PhD Application Feedback Program Aims to Increase Diversity in CS Graduate Programs

Now in its fourth year, the Northwestern Computer Science PhD Application Feedback Program, led by Northwestern Engineering’s Fabian E. Bustamante, aims to assist prospective students with their applications to computer science PhD programs at colleges and universities in the US.

The program is not limited to prospective PhD students applying to Northwestern.

Fabian E. Bustamante“The idea is that students can use our feedback to apply wherever they want,” Bustamante said. “The motivation behind starting this program is to increase the diversity — in every sense of the word — of computer science PhD programs.”

Bustamante is a professor of computer science and codirector of CS graduate admissions at the McCormick School of Engineering.

Prospective PhD students are encouraged to apply for the feedback program by November 8 at 11:59 p.m. CT via this form. Capacity is limited.

The deadline for applicants to the Northwestern CS PhD program is December 1, 2023, for enrollment in Fall 2024. Application deadlines vary across colleges and universities, so applicants to other programs will want to confirm admissions details at each institution of interest.

During the application review process, an advanced PhD student, postdoctoral fellow, or faculty member provides one round of feedback on the applicant's resume and statement of purpose. The reviewer may also arrange for a brief, 15- to 30-minute virtual meeting to offer additional guidance. Participation in the PhD Application Feedback Program does not guarantee admission to any program.

Samir KhullerThe feedback committee provided support to 29 prospective students during the 2022 application cycle, 54 students in 2021, and 36 students in 2020, the inaugural year of the program.

“I am delighted that my colleague Fabian Bustamante pioneered the launch of this program,” said Samir Khuller, Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Computer Science at Northwestern Engineering. “We want to help students who are bright but cannot get the help they need from their own colleges — or students who graduated and are now working on their PhD application.”


McCormick News Article