PhD Application FAQ

  • We seek students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. We want students who have excelled in research and their academic studies proportional to the opportunities they have been afforded in their academic career.

    We are committed to a diverse community at Hopkins, as diversity is a key element of the educational experience of our students. Diversity presents itself in many different forms such as socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or place of origin, disability, unique work or life experience, etc.  Our goal through the admissions process is to cultivate an environment that values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives.

    Johns Hopkins University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or other legally protected characteristic in any student program, activity administered by the university, admission, or employment.

    You can learn more about our commitment to diversity here.

    No! Johns Hopkins is a highly interdisciplinary school, and this is reflected in the Computer Science department. Applicants have degrees in CS, ECE, linguistics, cognitive science, math, biomedical engineering, and many other areas. While we want to see some experience with CS, we take students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

    Certainly not. While many of our applicants have publications demonstrating their research experience, we care more about what you did with the opportunities you were given. Some students come from major US universities with active research programs, in which case students have the opportunity to publish. Other students come from smaller schools without these opportunities. Each year we accept many students without publications, and reject students with multiple publications.

  • Most of our larger research areas accept PhD students every year. If your question is “will you have slots,” there is no need to ask. Apply!

    If you have specific questions about a faculty member’s research, you are welcome to contact them ahead of time. However, keep in mind that faculty members receive dozens of emails from applicants and often don’t have time to respond. This is especially true of long emails that focus on the applicant without specific questions for faculty. If you email faculty, we recommend you keep it short, to the point, and specific to that faculty member’s interests. Don’t be offended if they don’t reply. A generic email to a faculty member before you apply will not improve (or hurt) your chances of being accepted.

    Each application cycle is different, and the timing of the PhD and MSE review processes occur roughly simultaneously. Whether we’re able to consider your PhD application for acceptance into our MSE program depends on several factors – the amount of MSE applications received, the speed at which our MSE Admissions Committee reviews said applications, and the number of MSE offers made during a given cycle.

    In short, we unfortunately cannot guarantee that we will be able to review your PhD application for our MSE program. But if you email Kim Franklin by February 1, stating that you’d like your PhD application to be cloned for MSE review, it is likely that we will be able to accommodate your request. Please keep in mind that you may not have received your formal PhD Admissions decision yet.

    The application is all online so you don’t need to worry about sending anything by mail! GRE and TOEFL scores will be sent electronically and directly to us by ETS so you don’t need to worry about those either. If you are admitted into the program, you may have to ask other people to mail additional documentation to us (like your official transcript, an unofficial one is fine for the application). For these sorts of concerns, please send your mail to Engineering Graduate Admissions Office:

    Johns Hopkins University
    Graduate Academic Affairs
    Engineering Graduate Admissions
    Wyman Park Building, 3rd Floor West
    3400 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    To contact: go to https://engineering.jhu.edu/about/contact-visit-us/

    Graduate Admissions answers these types of inquiries. Please go to http://grad.jhu.edu/contact/ and fill out the requested info. The departments do not collect or record any application documents. Grad Admissions will be able to research and answer you within ten business days. The email address for Graduate Admissions is WSEGrad-Admissions@jhu.edu.

    We encourage you to include any information that you think will help us make a more accurate assessment of your abilities. Feel free to include extra information but you are not at all obliged to do so.

    The institution code is (4655) for the GRE and (C559) for the TOEFL exam. Our department code for TOEFL is (78) and for GRE is (0402).

    This and other information concerning Standardized Testing can be found at the ETS GRE Website.

    All non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL exam or IELTS. Neither the TWE nor the TSE is required, but is recommended.  Graduate Affairs and Graduate Admissions will grant waivers only to students with citizenship from countries where the official language or language of instruction in higher education is English, or if the student received or are about to receive a bachelors or master’s degree from an institution in the US or a country where English is the official language.  Policy details here.

    Yes.

    Copies or scans of any official documents such as transcripts, GRE scores and TOEFL scores cannot be considered. Offers of admission will not be made using any unofficial documents.

    The scores must be new enough that ETS still considers them valid and can give us an official score report. Currently, the ETS sets this limit at five years.

    There is no minimum score required for the GRE and it is usually one of the least weighted portions of an application. We rely more on the GRE if you do not have other accomplishments. If the only thing standing between you and applying is a lackluster GRE score do not let that stop you from applying.  PhD applicants may obtain a waiver to exempt them from submitting GRE scores. Waivers may be obtained by contacting admissions@cs.jhu.edu and providing: a.) your Slate application reference number; b.) the reason for why you’re unable to provide GRE scores.

    If you cannot take the GRE exam (cost, inaccessible, etc.) you can request a waiver. Please contact admissions@cs.jhu.edu.

    You will be required to upload a copy of your transcript into our application system (unofficial is fine). When you are admitted to the program, you will need to provide an official copy before being enrolled.

    A $25 fee is typically required alongside your application. However, we offer waivers in cases where the fee is a barrier to your application. If you are a first-generation college student, have participated in a program such as NNE or SACNAS (among many others), or are unable to apply because of the fee, please contact us at admissions@cs.jhu.edu.

    PhD applicants need three letters. We require that your recommenders submit their recommendations online.

    We require the use of the online application recommendation section for recommenders submissions. When doing this, your recommender will get instructions on how to submit.

    The official form is a part of the online recommendation. Comments will be accepted even if the official form is not used. However, we strongly encourage the form to be used because it includes a table which provides us with additional information.

  • You will be assigned an initial academic advisor, who may or may not become your eventual thesis advisor. Students are required to complete research qualifying projects early in their studies with two different faculty. For this reason, you’ll notice that our students often collaborate and publish with multiple faculty. Additionally, many of our students are co-advised, and changing advisors or adding a second advisor is relatively easy. If you are a PhD student in Computer Science, you will be able to work with any CS faculty member, subject to mutual agreement.

    All full-time CS PhD students in good academic standing are guaranteed full-funding. This includes a yearly stipend of approximately $35,511, tuition and health insurance. Our students are primarily funded on research assistantships, with some amount of time on teaching assistantships (teaching for at least one semester is a requirement of the CS PhD program).

    Many of our students participate in summer internship programs within industry, which pay considerably higher salaries.

    Hopkins PhD students are fully covered for medical (Cigna), dental (Delta Dental), and vision (EyeMed). Plans are available for masters students as well. More information can be found at https://benefits.jhu.edu/health-and-life/student_health/overview.cfm.

    All eligible full-time graduate students and postdoctoral trainees receive no less than 8 weeks of fully-paid new child accommodations. For more information, see:

    https://www.jhu.edu/assets/uploads/2017/06/newchildaccommgradandpostdoc.pdf

    Additionally, JHU offers parents of young children childcare vouchers. See: https://hr.jhu.edu/benefits-worklife/family-programs/paying-for-child-care/2020-dependent-care-voucher/

  • For answers to admissions questions that are not Computer Science Department specific, explore the Whiting School Graduate Admissions website. Make sure to look at the official application instructions for domestic and international students on the Graduate Application how-to website.

    If you have questions about the Computer Science program requirements, the Graduate Program description in the catalog is the official source. Note, the answers in this FAQ are more current than the answers found in the official documents. If answers to your questions still cannot be found, please contact admissions@cs.jhu.edu.

    Application Deadlines:

    The PhD deadline for Fall is December 15th. (No recruiting for Spring admissions)

    The application will be available for submission on or about August 15.

    Entering students are expected to have completed a program of study equivalent to that required by the B.S. in computer science. Applicants from other disciplines are required to have coursework (or equivalent experience) in intermediate programming (C++ and Java), data structures, automata theory, computer systems fundamentals and algorithms.

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