) in the past. You can also join us from Aero Astro, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or any department where a good amount of overlap exists with what we do.
  • Q: How can I draw your attention to my application?
  • A: The best way to do this is to select my name (Eric Pop) among the top-3 faculty advisors of interest when you apply. This way your application will be "flagged" for me in our system, and I will be asked to review it. It's not a bad idea to email me personally, but if you do this please write a short but thoughtful message, showing that you read this page and understand what we work on. Attach your CV (in PDF) to the email. Do mention if you happen to have worked with one of our collaborators. Bonus points if you have read one (or more) of our papers and can explain how you would follow-up or improve on that study.
  • Q: Will my email be answered?
  • A: I will do my best, but please don't worry if you don't hear back. I get hundreds of inquiries about joining our group, and during peak time (Sep-Dec) several arrive every day. If it appears that you have not read this page and/or that you work in a different area, your email may go unanswered. If you are a very good fit to our group (in experiments, theory, or bringing some new expertise) then we should chat further. However, the real discussion (e.g. about selecting research topics) will start after we begin evaluating applications and/or after you are admitted.
  • Q: How do I increase my chances of admission (in general)?
  • A: Have a high GPA and high GREs, including those on the verbal parts (e.g. 4+ on Analytical Writing, and preferably 5+ for native English speakers). Have three excellent reference letters from people who know your research and work ethic well. Be a co-author on a few publications or conference proceedings, and/or have won some awards. Work in an area that has good intellectual overlap with at least one Stanford faculty member.
  • Q: I got into the MS program, how do I transfer to the PhD program?
  • A: We've had several students doing this successfully in the recent past. If we agree that you are a good fit, you can begin research with our group during your MS. Then you will re-apply to the Stanford EE PhD program (either in your first or second year), requesting a reference letter from me and (preferably) one of our collaborators.
  • Q: How long does it take to get a PhD in your group?
  • A: 4.5 to 6 years. It depends on the project, how hard we work, and what challenges we encounter.
  • Q: Why should I come to Stanford (and join the Pop Lab)?
  • A: Balanced combination of fundamental and applied, experimental and theoretical research. World-class facilities and collaborators. Almost all meetings have food (or cookies and coffee). We like to set world records at nano-things. You'll learn how to publish interesting papers and give talks that lead to "best student" awards. Alumni who hobnobbed with #44. Location in the good-weather-part of the wonderful SF Bay Area.


updated Nov 2017