Ask CS: for Graduate Students

Check these “quick reference” pages for help on items important to grad students. Links to websites are blue.

What else would you like to see here?  What questions do you and your classmates ask often?

  • Our goal is to minimize the administrative burdens which may impede teaching, research, and collaboration. Our team of diverse professionals are eager to work with you and our students to reach the mission of the University.  Click the tabs below for a brief outline of  some activities we can help with and additional resources which you may find useful!

    Kim FranklinAcademic Program Administrator
    Point of Contact for PhD students| 410-516-7451 | Malone 160

    • Registration, student-status, and graduation questions
    • Academic Advising – general questions
    • Good Standing, Funding, and Enrollment letters
    • GBO and Dissertation Defense scheduling
    • Payroll, Salary, and Fellowships
    • Financial Aid for Tuition and Health Insurance
    • Provide backup for MSE questions and requests

    Revelie Niles, Academic Program Administrator

    Point of Contact for MSE students| 410-516-6282 | Malone 161

    • Registration, student-status, and graduation questions
    • Academic Advising – general questions
    • Good Standing, Funding, and Enrollment letters
    • Financial Aid for Tuition and Health Insurance
    • Provide backup for PhD questions and requests

    Breiona Ghee, Budget Specialist | 410-516-8775 | Malone 160

    • Purchasing of supplies and equipment
    • Lab reimbursements for travel and supplies
    • Course Assistant hiring

    If you have concerns within the Whiting School or the Computer Science Department, here’s the list of our academic staff who will gladly assist you:

    • CS Academic Program Administrator(s)
    • Kim Franklin – Point of contact for PhD student issues or concerns
    • Revelie Niles – Point of contact for MSE student issues or concerns
    • CS Graduate Program Director Scott Smith
    • CS Department Chair Randal Burns
    • WSE Assistant Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Academic Affairs  Christine Kavanagh
  • The Office of International Services supports the international students, scholars, and faculty associated with Johns Hopkins University.  Through a variety of services and programs, OIS helps to ensure that the legal, cultural, and other special needs of our international communities are met. Most commonly, OIS oversees the new student check-in process and provides instruction regarding visa categories, policies and procedures. OIS also provides eligibility and procedural information for current students interested in CPT or OPT.

    A Social Security Number, or SSN, is needed for all international students who are paid a salary through student employment or graduate financial aid.

    Visit the OIS’s Social Security Number page to find out how to obtain one.

  • Requirements for the M.S.E Degree

    Responsible Conduct of Research

    • All students performing research, whether for pay, credit, or otherwise must take the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course.  Most Master’s students will take the course online, which lasts about two hours.  Some will have to attend the in-person course, depending on the source of research funding.  Visit the Whiting School’s RCR page for information.


    • Click here for more information confirming academic graduation eligibility requirements.

    Forms to complete:

    • Application for Graduation – Master’s students applying after the semester deadline and all Ph.D. students earning a Master’s degree must complete a paper application available from your department or at the Office of the Registrar. Bring this form to the Registrar’s office.

    The Registrar will contact graduating students several months before Commencement about diploma and commencement arrangements.

    Requirements for the PhD Degree

    Detailed degree requirements can be found in the PhD Academic Advising Manual. These requirements include: eight courses, two qualifying projects, at least one semester serving as a Teaching Assistant, the Graduate Board Oral (GBO) examination, and the Dissertation Seminar/Defense.

    Graduation – administrative steps to take before your defense

    1. International Students – Visit the International Office

    Make an appointment with the Office of International Services  three to six months in advance of your defense to start appropriate action to keep you in compliance with visa regulations after your defense, as well as apply for the EAD card for Optional Practical Training, if necessary.

    1. Tuition Waiver during Grace Period

    If you plan to submit your dissertation in the Grace Period:

    • 8 weeks after the start of the Fall semester
    • 4 weeks after the start of the Spring semester

    You can apply to waive payment of your tuition with the Final Semester Tuition Waiver for either Fall or Spring.  You won’t have to pay tuition unless you finish after the Grace Period.

    1. Course Registration during Final Semester

    If you complete your requirements during the Fall or Spring semester, you must be registered for one course.

    • Resident students must register for 20 credits of PhD Research (EN.600.801)
    • Non-resident students must register for 910.600, the “Non-Resident Status ‘course’.”

    If you complete your degree during the summer and submit your dissertation before the first day of class of the Fall semester, you will not have to register for a Fall semester course. If you submit your dissertation before the first day of class in the Spring semester, you will not have to register for a Spring semester course.

    1. Application for Graduation – Students can apply through SIS by the semester deadline. It’s recommended that students apply prior to the start of the semester.  All Ph.D. students earning a CS Master’s degree “along the way” must complete a pdf/paper Graduation Application. Please contact the Registrar’s Office regarding this app.
    2. Be Aware of Deadlines

    Visit the Graduate Board website to ensure that you are meeting the required dissertation submission deadlines.

  • Occasionally, students may feel overwhelmed by the rigors of education, especially if coupled with outside stresses like health and family concerns.  Johns Hopkins offers a host of resources where you can ask for and receive help.

    If you need someone to listen, you can talk to your advisor and/or Academic Program Administrator Kim Franklin or Revelie Niles.  Sometimes, venting to someone may be all you need.

    In other situations, you may want to talk to someone who is trained to help people in distress.  There are several resources on campus including:

    • Counseling Center – to get help with any emotional concerns, when feeling overwhelmed, and when needing mental health support in a caring environment. The Counseling Center offers an array of services including one-on-one counseling sessions as well as graduate student support groups.
    • Office of Student Life – for information on services, offices, events, and student groups.
    • JHU Campus Ministries – the team includes ordained and lay ministers, rabbis, priests, an imam and student leaders to assist all religious and spiritual traditions in any way possible.
    • Office of Student Disability Services – to get help with a physical or mental incapacity, no matter how minor.
    • Sexual Assault Helpline
    • Emergencies – call the Security office at 410-516-7777 or the Baltimore City Emergency Line at 911.
    • Students usually take the GBO around year three of their degree candidacy. The GBO is a two-hour oral exam. Detailed information can be found in PhD Advising Manual
    • Examiners include three Computer Science professors (with a primary CS appointment) and two professors from other departments, plus one more CS professor and one more professor from another department who will be available as alternate examiners.  All seven examiners/alternate examiners must be available.
    • Two of the three (2/3) outside examiners must be Associate, Full, or Emeritus Professors
    • To schedule the GBO, you and your advisor must put together a list of at least seven potential faculty members and obtain their consent. Once this happens, email your list to Kim, along with a three-week window of time that you’re available to take the GBO. Kim will update you as the schedule comes together
    1. Dissertation Readers

    While the University requires only two readers: your advisor and another Johns Hopkins University professor, the Department of Computer Science requires a third reader. More information can be found in the PhD Advising Manual. Your readers must include the following:

    • Your advisor
    • Another member of the JHU CS faculty, who must have a primary, tenure-track appointment in the JHU CS department if your advisor does not
    • One or more other committee members with Ph.D. degrees. You are strongly encouraged to include someone from outside the department or university, to get the benefit of an outside perspective and to increase your work’s visibility.

    2. Timing and logistics of Defense

    • Your advisor will tell you when he/she believes you are ready to defend. Select a date and time for your defense. You will need about two hours. Contact Kim Franklin to reserve a room.
    • Please e-mail Kim Franklin your picture (headshot preferred), your professional plans after Hopkins, a brief bio, dissertation abstract – including the dissertation’s title. This info is ideally sent about three weeks before the defense date. Reatha will announce your defense on the Department Calendar and the Department list-serves.
    • Send Kim your readers’ names and contact info, if you haven’t done so previously.

    3. The Reader’s Letter

    • Typically, your advisor will prepare the Reader’s Letter and have it ready for the readers’ signatures at the defense. Sometimes, though, the Reader’s Letter is not ready until well after your defense has taken place.
    • When received, Km will send the signed Readers’ Letter to the University’s Graduate Board, who will certify the degree at the next available conferral – usually in May, December, and August

    4. Submit Final Dissertation

    • Dissertations must be submitted by electronic media to the library (the ETD system), which in turn will e-mail you a receipt of successful submission.
    • The Graduate Board requires you to forward the copy of the library’s receipt of successful dissertation submission that includes the title of your dissertation typed in the body, along with an attached scanned copy of your submission receipt to Academic Program Administrator Kim Franklin.

    5. Salary – Confirm Final Pay Day – 3 weeks’ notice required

    Graduate student salary can be paid through the conferral date of the semester in which the student completes the degree requirements. Check here for academic term conferral dates.

    • Spring completion – the last day a student can be paid is Commencement Day in late-May.
    • Summer completion – the last day a student can be paid is the Summer Conferral date in late-August.
    • Fall completion – the last day he or she can be paid is the Fall Conferral date in late-December.

    Even after a student submits their dissertation to the library, the salary can continue until the conferral date.

    You must have your advisor determine the final pay day for your salary and notify Kim Franklin at least three weeks in advance of that date.

    If notification is received less than three weeks before the intended final pay day, your advisor may be required to pay you beyond the intended final pay day or you may be required through collection action to refund salary paid beyond the final pay day.

    The final pay day may affect the eligibility date for postdoc appointments, so if you will become a postdoc, please have your advisor work with Kim Franklin to determine that date.

    • Students must first fulfill the Graduate residency requirement of full-time status for two consecutive semesters
    • Domestic students can be part-time after the residency requirement has been fulfilled (except in special cases). Domestic students cannot be paid a stipend unless they’re full-time.
    • International students can only be part-time only in their final semester. International students must also submit Reduced Course load Form. The RCL must be signed by the Department and approved by the Office of International Students (OIS)
    • A Part-time Approval Letter must be written by the department and then issued to the Registrar’s Office and to Student Accounts. MSE students requesting part-time status should contact Academic Program Administrator Revelie Niles.
    • Part time study will be charged on a per credit basis. To review the policy, click here.
    • To be considered part-time, students must be enrolled in eight credits or less
    • If the student wishes to return to full-time status, a letter indicated this must be created by the Department and sent to the Registrar’s Office
    • Once students begin their graduate course of study toward a degree, they must complete a minimum of two consecutive semesters of registration as a full-time, resident graduate student. To qualify as a resident student, the student must be present on campus and working toward fulfilling the requirements for the degree.
      Students are eligible for non-residency status when all degree requirements except the thesis, project or dissertation are complete.

      • ADVANTAGES: Non-resident students pay only 10% of the full-time tuition but will still have all the privileges of full-time students such as access to campus services and faculty advising.
      • DISADVANTAGES: Non-resident students cannot enroll in courses and would lose the Whiting School’s financial support for health insurance, though they would not be required to enroll for health insurance. The department could choose to cover health insurance charges, but that is not guaranteed.

      Students must apply for non-resident status and to maintain non-resident status will have to register each semester plus provide a letter explaining their progress toward the degree’s completion.

    • Detailed information for a PhD student who wishes to apply for Non-Resident Status can be found here.
    • Detailed information for a Masters student who wishes to apply for Non-Resident Status can be found here.
    • If a student who wishes to return from Non-Resident Status, they must submit an Application to Return to Resident Status, which can be found here.
    • Detailed information for a student who wishes to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) can be found here.
    • Detailed information for a student who wishes to extend their already approved Leave of Absence (LOA) can be found here.
    • Detailed information for a student who wishes to return from a Leave of Absence (LOA) can be found here.
  • Visit the Registrar’s “Academic Calendar” page for the academic calendar, which displays dates for registration deadlines, breaks and vacations, alternate class days (Monday-on-Thursday, for example), and exam periods.

    General Info


  • The Graduate Representative Organization is a student-run organization that represents graduate students on the Homewood Campus. The GRO Endowment Shopping Mall invites you to shop at Amazon, Orbitz and other sites. When you do, the GRO gets a small commission on your purchase.

    The Johns Hopkins Association for Computing Machinery is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancement of computers and information technology through the free exchange of ideas and information.

    GRACE provides opportunities and resources for female computer science students. Events include regularly scheduled lunches.
    Upsilon Pi Epsilon is the International Honor Society for Computing and Information Disciplines. UPE contributes to computer science as a discipline, as well as awards scholarships to outstanding graduating computer science students and those showing outstanding academic achievement.
    WiCS holds dinner meetings with an invited guest speaker each semester and has informal coding meetings weekly
  • Undergraduate and graduate students are hired in the CS department as course assistants and research assistants. They are usually paid hourly and record their time with timesheets.

    Hourly Pay Rates
    Undergraduate Assistant or Graduate Assistants

    Pay rates vary as follows:

    • $10.00/hour for first time CAs in lower level course (600.1XX or 600.2XX)
    • $10.50/hour for experienced CAs in lower level course (600.1XX or 600.2XX)
    • $11.00/hour for first time CAs in upper level course (600.3XX and above)
    • $11.50/hour for experienced CAs in upper level course (600.3XX and above)
    • $3k/semester for head CAs

    Research Assistants

    Hourly rate is determined by the PI based on the tasks accomplished.


    Course assistant hiring is managed by Joanne Selinski. Students interested in serving as course assistants can apply here.

    To hire a student for Undergraduate or Graduate Research Assistant positions, contact Laura Graham. Provide the date of hire, the position hired, and student year to determine hourly pay.

    Time Cards
    Time Cards must be used to record hours worked.  Please use the CS Timesheet.

    How to Submit Hours

    1. Blank time sheets are available in the CS office. They are located in the plastic holder opposite Debbie DeFord’s desk.
    2. Please turn in one sheet per week. The week runs Monday to Sunday. If the dates/hours are not in this order it may create a delay in processing.
    3. Please be sure the sheets are legible. Difficulty deciphering the data may create a delay in processing.
    4. Please complete all sections of the time sheet.
      • Job description is only necessary if there are multiple responsibilities – i.e. office hours, grading, lab, etc
    5. Have the Faculty Instructor or authorized supervisor sign the card to confirm and authorize your hours worked.
    6. Time sheets should be turned in to Debbie DeFord in Malone 160.
    7. Designated staff will record the time in the CATS system in SAP and file the submitted time cards.

    Time cards must be submitted at least one week before each pay day by noon to meet the submission deadline of 2:00 p.m.

    Visit the 2016 Hourly Payroll Submission Deadline Schedule for the deadline in the “Time Entry Cutoff 2:00 p.m.” column.

    Visit the Computer Science PhD Advising Manual for information, specifically page 8.

    Visit  “Employee Self-Service” (ESS) to view your pay statement.

    • Go to and sign in with your JHED ID and password.
    • Select the “HR” tab and then the “ESS” tab.
    • Sign in again with your JHED ID and password.
    • Select the “Payroll Info” tab and you will see the pay statement.
    View the Whiting School’s Graduate Student Assistant Leave Guidelines for information on paid vacation, illness, and holidays.

    • Students have all kinds of questions about how to prepare for life after college.
    • The Career Center offers career planning and research, networking and why it’s important, resume critiques, interviewing, career fairs, and employer information sessions.
    • Join “Handshake” to see job and internship postings, information session announcements, and events at the Career Center.
    • Alumni are a rich source of career opportunities. Connect with the Johns Hopkins Society of Engineering Alumni.
    • Watch your e-mail for internship and job opportunities
    • Hopkins Engineers are in demand:  watch this!
  • The Computer Science IT Support Wiki provides detailed documentation on how to use the Department’s many services (specifically within Malone Hall).

    You have a librarian!  Contact Engineering Librarian Sue Vazakas at 410-516-4153 or  She can help you find research resources and show you how to use the library’s resources and services.

    You are welcome to use the computer facilities throughout campus, especially in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and the Brody Learning Commons.

    Laptops, pads, and software are available at a discount student rate when purchased through Hopkins.

    From time to time the need may arise for Faculty, Students, or Staff to travel to conduct business which furthers the mission of JHU. This may be for training, attending conferences, collaboration, etc. In order to assist the University with conforming to federal regulations and guidelines, it is important that travelers adhere to the following:

    • Keep all itemized receipts and proof of payment
    • Keep track of  participants when hosting business meals or events
    • Turn in receipts ASAP after expense is incurred or TRIP is completed. Reimbursements not PROCESSED within 90 days of receipt date are not eligible for reimbursement via our TRIP system
    • Consult with our Budget Analyst prior to travel to make sure there is funding and that the expense is allowable especially if on a grant


    To obtain the lowest rates and ensure that you are properly reimbursed for JHU Business Travel, as well as to make sure the University can assist during emergencies please utilize the following resources:

    • Tools, Per Diem, Fly America Act, etc

    • Booking Travel via CONCUR


    Please use this form for Non-Travel Reimbursement Form related expenses and use the Travel Reimbursement Form for related expenses.

    Return the form along with receipts to our Budget Analyst for processing. Please allow 14-20 days for your reimbursement to be processed.



    The International Travel Registry provides an easy-to-use way for those traveling internationally on university-related business to register their travel plans.

    In partnership with International SOS, registered travelers will receive assistance with pre-travel preparations, including notifications about the destination country, risks, and prevention measures.

    Be sure to create your own Travel Profile so staff can contact and support you in the event that there is a natural disaster, political unrest or other emergency situation in locations where you travel.

  • If your advisor has authorized a purchase request for your lab:

    • Small purchases for supplies and services less than $3,000 in value can be ordered via department procurement card. Please visit for a list of allowable products and services. To begin the small purchase process:
    1. Email link(s) for items to be purchased to Breiona Ghee
    2. In the email please provide the following information:
      • Account number and or account name to charge for payment
      • Authorization from account holder (email or signature authorization)
      • Business purpose for the order
    • Purchases for products and services $3,000 or greater you must order via purchase order and competiveness must be documented. You may not purchase nor split the cost via procurement card. Please visit for a list of University contract vendors. These vendors do not require competitive bidding. To begin the purchasing process for a purchase order:
    1. Email quote received from vendor to Breiona Ghee
    2. In the email please provide the following information:
      • Account number and or name to charge for payment
      • Authorization from account holder (email or signature authorization)
      • Business purpose for the order
      • Competitive bidding documentation if vendor is NOT listed on University contract list
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