Program FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to our most commonly asked questions. If your question is not answered below please contact Kyla Hanson at 

Do you have to be on campus to enroll in the program? Can Distance Learning students enroll in the program?

No. you must apply to the Ph.D. program through one of our home units

Can any of the courses be done online?

Currently, none of the courses for the ML Ph.D. are offered online. 

Do you have to have a masters degree to enroll in the program?

No master's degree is required.  Most of our applicants are applying straight from their undergrad programs.

Is it possible to replace GRE test with GMAT?          

No.  The admissions requirements are determined by the home school through which you apply.  Currently, all of the home schools have a minimum GRE and TOEFFL requirement

Can I get any prerequisite classes waved as my previous degrees were in?

There are no pre-requisite courses to apply to the program.  Credit for individual classes towards the Ph.D. program is handled on a case-by-case basis by the academic administrators in your home school.

What does it mean that the Machine Learning Ph.D. Program is a multidisciplinary program?

The Machine Learning Ph.D. Program is a collaboration of eight participating schools at Georgia Tech.  Incoming PhD students are admitted to the ML Ph.D. program through one of these home schools. 

What home schools participate in the ML PhD program?

Currently, there are 8 participating schools across 3 colleges:

Aerospace Engineering (College of Engineering) Biomedical Engineering (CoE) Computational Science and Engineering (College of Computing) Computer Science (CoC) Electrical and Computer Engineering (CoE) Industrial and Systems Engineering (CoE) Interactive Computing (CoC) Mathematics (College of Sciences)

How is my application processed for the Machine Learning Ph.D. Program?

Your application is first processed in the home school.  Application deadlines, minimum GRE/TOEFFL scores, and other requirements are all determined by the home school.  Applications that satisfy all of the requirements are then forwarded to the Machine Learning Faculty Advisory Committee (ML FAC) for review.  Decisions for admissions are made jointly between the home unit and the ML faculty.

Are the curricular requirements different for the ML PhD than for the PhD program in the home school?

Yes.  ML PhD students have different course requirements, and a different qualifying exam than the home school.

Detailed information about the ML Ph.D. curriculum can be found here.

Does the ML PhD program offer support in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantship, or fellowships?

Not directly.  Teaching assistantships and fellowships are determined through the home schools.  Research assistantships are typically funded through your thesis advisor, but are subject to the rules imposed by the student's home school.

In addition, a student's home school may have extracurricular requirements (including a minimum number of semesters grading or serving as a TA).  ML Ph.D. students are also subject to the extra-curricular requirements of their home schools.

Can an advisor from outside my home school serve as my thesis advisor?

Yes.  Any faculty member affiliated with the ML PhD program can serve as your thesis advisor. 

Where can I apply for the ML PhD program?

All application forms for graduate work at Georgia Tech are accepted through the admissions process which can be found here.

How is a home unit selected on the application?

You will be asked to indicate a Program of Study on your application.  Among the options are:

Ph.D. in Machine Learning (Aerospace Engineering) Ph.D. in Machine Learning (Biomedical Engineering) Ph.D. in Machine Learning (College of Computing) Ph.D. in Machine Learning (Electrical and Computer Engineering) Ph.D. in Machine Learning (Industrial and Systems Engineering) Ph.D. in Machine Learning (Mathematics)

The application for each of these 6 choices will be slightly different.  Note that admission to the schools of Computational Science and Engineering, Computer Science, and Interactive Computing are all handled through the College of Computing.  A home school for these applicants will be assigned based on their stated research interests.

I am currently a PhD student at Georgia Tech enrolled in a different degree program.  Can I transfer into the ML PhD program?

Yes.  Transfer applications are reviewed every year along with the applications for incoming students.  To apply as a transfer, please submit a research statement along with a summary of your status (your GT ID, what program you are currently enrolled in, a summary of your academic history, and your current thesis advisor) to  This email is only for transfer students currently enrolled in a PhD program, incoming students must apply using the central GT application.

I am currently an MS student at Georgia Tech.  Can I transfer to the ML PhD Program?

We only accept transfer applications from students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in one of our affiliated home schools.  To be considered for the ML Ph.D. program, you must either apply using the central application, or gain admission to a Ph.D. program in your home school.