Funded Ph.D. Positions in HRI/AR/Robotics/AI

Prof. Zhao Han invites Ph.D. applications for multiple funded Research and Teaching Assistantships starting as early as Spring 2024 in the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida, USA.

Why USF for graduate school?

Preferences will be given to candidates who are good communicators, comfortable with programming, hardworking, determined, and interested in an area related to Prof. Han’s expertise preferably with relevant research experience and/or an M.S. degree, including:

Current open projects include:

  • inclusive remote participation using VR and telepresence robot
  • privacy-aware, in-the-air projected AR for robot communication
  • responsible robots guided by observational learning insights

Candidates in computer science, robotics, informatics, HCI, engineering, psychology, design, cognitive science, or any related area are welcome to apply.

Successful candidates will be mentored and trained as prolific and independent researchers. You will publish at top-tier international conferences and journals, network with world-class researchers, and become a national and international leader in the field.

Prof. Han has a strong publication record, a wide range of interdisciplinary expertise, and extensive mentoring experience with an inclusive excellence and supportive approach.

Women and students from underrepresented and underserved groups that are traditionally disadvantaged are strongly encouraged to apply! (Read Prof. Han’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement and the CSE department’s Broadening Participation in Computing program).

The graduate assistant position includes a tuition waiver, a stipend, and a health insurance subsidy. Learn more by visiting the USF graduate assistantships resource center.

Short Bio of Prof. Zhao Han

Zhao Han

Zhao Han is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of South Florida. He leads the Reality, Autonomy, and Robot Experience (RARE) Lab.

Prof. Han’s research lies broadly in human-robot interaction (HRI), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR). He focuses on designing, developing, and evaluating novel robotic systems and interactions, for embodied robots to be more capable and understandable while interacting, collaborating, and teaming up with humans.

He received the best long-paper award at INLG 2022 and the best late-breaking report third prize at HRI 2022. Previously, he had led teams to win multiple international and national robot competitions, including first place in the Panasonic Prototype 3D LiDAR Challenge and second place in the FetchIt Mobile Manipulation Challenge at ICRA 2019.

In addition to research, he received a university-wide Mines Diversity, Inclusion, and Access (DI&A) Award in 2022.

He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UMass Lowell and received his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba in Canada. Prior to USF, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Colorado School of Mines.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public, metropolitan high-impact global research university dedicated to student success and has an annual budget of 2.34 billion (2022-2023).

Association of American Universities logo

USF is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious group of 65 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

USF ranks 45 among US public universities and 89 in the 2022-2023 Best National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report. No other public university in the US has risen faster than USF in the past decade.

us news best colleges badge
carnegie classifications icon

USF is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”, and according to the National Science Foundation, USF spent $568 million on research and development in 2019, ranking it 43rd in the US and 25th among public universities.

Serving over 49,000 students, USF is designated as one of three Preeminent State Research Universities by the Florida Board of Governors, receiving additional financial support from the state of Florida for student success and research.

Florida Board of Governors

Tampa, Florida, USA

USF is located in the City of Tampa on the west coast of the Sunshine State of Florida. Full of opportunities and possibilities, the Tampa Bay area has around 3 million people and is one of the top places to live. Tampa also ranked second place in the top 10 fastest-growing US tech hubs for IT talent by CIO.

Learn more about Florida Gulf Coast Living for why over 49,000 students have chosen USF as well as from the US, State of Florida, and local (Tampa Bay, St. Pete/Clearwater) resources.

Application Process

A complete application package includes:

  • Unofficial Transcripts (including the grade sheet and diploma, if applicable)
    • Please refer to the Graduate Academic Requirements for the details.
    • If admitted, official transcripts and test scores will need to be submitted to Graduate Admissions but unofficial transcripts/scores can be used in reviewing the application.
  • PDF of GRE Scores
  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose in PDF
    • Additionally, please mention Prof. Zhao Han and discuss at least two of his publications
  • Three Confidential Letters of Recommendation (Must be on official letterhead with the recommender’s title and contact in PDF)
  • PDF of English Proficiency Scores, if applicable

For consideration, please

  1. Prepare a complete application package with the materials listed above
  2. Apply through the USF graduate student admission with a complete application package
  3. Email your complete application package without the recommendation letters to with your UID number
  4. Once all recommendation letters have been submitted to the application portal, email Prof. Han to let him know
    • Short-listed candidates will be scheduled for online interviews

When an offer is issued, international applicants will go through the foreign influence screening process.

Application Deadline

Priority Deadline1Final University Deadline2
SpringSep 1Oct 15
FallJan 15Feb 15
  1. Applications received by the priority deadline will receive maximum consideration, including funding.
  2. Applications received between the priority deadline and the final university deadline are considered on a space-available basis.
  3. All supporting materials (test scores, transcripts, etc.) must be received by the stated deadline. Any supporting materials received after the deadline may be reviewed on a space-available basis.


For questions about the graduate application process, you may

For additional questions, feel free to contact Prof. Zhao Han (preferably with a complete application package)!