Quite often, applicants to our graduate program have one of the following questions, and so I figured it is best to post answers to these:
Why should I do a PhD? The type of job you do after a PhD is quite different from what you would do after an MS. Whereas a PhD holder is hired to think and formulate ideas (for instance, in research labs or Universities, with less direct supervision), an MS holder is hired to implement ideas. Naturally, a company needs a fewpeople to think and develop new ideas, and many more people to implement those ideas. If all you care about is becoming one among the crowd of implementers, and not use your full potential, then doing just an MS is sufficient. But then, why bother studying in a top University, when the job market doesn't care where your MS (in Computer Engineering / Computer Science) is from? All said, PhD is serious business; only those who have a genuine interest in research and that type of career should pursue it.
How long will it take to do a PhD in the ECE Department? If you already have an MS in ECE, then approximately 2 to 3 years; otherwise, approximately 3 to 4 years.
Can a BS holder directly apply to the PhD program in the ECE Department? Certainly. If you do not have an MS and are in our PhD program, you can get an additional MS ``on the way'', without any additional requirements.
What criteria are used to decide RAships? Pretty much everything that is requested in the application. Grades, GRE scores, graduating instituition, GPAs / Percentage marks, rank in class (supported with appropriate documents), recommendations, prior research experience, papers published, etc.
What about teaching assistantships? When you apply for admission, you will be automatically considered for fellowships and TAships. These decisions are not made by individual faculty, but collectively by the concerned department. International students are eligible for fellowships and TAships.
Can non-RAs work in your group? Certainly. I regularly serve as advisor for students who are not financially supported by me. If you are interested in my research topics, I will be happy to work with you on a mutually agreed upon topic.
Can MS students work in your group? Certainly. I regularly serve as advisor for MS students who are interested in doing an MS thesis.
How can I find out more about your research?Follow the link: http://www.ece.umd.edu/~manoj/research.html.