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Coffee With Chidambaram Muthu on Georgia Tech University

30 June 2008 5 Comments

Hi all,

In an initiative to better understand life at various universities, I intend to interview a few graduate students about the situation there..

To start of this special series of Coffee With Experts, we have Chidambaram Muthu.. A student of 2004 batch from NIT Trichy..

Chidambaram aka Chithu, studied Computer Science and Engineering from NIT Trichy.. Chithu went on to work with Oracle in Hyderabad for 2 years.
Chithu is now on the verge of completing his MS from Georgia Tech University and would be joining Microsoft in August 2008.

Without further ado, its over to Chidambaram…

Coffee With Chidambaram Muthu – A birds eye view of Georgia Tech university

This information gives an overview of apping situation/life at Georgia Tech University.

* Entry Criteria such as approx CGPA range:

It depends on the program you are applying to. But its usually on the higher side because Gatech is rated in the top 10 schools for many departments.
I would say > 8.5 CGPA would be ideal..

* Research Experience at undergraduage level.

It is not a MUST, but is helpful if one has research experience…
Because at some point or the other, he would end up doing research (For eg: RA position).

* Typical Gre & Toefl scores range..

Usually GRE and TOEFL scores are just a cut-off for admission.
If I remember right, it was 1250 / 1600 in GRE and 250 / 300 in TOEFL during my time.
But nowadays it looks like the evaluation method has changed for both GRE & TOEFL.
So I am guessing it will be some equivalent score now.

* Does the university require subject GRE?

Yes. Gatech asked me for subject GRE

* What is the aid scenario?

Only Phd students come with aid.
Masters students very rarely get aid before starting.
But it is possible to get aid in the first semester itself for masters students, if the prof you are interested in working with, has a research opening and you are lucky 🙂
Most students work for 1 semester under the professor so that the prof gets to know them better and later get funded in the second sem.
If not funded in the first sem, students usually work inside campus for hourly wages.
Working off campus is illegal, unless approved.. Usually that comes without tuition waiver but it can help take care of living expenses.
I must tell you here that it becomes pretty hectic in the first semester if you are working outside the department, because you have to take care of academics as well.

* How much money should one shell out for the entire course if it completely unfunded..

I am assuming this question is for master’s program since phd is always funded.
Atlanta is a moderately costly city and so living expenses per month would be ~500-600 bucks normally, assuming you take a shared room and cook at home regularly.
Tuition fee per semester will be close to ~$12000 per semester (this information might be a little outdated. Please check on the college website for exact figure).
That makes it ~$15000 per sem. You can estimate the total amount based on how many semesters you would take (3/4) and of course, the dollar-rupee conversion rate 🙂

* Career opportunities after the course?
Excellent I should say, atleast for CS. Most people in my batch had more than 1 full-time job offer and in good companies.
I had offers from Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Goldman Sachs. Since Gatech is a well known school, many companies come on-campus.

* Typical Money made during internships?
Students typically make enough to manage tuition for one semester.

* How easy it is to switch departments?
I know of very few people who have switched departments, but it is possible to switch departments if both the departments involved are okay with it.
But it is always better to think about what you want to do rather than coming here and wanting to change.

* switch from Phd to MS?
If you join the phd program and later find you are genuinely not interested, it is definitely possible to switch to MS.
For this again, you need to get the concensus of the prof and the graduate program co-ordinator.
Applying for Phd just for the sake of aid is not considered a good practice, and I would definitely discourage it
Because it creates a bad impression with the profs, not just for people who do it, but for other people who come after them.

* Any other issues/ inputs which will be helpful.
If you are planning to apply to gatech (or that matter any other university in the US), put in a lot of effort in preparing a good SOP because that matters a lot.
Also, gatech has been admitting a lot of international students off-late and it just might be a good time to apply!

Thanks a lot chithu for sparing your time and answering these questions.. On behalf of CWS readers, I wish you a very big thank you and ofcourse, all the best for your future..

Readers, hope you found this information useful.. For previous episodes of coffee with experts, click here.




  • me said:


  • nagendra said:

    hey i have some queries.. can i have the contact details of chidambaram please??

  • Anonymous said:

    Thnx a lot..was very helpful..me frm NIT Calicut

  • subhasish satapathy said:

    im a student of NIT Trichy.mechanical engg,3rd sem. .can i get your e mail id so that i can get some informations bout MS n PHD