First-Year Research Rotation Program

First-year Ph.D. students can spend 1 quarter each in 3 groups. They must align with a permanent advisor by the middle of Spring quarter of the first year.

Look over the department website and research group pages to get ideas or information about specific faculty you might be interested in working with for rotations.

You are encouraged to line up your own research rotations. Be sure to contact the faculty directly to confirm their consent.  You can rotate with a faculty outside of the CS department too.

You must email the Graduate Program Office at and cc the faculty about your rotations by the following dates:

Autumn quarter:  August 15

Winter quarter:  December 15

Spring Quarter:  March 15

Alternatively, you can tell us your preferences for advisors or research areas, and the Graduate Program Office will line up a research rotation for you. (Note that this requires you to be somewhat flexible in the positions that you’ll accept.) Send your e-mail to with your preferences for advisors or research areas by the deadlines listed above.

An entering Ph.D. student and a faculty member may opt out of the rotation system by mutual consent. In this case, the faculty member must agree to serve as the student's research advisor and notify the Graduate Program Office by e-mailing

Fine print: If a student starts as a rotation student, but then does a second quarter in the first year with the same advisor, then the student has ceased to rotate and counts as permanently aligned with the advisor, who fully supports them in the second and further quarters.

Note: All faculty hosting a rotating CS 1st year PhD student pay 25%, and the department pays 25%, of a 50% RAship. This applies to all faculty (full CS, joint CS, and outside of CS). If the student has a fellowship, then the RAship is not needed.  For students with NSF fellowship, faculty advisor supplements them to bring their amount up to the department level RAship.  The supplementation continues for NSF students from their faculty advisor (after they align with a faculty) until they finish their PhD program, as long as the student makes satisfactory academic progress.

If the student did not align after the three rotations, and is granted an exception to do a fourth rotation, then the student is fully funded by the rotation faculty i.e. 50% RAship.

From Fall 21-22, students can not recieve Research Assistatnship/Course Assistantship and Fellowship, if they are overseas and enrolling remotely due to legal and tax implications.

Remember that the goal of the rotation program is to find an advisor. You should make sure that, by the end of the year, there’s at least one faculty member who is impressed with you and with whom you’d like to work. 

You should align with an advisor by the end of spring quarter of your first year.  If you align with a non CS faculty, you should have a CS faculty (courtesy faculty do not count) as a coadvisor.   Please see the coadvisor policy.   The decision on alignment should be done by June 15.   You should send an email to and cc your advisor/co-advisor to let us know about your alignment.

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