Note to Perspective Graduate Students and Post-Docs
Thank you for your interest in my research group and in Stevens. I receive a number of inquiries regarding the availability of research positions in my group, and unfortunately cannot always respond to these requests. However, I would like to post some comments on frequently asked questions regarding my group and research opportunities at Stevens.
Many graduate students (and faculty!) also greatly enjoy the location of the Stevens campus, which is situated in beautiful and vibrant Hoboken, New Jersey literally 10 minutes from downtown New York City and easily accessible by all manner of public transportation. A few pictures of of/from our campus are available at personal.stevens.edu/~ffisher/stevens.html.
Regarding my specific research group, the Nanomechanics and Nanomaterials Lab takes great pride in, and seeks to continue, making significant contributions via our research activities. Our current measure of this metric is citations of our work; as of August 2009 our work has been independently cited in over 600 peer-reviewed publications (data according to the SCOPUS database). As time progresses, our metric will be the successful and impactful research careers of our lab alumni - do you want to be one of them?
Good luck in the Application Process and in your future research pursuits!
Q: I am interested in working in your group; do you have research assistantships available?
A: I am always looking to add highly qualified, motivated, and hard-working students to my group! It would be premature to discuss possible financial support that may be available until a prospective student has applied and been accepted by the Stevens Graduate School. While optional, I would strongly recommend including in your application a Personal Statement indicating why you are interested in attending Stevens and why you are interested in working with my group. This will ensure that after your application has been reviewed and accepted by the Graduate Program Committee at Stevens that it will be forwarded to me.
Please note that Stevens has several additional mechanisms available to support US citizens and Permanent Residents interested in pursuing graduate studies at Stevens. Please contact me directly for more information regarding these programs.
Q: What are the requirements and test scores (TOEFL, GRE) that are required to apply to Stevens?
A: While Stevens does not have minimum GRE or TOEFL test scores needed to apply, your scores on these tests do factor into decisions which are made regarding admission and financial support for graduate students (other factors include prior education, prior research experience, publication history, etc). The higher your scores, the more attractive your application will be to the Graduate Program Committee. I would recommend preparing for these tests very seriously.
Q: I am interested in a post-doctoral position with your group. How can I apply for such a position?
A: I would recommend that you email me a complete CV (including a list of at least three references) and two representative publications which highlight your research work to date. I would also recommend a Personal Statement indicating why you are interested in my group, how you feel you will be able to contribute to my research group, and how a post-doctoral position with my group fits into your larger career goals. Be sure to comment on any previous experience you may have in writing research proposals. If you are an international scholar, it would also be beneficial to know of your availability to work in the US and when you would be available to start.
Q: I am interested in the Nanotechnology Graduate Program (www.stevens.edu/nano) at Stevens. How do I apply?
A: As stated on the NGP website (http://www.stevens.edu/nano/program.html), prospective student MUST apply directly to one of the participating departments; the NGP does not directly accept or process applications. If you are interested in joining my group, it is likely (although not absolutely required) that you will be applying to the Mechanical Engineering department. If you wish to apply to another department at Stevens, all admissions and financial support decisions will be made by that department.
Q: I am interested in pursuing a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens. Are Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistants available for Masters students?
A: As a general rule of thumb, PhD students are more likely to be supported on RA or TA positions. However, outstanding Masters students with strong research experience will be considered for such support. In such cases Masters students must pursue a 6 credit thesis option for the Masters degree. In the past such students typically work towards completing a PhD in a related topic/field at Stevens upon completion of the requirements for their Masters degree.
Q: Do you accept part-time PhD students to work with your group?
A: Due to its proximity to a large number of military, government, and industrial R&D centers, Stevens has a rather large number of students who pursue their PhD degree part-time while working full-time. While obviously not for the faint of heart, successful part-time PhD students are often able to define a PhD project related to the students technical work responsibilities while also of interest to the faculty advisor. Several mechanisms at Stevens support part-time PhD studies (for example, the overwhelming majority of graduate courses are offered in the evenings, and some graduate courses are offered on-line, through a short-course format, or off-site). If you have confirmed that your employer would support you participating in such a program, please contact me directly for further discussion.
Q: How can I learn more about your research?
A: A general overview of the research activities of our group can be found on my personal webpages and on my group website (this page). In particular, I make a concerted effort to updated the Publications sections of these websites specifically so that potential graduate students can see our latest work. If you are interested in a research position with my group, a good first step is to be able to convince me that you have researched (i.e. read) at least some of the publications of my group. A good way to ensure that your email will be deleted without being read is to include me on a 'spam' email directed at a large number of faculty. (As a word of advice, I believe that this is in general true of most faculty.)
Q: I've been accepted to several PhD programs in Mechanical Engineering in the US. Why would you suggest that I enroll at Stevens?
A: First, congratulations on your fine achievement! I believe that you will find that the strengths of the PhD program at Stevens include having access to state of the art facilities and cutting-edge research opportunities in a vibrant small-school setting where many faculty (including myself) take great pride in offering personalized mentoring and advising to our graduate students. Further, I strongly believe that PhD students at Stevens in general, and my graduate students in particular, greatly benefit from close interactions and collaborations with students and faculty from other research groups both inside and outside the Mechanical Engineering Department. I encourage you to view my group website and the Stevens Nanotechnology Graduate (www.stevens.edu/nano) to learn more about the very exciting work being done here at Stevens!