For Students Making Requests

Adapted (nearly verbatim) from Prof. Jeff Offutt's web site.

As all professors do, I get a lot of requests for help and advice from students, both current, prospective, and otherwise. Before you do so, I suggest looking over these general hints, which I have categorized into hints for students asking for RA or TA positions, asking for information about my classes, asking about course prerequisites, asking for references, and asking for one of my publications.

Research Asssitant or Teaching Assistant positions

If you are looking for a TA position, you should apply directly to the Computer Science department. Applications are reviewed by a committee. I can make recommendations to the committee for specific students if you took my class and did very well (top two or three in the class).

Unfortunately I never have enough funding, particularly for supporting graduate students. When I do, I almost always hire students who have taken one or more of my classes and done very well (top two or three in the class). I also prefer to hire Ph.D. students who have a real intellectual interest in research in Software Engineering. If you decide to email me to apply for an RA position, you should supply me with (1) your grades in graduate classes (a transcript summary), (2) your GRE score, (3) your personal research interests, and (4) which parts of my research program you are most interested in. For what it's worth, I expect my students to work very hard, but my students also publish and usually go on to great jobs.

Note: please provide your documents in plain-text or PDF, not word processor documents.

Information about My Classes

I put all relevant information about my classes on my web site. Before asking questions, please look for the class you're interested in to see if your question is answered there. For new classes, I develop web pages as the class gets closer. If your question is not answered on the course web site, please ask.


By the way, one question that does not need to be asked is "do I need the prerequisite". My short answer is "look up the meaning of the word prerequisite". My longer answer is that if it's not needed, it would not be a prerequisite.

One exception is CS 514, which officially has the prerequisite of CS 414. Although CS 414 is an official prerequisite, I accept CS 414 as a corequisite, since CS 514 depends on material from CS 414 primarily during the last half of the course which covers testing object-oriented systems. That means that you can enroll in CS 514 if you have already taken CS 414 or are taking CS 414 while enrolled in CS 514. You must have taken CS 314 or an equivalent software engineering course.

For References

I am usually happy to provide references for our students (and always for my research students!), although I do prefer it if you did well in my course. Please remind me which course you took from me (and when), and provide me with your transcript and resume. If a written letter is needed, please give me an addressed envelope. Hint: the recommendation I give will be much better if you ask me before telling a company to call me.

Note: please provide your documents in plain-text, PS or PDF, not word processor documents.

My Publications

Almost all of my papers are on my web site. If it's not there, please ask and I will be glad to help you out. If you ask for a very old paper I may have to send a paper copy, or talk you into looking at something more recent (and relevant!). (Yes, I predate latex, PS, PDF, and DOC.) If you see or read something of mine that's interesting or helpful, I'm always happy to know of it :).

Of course if you want to send money, NSF, DARPA, Microsoft, or otherwise, please do!

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