I am an international student and I received admit from X university (USA) for PhD in computer science.

I reached out to all the professors who match my research interest and only one of them responded. Now when I am supposed to fly in a month he has notified me that he doesn’t want to commit to new students.

None of the other professors are replying to my mails. I have got my visa and I am left with no funding.

What should I do now? Should I drop my plan or should I simply go for a masters or anything else?


3 Answers 3


It sounds like you've been admitted to a US PhD program in computer science without guaranteed funding.

While you will have to decide for yourself what to do, to me this seems like an unusual circumstance. As Buffy's answer mentions, it's common for students to not have an advisor right away in US PhD programs. However, it is not common to be completely unfunded.

I don't know what led you to being in this position, maybe there was a miscommunication between you and the program you applied to. Did they think you would have some sort of funding from your home country? Did they think an advisor had already committed to taking you on (in my grad program this would have been referred to as a 'direct admit' student)? Did you not have any conversations about funding during the application process?

I would not recommend moving to another country for an unfunded PhD unless you are independently wealthy and the cost is no concern. If you can arrange for a TA or RA position before the semester starts then that's fine. It seems like you're out of luck for now on the RA front, so find out from your program what the steps are to get a TAship.

  • Even if you are not moving, it would be a bad idea. Oct 27, 2020 at 0:41

In the US a CS student entering a doctoral program with only a bachelors seldom actually starts out with their dissertation advisor. There is plenty of time to meet people, see what they do, and impress them. The program is normally heavy on coursework initially. You might wait until your third year or so to actually wind up with the professor who will guide you.

This can be different in other fields and certainly is in other countries, but I wouldn't be a bit concerned about the situation.

The other professors aren't replying because it is too early for them to even think of considering you. Your situation is completely normal here.

The required classwork can be quite extensive since most programs require that you obtain a broad education in your field as well as a deep knowledge of some part of it. Almost all programs have comprehensive exams (maybe three or four) that must be passed before you get too deep into specific dissertation research. These assure the broad knowledge expected of any PhD.

Also, most students in such programs have either a TA or an RA that supports them financially in return for various activities that also prepare you for a career in academia (primarily). And such students don't pay fees, though they have living expenses, of course. But that would be the case anyway.

  • But I will have to pay my tuition fees and living expenses
    – az10
    Oct 26, 2020 at 19:33
  • You won't be bored. There is plenty to do to get ready for comprehensive exams. You don't just wait around for several years.
    – Buffy
    Oct 26, 2020 at 19:50
  • @az10 Are you are sure about having to pay? U.S. stem doctoral program tend to pay your tuition, and you are either on a stipend or paid for TA’ing or RA’ing (which is sorted out after you joined if needed). Oct 26, 2020 at 19:57
  • @gnometorule, yes. Forgot that part. Adding it also.
    – Buffy
    Oct 26, 2020 at 20:05
  • My department told that I either have to mail professors to get a RA or I will have to apply for a TA but they can’t guarantee if I will receive one or not
    – az10
    Oct 26, 2020 at 21:21

I did an unfunded MS, but I was getting in state tuition and lived with my parents. I then entered a funded PhD program at the same university.

I wouldn't pay out of state tuition for a PhD where I had to rent an apartment.

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