Research opportunities

I receive many inquiries regarding research opportunities, so this page serves to answer typical questions that I receive. For more information on admissions, see also

If you are interested in Ph.D. opportunities, I am not able to evaluate your potential for admission without seeing your application materials. You are welcome to e-mail me before applying, but include your CV and other relevant materials, and indicate that you have reviewed my website. I will do my best to read your message, but will likely not provide a personal response as I recieve several hundred inquiries of this type per year. Please also see the Frequently Asked Questions below for answers to some common inquiries.

If you are working at another institution, and interested in an extended visit to my group, I am sorry that I usually do not have the capacity to work with students in this arrangement. If there is a compelling reason why you think I might make an exception to this policy (e.g., you or your research advisor has an ongoing collaboration with me), then please explain when you contact me.

If you are interested in postdoctoral opportunities, keep in mind that I am looking for postdocs with previous experience in a topic overlapping my research areas. If you think you would be a productive contributor to my group, please e-mail me with the subject "Postdoc inquiry – in response to your website," explain how you would contribute to my group, and describe your prior research. If you do not provide these items, I am not able to respond to your e-mail.

I hope this is responsive to your questions. I hope that you will have a variety of exciting opportunities to consider for the next stage of your education (including possibly Stanford), and I wish you the best of luck in identifying a good situation.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding graduate admissions

See and for university-level responses to frequently asked questions, which supercede any of my information. Below are my personal responses to some questions that arise frequently or are specific to my group.

Can you tell me more about your research and upcoming projects?

This website provides an overview of my current research and publications. Our work in the near future will closely align with these topics.

Are you looking for new students in the coming year?

Like most faculty, I am continuously searching for new Ph.D. students. I typically admit one or two students a year, but there is very substantial competition for those positions. Moreover, research support depends on the decisions of external grant sponsors, which are made throughout the year. So, the number of available new Ph.D. positions evolves throughout the year. 

What is it like to work in your group? 

Our group expectations document will give you some idea of how our group operates.

What are you looking for in potential Ph.D. students?

Some key attributes are:

  • Persistance and adaptability in working through setbacks and challenges.
  • Passion for research and problem-solving, with all of its challenges and frustrations.
  • Outstanding quantiative analysis and numerical modeling skills.
  • Commitment to communicating your research through clear writing and presentations.
  • Experience in a research role (for example, as a summer research intern), and some writing or presenting experience.

There is no single recipe for how to best demonstrate the above. Further, I will calibrate my expectations relative to your personal opportunities (which vary widely from person to person). Please use your personal statement to demonstrate your strengths and potential in these areas. Your transcripts, letters of reference, and other materials also provide context and evidence.

Are Ph.D. students provided funding?  

All Ph.D. students are funded for the duration of their Ph.D. as long as they are making satisfactory progress. Funding includes all tuition costs plus a stipend for living expenses. The cost of living near Stanford is extremely high, but stipends are also higher than at most other U.S. institutions. There is limited funding available for some students entering the M.S. degree program, and funding decisions for those students are made along with admissions decisions.

The good news from this policy is that  Ph.D. students do not need to take on a significant financial burden. The challenge is that your prospective advisor must secure adequate funding (several hundred thousand dollars for tuition and stipend over the life of a Ph.D.) in order to make an admission offer. If you have external fellowship funding (e.g., an NSF, NDSEG, DOE, or Fulbright Fellowship), please make that clear in your application as it makes it easier for an advisor to commit to admitting you.

Is it possible to get the graduate application fee waived?

Yes, see for more information.