Recruiting: PhD

Work with me on NLP at the University of Sydney!

My primary recruiting timeline is:

  • Read applications in late October
  • Interview and make offers in November

I am open to applications from outstanding students at any time, but my expectations are higher outside the normal timeline. Complete the process below and I will respond as soon as I can.

How to apply

At Australian universities, you first contact individual faculty (rather than the central process used in US universities), and can do so at any time.

To apply for my research group, do the following:

(1) Complete this form.

(2) Email with:

  • Subject line “PhD application: [your name]”
  • Statement of Purpose (PDF, 2-4 pages), covering your academic background, research interests, and reasons for pursuing a PhD.
  • Transcript(s) (PDF or images)
  • CV / Resume (PDF)

(3) Tell your letter writers to email with the subject “PhD Recommendation for [Your Name]” and the letter either in the body of the email or attached as a pdf. The email must come from their professional email address or an administrator in their department. Note, thi should be sent directly to me, NOT to the central university admissions email address.

If you have any questions, email

Once I have considered your application, I will send an email to the address provided in the form (step 1). I will not respond to email sent in step (2) and step (3) if you have not completed the form.

Note - Please do not contact me if you are a current PhD student at another university seeking a short-term research visit (6-12 months). I generally do not respond to email requesting that type of opportunity. If I change my approach in future, I will update this page.

Offer Process

  1. I will contact you for a phone interview.
  2. I will tell you I want you to join my group.
  3. You complete the university application form with my help.
  4. You receive a formal offer.

If I have a grant that can fund your PhD I will tell you in step (2). Otherwise, the university application form also includes an application for university fellowships (the RTP) that fund your entire PhD.

My Group

I am looking for multiple students to work on Natural Language Processing. Projects will also cross over into Crowdsourcing / Human Computation, Data Science, and Machine Learning.

I am towards the hands-on end as an advisor and aim to build a collaborative, socially connected group. My group will have weekly group meetings and visits by researchers from around the world (virtual for now).


  • A Bachelor’s degree that includes significant experience in Computer Science.
  • Some form of research experience. For example, any of these would be sufficient:
    • A senior thesis
    • An honours thesis with first class honours
    • A Master’s degree with an independent research component
    • A significant industry research experience (e.g., an internship in a research lab)
    • A pre-doctoral position (e.g., the Allen AI Predoc program)

Note: You do not need a master’s degree or published papers. That kind of experience is certainly a plus, but so are other activities, such as internships, personal projects, and extra background in non-CS subjects.

I consider both Australian and international students. If you receive an offer you can apply for a student visa.

Sydney’s PhD Degree Structure

Details here. Key points:

  • 3-4 years
  • A research methods class and one other class (ie., half a semester of time)
  • No teaching required, but you will have opportunities to teach if desired
  • I encourage interested students to do internships in industry research labs


Every student in my group is funded to do just research for the length of their PhD (if you choose to get experience teaching you will be paid extra). The standard stipend is 35,000 AUD / year, which is not subject to tax because it is a scholarship (i.e., 35k goes into your account). Where possible, I will work with you to get a top-up scholarhip of 10,000 / year (either through a fellowship or a research grant).

How does Sydney compare to US universities?

I recognise that some applicants may not be familiar with Australian universities. Evaluating universities is hard, but here are a few points of comparison: