PhD in Imaging Science

Frequently Asked Questions - PhD students

Q. What is the educational background of a typical student admitted into the Imaging Science Program?
A. Most students have strong backgrounds in biomedical, electrical, or computer engineering, computer science, or physics. Success in the program is built on strong analytical skills. A bachelor of science in one of these or a closely related field is required. Many students enter the doctoral program with a master of science in one of these or a closely related field. 

Q. Why should I choose to study at Wash U?
A. Washington University is a leader in imaging science. WashU has hundreds of imaging researchers including faculty, staff, post-doctoral researchers, doctoral, master's, and undergraduate students. This interdisciplinary, highly creative environment presents many opportunities for students to engage in research and make contributions. The range of training opportunities including courses, seminars, hands-on laboratory experiences and others is truly unique. 

Q. How long does it take to earn a PhD?
A. While there is no fixed time to complete a PhD, most students finish in approximately five years.

Q. How do I choose a lab/professor to work with?
A. In their first year, students rotate with potential research advisors. The goal of the rotations is for students to match with a rotation advisor who will serve as their research advisor for the duration of the PhD. Students may have one or two faculty members in mind when they enter the program. 

Q. How do I find housing?
A. There are a number of resources offered by the Graduate School in regard to housing, transportation and support for both domestic and international students. All students have access to a free UPass which covers universal rail and bus transportation. The University assists graduate students with finding suitable off-campus housing through

Q. Is St. Louis safe?
A. Overall, St. Louis is a safe city, with crime rates that are typical of medium-sized U.S. metropolitan regions. St. Louis, like other major cities, faces social disparities and inequities, and some neighborhoods are safer than others. WashU is committed to promoting systemic change and keeping students safe.

Adjacent to campus you’ll discover a rich cultural life that supports your time outside of the classroom: the coffee shops and music venues of the Delmar Loop, as well as the museums and trails of nearby Forest Park, voted “Best City Park” by USA Today. The campus is served by several MetroLink light rail stations and bus lines, making the area easy to navigate. Go to for statistics and information recommended for safety precautions. Learn more about St. Louis.

Q. What is the amount of time required weekly for research?
A. Students are expected to commit 40 hours/week towards the program. This includes time for both academic coursework as well as research.

Q. Will I have time to have a social life?
A. You will have as much time for a social life as you would in any other full-time job.

Q. What does it mean to be “fully-funded”?
A. We provide monetary support for living expenses and tuition. This stipend is adjusted each year for living expenses.

Q. Will I be able to obtain outside scholarships?
A. Yes. Information on the various outside scholarships and how to apply for them is available at

Q. Are there resources on campus that support PhD students?
A.Yes, Habif Health and Wellness offers medical and mental health services for graduate students. The Graduate Center offers a variety of clubs, seminars and workshops specifically geared toward graduate students. AGES is the Association of Graduate Engineering Students and all PhD students are members. AGES offers networking and social events. In addition, McKelvey Graduate Student Services office offers support for students for a variety of issues.

Q. Can I collaborate or work in a lab on the Medical school campus?
A. Yes, many of our Imaging Science faculty members are affiliated with the Medical School. Depending on the research lab you choose, you may be located on the Danforth or Medical School campus.

Q. Can I contact a graduate student with questions?
A. Yes, you can connect with a Graduate student ambassador.