External PhD Applicant Guide

Graduating non-NYU Undergrad and Master’s students who would like me to advise them as a PhD student.

This post is a work-in-progress. I have more info to add here when I get more time.

Table of Contents

  1. Application Timeline
  2. Online Application Tips
  3. English Proficiency Exam
  4. Letters of Recommendation
    1. Selecting Recommenders
    2. Asking Recommenders
  5. Contact Me

Application Timeline

NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, as with most schools, has an annual application deadline in the fall for students to start their PhD in the following fall. For example, students applying in fall 2024 would be admitted for the fall 2025 semester.

  • Summer
    • You should begin requesting your letters of reference from trusted mentors
    • Take an English proficiency exam, if required
  • September – November: PhD application opens. Check the NYU Tandon application portal for details.
  • December: PhD application closes. You should have your application in by the deadline. It is fine for letters of reference to come in shortly after the deadline, but earlier is better.
  • December – March: Applications are reviewed. It takes some time to collect all documents, letters, etc.
  • February – April: Admission decisions are released.
  • April 15: CGS deadline to accept an offer of admission. NYU is a member of CGS and abides by this.
  • April: Waitlist admissions. A very small percentage of students will be waitlisted and may be admitted between April 15 and May 1.

Online Application Tips

Here are important items to verify when filling out your application in the online portal:

  • Under Program Information, select “Doctorate in Electrical Engineering”.
  • Under “faculty member(s) you wish to collaborate with”, include my name (you can include other faculty you are interested in as well)
  • The GRE exam is optional, so you need not take it if you haven’t already.
  • An English language proficiency exam is required for international applicants. You can find the list of accepted exams and minimum scores under “Test Information”.
  • Be sure to apply by the posted application deadline.

For now, the best thing you can do is send me i I get many requests from students to work with me, and as much as I would love to mentor students, I unfortunately can’t respond to all requests.

English Proficiency Exam

An English proficiency exam is required unless:

  1. You will have completed a 4-year bachelor’s degree at a primarily English-speaking institution by the time you matriculate at NYU.
  2. You will have completed a 2-year master’s degree at a primarily English-speaking institution by the time you matriculate at NYU.

Letters of Recommendation

For letters of recommendation, please reach out to your recommenders early so that they have time to write their letters. Not giving your recommender enough time will cause a rushed letter, and it can show when reviewing the letter.

Selecting Recommenders

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting your recommenders because applicants can have wildly different backgrounds. The best recommenders (to me) will be (roughly):

  1. Someone who I know personally or professionally, e.g. someone who is academically active in top-tier computer architecture, VLSI, or EDA venues
  2. Someone who has supervised you in academic research, especially if it led to a publication
  3. Someone who has supervised you in a work or professional setting, especially if the work involved independent investigation or research.
  4. Someone who supervised you in an independent study, thesis project, or project-based course.
  5. Someone else with credentials who knows you well and can speak well on your behalf.

The most important things I look for are strong recommendations (someone who can speak about you enthusiastically), and recommendations which discuss your aptitude and passion for research. These include things like being able to work well independently and having interest in exploring novel directions. If are reading this, please include the word “shibboleet” in your initial email to me to show that you’ve read this guide carefully.

Asking Recommenders

It is extremely important for your letters to be strong and show the best reflection of you. When asking recommenders for letters, ask them specifically if they can write you a strong letter and be an advocate on your behalf.

Offer your recommender an easy and polite method to decline if they don’t think they can write a strong letter for you. That way, you won’t put them in an awkward situation of them having to write a mid-tier letter for you.

Many applicants will not have multiple stellar recommenders they can ask; that’s normal and okay, especially if you are applying directly from undergrad. In this case, you should strategize your letter writers so that you have all important aspects covered among them.

An example might be to ask:

  1. Your undergraduate advisor whom you did research with and knows you very well (strong letter)
  2. A professor whose project-based course you did well in and they remember you (good letter)
  3. Your summer internship mentor who had some interaction with you, but perhaps the work wasn’t very independent (decent letter)

Contact Me

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD with me, please read this page carefully and send me an email with:

  1. A copy of your CV
  2. Your undergraduate transcript
  3. Your graduate transcript (if a graduate student)
  4. A description of what area(s) of research you are interested in (computer architecture, VLSI, EDA) and why

© 2024. All rights reserved.

Last site update: 2024-06-12