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Joining LSDIS

Informal Information for those interested in Research Assistantship in the LSDIS Lab

General information about the Department's Graduate Programs (PhD, MS, MAMS) can be found at:

You may also send email for further information including applications for admission and assistantships or the status of your application to:

Application forms for admission can be obtained from or you can apply online at

We are always looking for highly qualified students interested students wishing to pursue Ph.D. We have funded between 4 to 15 RAs depending on the funding. In Fall 2004, 15 students were funded.

We get many inquiries from students interested in working as a research assistant (RA) in the LSDIS lab. Here is some general information:

Generally, those interested in continuing for or joining for PhD may get preference for RAships, but please do not overstate your intention to do a PhD just to get an RAship-- being candid is very important if want to graduate with faculty support behind you. Until you have taken advanced/subject GRE in CS and get admitted to our PhD program, I can't take your interest in pursuing PhD seriously.

My colleagues and I generally do not to give RAship in the very first quarter (and often in the first year) at UGA. Before getting an RAship, the professor needs to be sure the student is capable of carrying out research.  Students getting RAships usually have taken a course under the LSDIS faculty (, done a small project or independent study and have attended at least a few research project meeting.

  • I prefer that a student join our research group meetings for one or two quarter and/or carry our a small project (perhaps as a part of an individual study or in a class project in one of the advanced courses we offer). During this time, s/he could be a TA. This is the best way I can learn whether you are capable of our very high expectations, and that you can learn. Your true interest in the lab's research projects, and your capability to take harder work commitments than usual is what is perhaps required for a TAship. Besides TA and RAships, exceptional students may be nominated by the department for prestigious "University-wide assistantships" (UA), and a less qualified but deserving students for fee-waiver-- in both cases (UA and waiver) the decisions are taken by the graduate school. All alternatives except for RAship are considered by a faculty committee when you fill out a financial assistantship form. This is a very informal description -- and certainly not an official position of the university, department, or the lab. Please contact the department for further information. Graduate coordinator can give you official information.
  • While you are a TA, you can complete the core courses that often require a lot of your time, and hence leave a little energy and time for you to contribute towards your RAship duties.

Note that RAships are made possible by sponsored research grants and contracts that have deliverables to the sponsors. Sometimes, RAships result in your taking more time to complete your thesis than might be possible otherwise. This is because RAships in the lab almost always involve conceptual, design, and (importantly) system development work. Virtually all of our research involves substantial prototype software system and application development. Good knowledge of and experience in software development and a commercial DBMS is usually required for a majority of positions.

Some advantages of working in the lab include access to the faculty members, and senior student colleagues, a vastly superior computing environment (we usually use real products rather than free-ware), working on the hottest technologies in the field of our research (which can considerably add to your value) to a potential employer), ability to learn in a team setting, and exposure to the "real-world". Even with short experience, graduates from this lab are in very high demand, with recruiters willing to visit us to interview the students. Our recent graduates receive among the best financial offers from some of the fastest moving companies. On the other hand, RAship is certainly not the shortest path to obtaining a degree. To get a student's perspective, send email to any of the RAs.

Finally note that it is not necessary to be a RA to work in the lab. Most advantages of working the lab are still available to the interested and qualified students. Only merit is the criteria-- not the need, nationality, race, etc. etc. You should request application and assistantship forms by following the standard procedure involving sending request to the University's Graduate School (as you would do when applying to most universities). If your questions relate to administrative issues that the Graduate School handles (e.g., whether you application is complete, whether GRE and TOEFL scores have been received, etc.), you may consider communicating directly with the Graduate School at Until you application is complete, the CS Department cannot take any action.

Make sure you use your ability to reach anyone of us by email sparingly, as any perception of pestering would not yield the effect you might desire.

Note for Students Seeking Summer Internships:
Although the LSDIS has grown substantially and will continue to have ability to support most deserving students (esp. those pursuing PhD research) as research assistants, we are unable to invite or host a student for a summer internship or for any period less than six months. Also, in most cases, students and professors joining the LSDIS lab as research scholar are funded by their home countries or institutions, while the LSDIS lab provides an exciting and engaging research environment to participate in. Given the space and time constraints, we can host only one such long term visitor at a time, so only those with excellent match and capabilities can be invited as research scholars.

Additional External Resources

Some basic questions about applying to CS:

If you are considering doing a PhD at UGA or elsewhere:

If you are looking for an assistantship:

If you are seeking an advisor (for your PhD):

  • Decide what do you want from an advisor.
  • Read home pages, even publication abstracts or presentations of potential advisors.
  • Familiarize with the lab or centers he/she works in.
  • See if the advisor has already achieved things you hope to achieve.
  • Talk to the current or past advisee of the potential advisor.
  • Take the potential advisor's advanced/seminar level course.
  • Have extensive discussion with the advisor when you have done the above to understand mutual expectations and see if there is a match. Doing a PhD is very different than doing courses or getting just technical guidance.

If you are already part of LSDIS:

Disclaimer: Availability for assistantships depend on the available funds which can change at any time.
Last modified: November 12, 2005