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: http://www.cs.uga.edu/join/gradadmission/overview.html

You may also send email for further information including applications for admission and assistantships or the status of your application to:
gradadm@cs.uga.edu

Application forms for admission can be obtained from gradadm@arches.uga.edu or you can apply online at http://www.gradsch.uga.edu

We are always looking for highly qualified students interested students wishing to pursue Ph.D. We have funded between 4 to 10 RAs depending on the funding.

We get many enquiries 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 a RAships, 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 (http://lsdis.cs.uga.edu/about/courses.html), 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 gradadm@arches.uga.edu 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.

Disclaimer: Availability for assistantships depend on the available funds which can change at any time.
April 21, 2003

 
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