What is the educational background of a typical student admitted into the DCDS program?

DCDS students typically enter through two common pathways:

  • Students with some computational or data sciences background (e.g., through an undergraduate or masters degree in computer science, data science, mathematics) interested in social applications.
  • Students with some social science background (e.g., through an undergraduate degree in psychology, political science, etc.) interested in data science applications.

Additionally, it is recommended that students have taken undergraduate courses on calculus, linear algebra, and probability/statistics.

Why should I choose to study at WashU?

Washington University in St. Louis has a highly collaborative faculty with federally funded transdisciplinary research and extensive mentoring experience across top-ranked programs in AI, medicine, political science, psychology, public health, and social work. Ample opportunities exist for intersectional training in data-centric methods to complex social problems. 

What are possible career options for someone with a PhD in Computational and Data Sciences?

People with doctoral degrees in this area are qualified for careers in university teaching and research, governmental and non-governmental policy-making, bridging industry artificial intelligence/machine learning experts and application domain experts, and developing innovative approaches for solving social problems. We envision DCDS graduates contributing anywhere “AI for Social Good” can be useful.

How long does it take to earn a PhD in Computational and Data Sciences?

Approximately 5 years. Typically, students complete coursework and research and teaching rotations in the first two years. Students complete qualifying exams at the end of year two and engage in co-mentored research with faculty. They also propose and defend their independent research through the dissertation project.

How do I choose a lab/professor to work with?

In their first year, students rotate with potential research advisors, with each rotation lasting three months. The goal of the rotations is for students to match with a rotation advisor, who will serve as their research advisor for the duration of the PhD. Students may have one or two faculty members in mind when they enter the program.

How do I find housing?

There are a number of resources offered by the Graduate School in regard to housing, transportation and support for both domestic and international students. All students have access to a free UPass which covers universal rail and bus transportation. The University assists graduate students with finding suitable off-campus housing through quadrangle.wustl.edu.

Is St. Louis safe?

Overall, St. Louis is a safe and healthy city, with crime rates that are typical of medium-sized US metropolitan regions. St. Louis, like other major cities, faces social disparities and inequities, and some neighborhoods are safer than others. WashU is committed to promoting systemic change and keeping students safe. The DCDS program is centrally located on WashU’s Danforth Campus. Adjacent to campus you’ll discover a rich cultural life that supports your time outside of the classroom: the coffee shops and music venues of the Delmar Loop, as well as the museums and trails of nearby Forest Park, voted “Best City Park” by USA Today. The campus is served by several MetroLink light rail stations and bus lines, making the area easy to navigate. Go to police.wustl.edu for statistics and information recommended for safety precautions. Learn more about St. Louis.

What is the amount of time required weekly for research?

Students are expected to commit 40 hours/week towards the program. This includes time for both academic coursework as well as research.

Will I have time to have a social life?

You will have as much time for a social life as you would in any other full-time job.

What does it mean to be “fully-funded”?

We provide monetary support for living expenses, tuition and a portion which you will apply to health insurance and fees. This stipend is adjusted each year for living expenses.

Will I be able to obtain outside scholarships? If so, how do I apply for them?

Yes. Information on the various outside scholarships and how to apply for them is available at graduateschool.wustl.edu/external-funding, engineering.wustl.edu/academics/graduate-admissions/tuition-financial-assistance/funding-support.html, https://gradcenter.wustl.edu/resources/tgc-funding-database/, and https://brownschool.wustl.edu/Academics/PhD-in-Public-Health-Sciences/Pages/PhD-Public-Health-Sciences-Stipends-and-Fellowships.aspx

Are there resources on campus that support PhD students?

Yes, Habif Health and Wellness offers medical and mental health services for graduate students. The Graduate Center offers a variety of clubs, seminars and workshops specifically geared toward graduate students. AGES is the Association of Graduate Engineering students and all DCDS PhD students are members. The Association offers networking events and social events. In addition, McKelvey Graduate Student Services office offers support for DCDS students for a variety of issues.