Uncommon postgrad opportunity – Personal Experience


Uncommon postgrad opportunity – Personal Experience

What did the graduate application process involve?

For Master Degree:

  • Bachelor Degree with minimum GPA 3.0/4.0
  • 3 reference letters
  • SOP
  • CV
How long did it take to put things together? What was the most difficult part?

For me since I have done GRE and TOEFL just after graduating, it was quite easy, but getting reference letters when I am not in the university was the hardest part.


When was the due date? Are there several intakes during the year?

Usual due date is 31st May. There is only Fall intake, but those who are accepted may have to wait due to other reasons like visa rejections. They will be given a chance to get admitted in Spring Semester.

Did you contact the professor at your current graduate school during the application process? How important is this?

It is not important to contact the professors here for a Master Degree, but for the PhD Degree you have to contact. It is a must.

In addition to your undergraduate GPA, what other factors were important in getting accepted to the program? For instance, did you do a final year research project during undergrad which might have helped to make your application stand out?c

Final Year Research project,

Publication out of final year project,

My experience of being a Research Engineer at National University of Singapore (NUS).

To mention that, Masdar Institute is a research driven university and have only graduate programs. Thus they are interested in students with research experiences. If any applicant can demonstrate adequate research experience, there is a high chance of getting accepted.

What does your graduate degree involve? How long will the program take to complete?

Program is usually 2 years, Started in September 2011 and Finish in May 2013. Degree involves all major things in computing and information sciences.

Apart from the computer science courses I have to take a university core course which is Sustainable Energy which is compulsory for all programs. University offers 8 programs which is

  • Chemical Eng

  • Mechanical Eng

  • Microsystems Eng

  • Engineering Systems Management

  • Computing and Information Sciences

  • Material Science

  • Electrical power Eng

  • Water and Environmental Eng

Except the core courses in the program, student can take any courses from any other program with the approval from advisor.

What is your thesis about?

A privacy aware secure Data aggregation system for Smart Grid Networks

How was the first year?

It was challenging to be back in academic track after 2 years of work, but was manage to do the studies. Was able to maintain a high level of academic performance.

What are the highs and lows of the graduate program?

Facilities are good but since the institute is new it is not that popular yet. For research you will get lots of support from the institute. Every student is entitled to attend conferences and offer $1500 per year.

How is your thesis funded? What other types/kinds of financial aid are available to international graduate students at your university?

Funded by the university. All accepted students will automatically get financial aid, including travel grant for publications at conferences.

Can you get a Teaching Assistantship? Are there internships available whereby graduate students can work in companies while continuing with their program?

It is possible to get TA position with an additional payment, but every student will receive a stipend of AED 4000 except accommodation and Traveling. Students will get accommodation and traveling from the institute. It is not possible to receive TA funding and do the Master Degree since it does not follow US academy system.

In your field of study, what are the areas of research that have plenty of funding? Which areas have the potential to open up job opportunities after graduation?

Robotics, Multi Agent Systems, Algorithm, Sensor Networks, Software Engineering

What are your plans after completion of your graduate degree?

Will look for a PhD position in another good university

How is it like living in your new city? Is it small/big? What is the community like? Is there a sizeable Lankan population? Community events? How’s the weather? Transportation options? Does the university provide discounted bus passes? Is the city in close proximity to a larger metropolitan city?

The area is kind of developing now, thus notmany facilities. In the main city there are some Sri Lankans but it usually hard to mingle with them. City is not so close to the larger metropolitan city. The Institute provides transportation. Public transport is not so good. If you can get the driving license, affording a car is quite cheap. Fuel also very cheap. Usually many students apply for driving license and then get an own vehicle.

How is the cost of living?

It’s little bit higher than Sri Lanka. For a month you will need 1000 AED for food and other things. Accommodation and traveling is provided. And since you receive 4000AED stipend it’s possible to save at least AED 2000 which is Rs 70000/=

What are the accommodations like? Are there both on-campus & off-campus housing options?

Yes, both on-campus and off-campus accommodation is available but both managed by university. It is possible to live in your own place then you will get another AED 3000 for accommodation but for that you need approval from university.


Kasun Perera

Ai & NLP / Startup / Innovation / Mentor / Writer Linkedin

Current University & Program: Master Student, Computer Science, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (http://www.masdar.ac.ae/), Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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