Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I get a large amount of email, and I try my best to respond to them all. However, before sending me a message, please check whether your inquiry may be addressed by one of the frequently-asked questions below.

Admitted Students

I've been admitted as a Masters student. How do I become a PhD student in your lab?

Congratulations on your admission to Stanford! In order to become a permanent member of the lab, you will need to do at least a quarter-long research rotation with the lab. Over the course of the rotation, we will see if we are a good fit for each other. The number of new students I will take each year depends on the current size of my lab, available funding sources, and how your research interests fit in with the lab’s research. Unfortunately, we get a lot of interest and we cannot accept every student.

Usually, I advise Master’s students to first take my classes AA 274A: Principles of Robotic Autonomy I (Fall), and AA 203: Introduction to Optimal Control Theory (Spring), and perform well in them, before rotating in my lab. The summer is a particularly good time to do a rotation because this allows students to focus more of their efforts on research and stress less about taking time away from courses.

What does a rotation in your lab entail?

Usually, you will work on your own research problem with the guidance of one or more PhD students in the lab. Each rotation culminates in a research report as well as a presentation to the lab members.

Are rotations funded?

Please note that rotations are not funded positions.

I'm interested in robotics in general, how do I find out more about what the ASL does?

The easiest way is to check out our projects page and attend our lab meetings. Information about the lab meetings will be announced on this mailing list. You will get to learn about topics that the lab is interested in, and an opportunity to meet students in the lab.

Another way to learn more about the ASL is to take the classes I teach — AA274: Principles of Robotic Autonomy, and AA203: Introduction to Optimal Control Theory.

I'm an undergrad/MS student interested in gaining some research experience from your lab, but not looking to stay for the PhD. Can I still do a research rotation?

Yes! Please take a look at our research areas and our recent publications to see which areas you are most interested in.

Prospective Students

I am thinking of applying to Stanford, how do I increase my chances of getting in or working in the ASL?

Thank you for your interest in my research. I do not partake in the admissions process, so I cannot tell you anything about your chances of admission and/or joining the ASL. If you have been accepted to Stanford, I will be happy to talk to you at visit day for admitted students, or when you arrive at Stanford.

I am planning a visit to Stanford's campus. Can I have a tour of your lab?

Unfortunately, we get many requests and cannot usually give tours to individuals (otherwise, we’d be giving tours all day, every day, and we wouldn’t get any research done!)

Can I be a postdoc in your lab?

If you are interested in becoming a postdoc in my lab, please send me your CV and two representative publications.