Krzysztof Gajos

Information For Prospective Graduate Students


Here are answers to some common questions from prospective graduate students.

Are you looking for PhD students for Fall 2024?

Unlikely. I do not currently have much advising or financial capacity to support additional students.

Prof. Elena Glassman is another member of Harvard Computer Science faculty who specialized in HCI. She may have plans to recruit new students this year.

Are you looking for summer interns?

Not right now.

What projects are you currently working on? What project could I work on?

My main areas of interest are 1. principles and applications of intelligent interactive systems; 2. tools and methods for behavioral research at scale; and 3. computing for social justice. You can take a look at some specific projects to see how these broad interests get turned into concrete research ideas. When a student first joins our group, I typically suggest a small project for them to work on. After that, each student typically designs a project of their own. I expect that student projects will align to some extent with my interests and expertise. Otherwise, I can't be an effective advisor.

How can I join the group as a PhD student?

Apply to our graduate program.

How does the admissions process work?

You need to apply through Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (see the admissions page). The admissions committee will make the decisions in the Spring. Admitted students are then invited for a visit day to learn more about the program.

What are my chances of being admitted?

In the past, fewer than 15% of applicants were admitted (across all programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences).

What are the most important factors you look for in an application?

Broadly, I try to assess if a candidate can think like a researcher, has the necessary academic preparation, and whether they have the curiosity, grit, and perseverance to take on risky problems, and to not give up in the face of inevitable setbacks.

Another general point: I evaluate each candidate with respect to the opportunities they had access to. For example, I expect research experience only from students who went to schools that made research options readily available to undergraduates.

Here is some specific advice I give to students I work with:

Can international students do a PhD at Harvard?

Yes! Here are some important things you need to consider. First, the application process takes nearly a year. Like most graduate programs in the US, Harvard requires applicants to take TOEFL exam (for non-native English speakers). Make sure to schedule your exam such that the results are available by the application deadline. Our applications are typically due in December or January, and the results are announced in March or April for programs starting in September. Second, the cost. In Computer Science, you should expect to receive financial assistance that will cover the tuition and that will also provide a stipend sufficient to maintain a frugal but perfectly reasonable lifestyle. This financial assistance can come from a fellowship, a research assistantship, or a teaching assistantship.

Can I email you about the admissions process?

I generally do not respond to admissions-related inquiries. First, I want to give as much time as I can to people who are already working with me. Second, I don't think it would be fair. People who have the confidence to email prospective advisors tend to be already relatively privileged. By providing them with personalized application advice, I would only be increasing inequities in our higher education system.