I'm applying for PhD programs and a lot of applications ask for a list of faculty that I've contacted/consulted for admissions. What's the point of this question? Seems like a waste of time to answer. I have emailed several professors. Does that count?

Location: USA, Field: Computer Science.

There is a separate field to input faculty that you'd like to work with

  • 4
    If those faculty are not on the admissions committee, how would the committee know? They are not mind readers. So, if you want the committee to ask those faculty about their interest in you, you need to put down their names.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 20 at 22:57
  • 1
    What country is this? In the US it would, I think, be an unusual question in most (not all) fields. Other places such contact is essential.
    – Buffy
    Sep 20 at 23:14
  • @JonCuster this is specifically different from potential research advisors that i'd be interested in working with, so idk what they're going to contact them for Sep 21 at 1:07
  • @Buffy Yeah usa, cs. I updated details Sep 21 at 1:07

At my university, this serves the same purpose as mentioning a specific professor in your personal statement. Namely, if your application passes an initial screening, then it will be sent to that professor to see if they are interested in supervising you. So (although it is redundant) I would treat this as if it said "who would you like to work with if you are admitted?" Of course, you should indeed contact that person when you are applying.

  • 1
    Most of the faculty reply with a short "I look forward to reading your application." which seems like quite a generic reply. This makes me wonder whether there is really any purpose in contacting the faculty beforehand. Some reply that they don't accept new PhD students the next cycle but quite a lot of them have a memo on their website stating: "Due to the large number of emails I can't process individual inquiries from prospective PhD students. Please contact me after you've been admitted."
    – Vilda
    Sep 21 at 11:38
  • Is this answer based on US experience or Saudi Arabia? Or elsewhere?
    – Buffy
    Sep 21 at 13:04
  • @Buffy This has been the same exp for me in usa Sep 21 at 16:56
  • 1
    @Vilda There are several questions on this site with answers addressing your comment. See e.g. academia.stackexchange.com/questions/169639/… Sep 22 at 7:58
  • 1
    @Vilda The two programs I admitted two were from the two profs I got on the phone with (didn't get accepted after one other on-site interview) so if they say don't email them, don't email them but it does serve a purpose Sep 23 at 20:07

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