Rotation Training Program

In many areas of science, research rotations provide the opportunity for first-year PhD students to obtain research experience under the guidance of HDSI faculty members. Through the rotations, students can identify a faculty member under whose sponsorship their dissertation research will be completed.

Given the diversity of background training and intellectual persuasion of entering Ph.D. students, a subset of the HDSI faculty council felt strongly that a rotation training program would be essential to providing an informed match for each Ph.D. student. The interdisciplinary nature of data science makes research rotation experience a desirable aspect of the Ph.D. program while addressing principally different advising cultures in constituent areas of data science. Accordingly, HDSI seeks a principled way to address this difference in academic advising culture. One possibility is to require rotation of all candidates, but allow for exceptions through individual review of candidates who demonstrate strong background work and inclination to work with a specific faculty member. The other possibility is to identify a subset of admitted students who would be good candidates for participation in the first year rotation program. While the exact details will be worked out by the Graduate Committee, we plan to offer participation in the rotation program to all students at the time of the admission.

A research rotation is a guided research experience lasting one quarter (10 weeks) obtained by registering for DSC 294 with an instructor. Ph.D. students will participate in a minimum of 2 research rotations during their first year, with a minimum of two different faculty members, and as much as four rotations including summer quarter. A student may rotate twice under the same faculty members as long as they rotate with at least two faculty members. The goal is to help the student identify and develop their research interests and to expose students to new methodological approaches or domain knowledge that may be outside the scope of their eventual thesis. Research rotations must be completed before the start of the second year with a signed commitment form from a faculty advisor.

The Graduate Committee (GradCom) will develop detailed guidelines on the selection process and conduct of the Rotation Program that specifically address questions such as rotation schedule, whether or not it is arranged by faculty advisor or by the student themselves, orientation of students into the rotation program, guidelines on academic advising by the rotation advisors and student evaluations in a rotation program, and exception conditions including extension of the rotation experience for a student to four quarters and other special circumstances.

The rotation program will be evaluated for its effectiveness as a part of our first three-year review program with recommendations for any changes to the program submitted for review and approval by the Graduate Council.

Necessary Steps:

  1. Refer to the HDSI Faculty page
  2. Reach out to faculty members to learn more about potential rotation opportunities.
  3. Obtain the faculty members permission to do a rotation.
  4. After you have confirmed with the instructor, please fill out the request below.

Submit Your Rotation Request