Acceptance Rates for CS and Aerospace Graduate Programs

Can someone help me understand acceptance rates? Or guide me to a website please?
Thank you

Masters or Doctoral?

Funded or Unfunded?

T10 or lower ranked program?

Acceptance rates will be all over the ballpark depending on the choices, with rates well down into the low single digits for the most highly rated fully funded programs.

Assuming you refer to funded PhD programs, they not only depend on the school, but also highly depend on the department within the school. For computer science, the acceptance rates are even highly dependent on the discipline within CS. I’ve been told that for a few most sought-after programs in a certain discipline within CS, the acceptance rates can be well below 1%, more selective than any undergraduate program, which is, of course, a completely different animal.

As others have said, I don’t think you will find useful data. It will also depend on the fit. If the student’s interests align with a professor’s needs, then acceptance is much more likely.

My son is in his 4th year in Michigan’s aerospace engineering PhD program. He has always been interested in electric (ion) propulsion, took as many relevant classes as he could, and lucked out when one of his professors was a recent PhD from Michigan’s Plasmadynamics & Electric Propulsion Laboratory, who gave him a great recommendation.

Based on your username, I am assuming that you are a parent. It sounds like your child is interested in both CS and Aerospace. We were not initially aware of this option, but many of the top engineering/science schools also offer PhDs in Scientific Computing. It’s typically an additional degree on top of the primary PhD. So, for example, my son will finish with joint PhDs in Aerospace Engineering and in Scientific Computing. My son’s PhD thesis will be about computer modeling of plasma ion thrusters. He has to take six computer related courses, three of them outside his department

Here is some information about Michigan’s Scientific Computing Program, which I think is fairly typical.

Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions.

This means nothing for a PhD program. What matters is who is doing the research that interests you. That could very well mean that Wisconsin or A&M could be better than MIT or Stanford. You choose your advisor, not the school. It’s a very different game than vetting undergraduate programs.

Also, the original question is interesting. AE and CS don’t overlap enough that one would likely be looking at an either/or scenario. How far along is the student in question and what are you really trying to understand?

He has an undergrad from CMU in CS, graduated 6 months early in Dec 2020, works for a tech company, he wants to apply to Masters in either a
Applied Math Program

Is there someplace where acceptance rates are published?
Thanks so very much for responding so quick

Most masters programs are unfunded, meaning he (or you) has to pay for it. Those few funded masters programs are much more competitive. He also has to decide whether he wants to enroll in a thesis-based program, which will take longer. Deadlines for enrollment next fall are fast approaching and most MS programs still require GRE. He may have to take the GRE this month to beat the deadlines.

He has filled out the complete online application, and has sourced his recommendation letters already they should be in his in-box later this week one from Industry and two from CMU i believe

He already took his GRE “cold” and scored 330/340, with full points on Quantitative I believe?The Programs he looked at do not consider GRE they say on their website
He is not interested in PhD
He only wants to do Masters

UC Berkeley
UT Austin

Thank you everyone for so many responses, I totally appreciate it

Just curious, Why does he want to go so quickly into graduate school if he has just recently graduated and has a good job?
Who will be paying if the masters is unfunded (very likely) ?

He wants to go to Grad school immediately because he misses the CMU like academic rigor, he is used to studying 10-14 hours a day, and thanks to the pandemic and the terrible job situation (He found a job in October 2021) the 9 months gave him ample time to think about what he loves and what he wants to do

He decided to start prepping for GRE, and so decided to take the test cold and was able to do so well, so he didnt have to study for that either :smile:

The prospect of going back to school energizes him a lot

He has enough saved up from undergrad internships and other other jobs he has had along the way in the last 4 years

Thank you and great Q BTW

Good luck to your son! My H (and his dad) were CMU/Carnegie Institute of Technology grads. Hope he enjoyed his time there(sounds like he did).

I don’t see jumping from CS into AE. Unless he took a bizarrely different curriculum than most CS majors, he’ll be severely lacking in fluids. If he wants to work in aerospace however, there are plenty of angles using CS. It’s just hard to be an AE if you’ve never done any of the fundamental work to get there. If he wants continued academic rigor, a 1 or 2 year MS isn’t likely to satiate that.

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Can be extremely important if the PhD student’s goal is a tenure track academic job at a top tier institution when the placement rates can vary widely with a large impact from the degree granting institution.

The quality of a PhD hinges entirely on the person it was done for and how good that research was. It has virtually nothing to do with the institutional name on the paper. A PhD in cutting edge hypersonic aerodynamics from A&M is far more valuable than pedestrian work done at MIT, regardless of the person’s career intentions. You vet doctoral programs very differently than undergraduate programs. Hiring faculty is no different. They look at what the candidate has contributed to the literature, not where they did it at. That’s not to say there aren’t great people at the big name institutions. It just matters what one wants to do.

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There have been some ranking studies for CS departments based on PhD student tenure track placements. (google if you’re curious) The ones I’ve seen all have UC Berkeley and MIT well out front, followed by Stanford and CMU.

For industry placements, degree granting institution matters much less.

Having been personally pretty deep down that path, it isn’t a process I need a primer on. :wink:

If strong placements for CS are coming out of UCB and MIT, which I’m sure they are, it’s because strong research is being done there.

Depending on the area of interest within AE, the institutions would likely be different. “Top 10” is completely dependent on the micro level subject. Take hypersonic research for example. The DOD just awarded grants to 10 institutions, none were MIT, Stanford, or Berkeley. They were University of Dayton, Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Minnesota, North Carolina State, University of Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee. They were very specific programs within those institutions.

PhD candidates should seek what interests them, find out who is doing it, and try to go there.

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I’m frankly puzzled by his rational for pursuing a masters degree, especially if it’s in another field. He sounds like a very smart kid. But if he loves school so much, why did he graduate early instead of taking more graduate-level courses and/or doing some research project or thesis at CMU SCS? I know students at similar schools had plenty of opportunities doing research or internship remotely throughout the pandemic. CS is one of those areas where researching/working remotely isn’t much of an impediment.

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He wanted to work ASAP when he started Senior year
(FYI: life doesnt work out the way for 90% of the people in the world like it does for many parents and kids on this Forum :slight_smile:
Questions like:
Why NOW?
Why not a PhD enrollment back then?
Why does he want academic rigor?
Why does he want to go to a good school?
Why does he want to do aerospace after CS thats so ridiculous…
Must all be people with superstar Elon like kids
Who got out of the womb and knew what they wanted to do and be

I am asking Qs of people who have kids like mine :slight_smile:
Journalists and politicians want to convince us that the job market is extraordinary
He searched for 10 months to get the job he is in right now
He did self reflection from Jan-Aug and realized
“Maybe Grad School would not be such a bad idea afterall”
Since admissions for Fall 2021 were all done he is prepping for Fall 2022

Thank you so much for your thoughtful help