Fully Funded Ph.D. Positions in HRI

Joining the University of South Florida (USF) in August as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Zhao Han invites applications for up to two fully funded Ph.D. positions (Research Assistants) starting as early as Fall 2023 in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Ph.D. program (CSE Ph.D. program catalog, USF graduate admission) at USF in Tampa, Florida, USA.

Why graduate school?

Strong candidates are highly motivated, comfortable with programming, eager to learn, hard-working, and demonstrate an interest in the emerging and interdisciplinary field of human-robot interaction (HRI), including

Successful candidates will be mentored and trained as prolific and independent researchers, publishing at top-tier international conferences and journals. Dr. Han has a strong publication record and extensive mentoring experience with an inclusive excellence and supportive approach. You will work on real robot platforms using popular robotics frameworks.

Women and students from underrepresented and underserved groups that are traditionally disadvantaged are strongly encouraged to apply! This position includes tuition waivers and stipends.

Short Bio of Dr. Zhao Han

Zhao Han

Dr. Zhao Han is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of South Florida, joining the faculty in August 2023. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Colorado School of Mines.

His 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 and collaborating 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, advised by AAAI Fellow Dr. Holly Yanco. He received his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba in Canada.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success and has an annual budget of 2.34 billion (2022-2023). Ranked top 100 in U.S. News & World Report’s national university rankings, no other public university in the US has risen faster than USF in the past decade. 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. Learn more on USF’s about page.

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. Learn more about Florida Gulf Coast Living for why over 49,000 students have chosen USF as well as the US, state, and local resources.


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
    • Per 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog, as of March 24, 2023, The GRE is required for all Ph.D. applicants. The median GRE scores of recently admitted students include 770 on the Quantitative portion and a Verbal Total of 450. For GRE tests taken after August 1, we require a minimum of 161 on the Quantitative portion (81 percentile) and a minimum of 150 (44 percentile) on the Verbal.
  • CV/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation (Must be on official letterhead with recommender’s title and contact)
  • PDF of English Proficiency Scores, if applicable

For consideration, please mention Dr. Zhao Han and relate his research to your interest in your application materials and apply through the USF graduate student admission.

The current admission cycle is Spring 2024 and beyond, as you will see on the application portal. To be admitted to Fall 2023, you must also

  1. Select Spring 2024 on the application portal (It will be updated to Fall 2023 once reviewing process starts)
  2. Email your complete application package without the recommendation letters to zhaohan@mines.edu with your UID number after submitting to the application portal
  3. Ask each of your three recommendation letter writers to email their letter to zhaohan@mines.edu

All applications and recommendation letters must be submitted to the USF admissions portal and emailed to Dr. Zhao Han by April 15 for international students who will need to apply for US visa and June for domestic students.

Applications will be considered starting immediately. International students should apply soon because visa applications require additional time.

Once an admission offer is accepted, Research Assistantship offer decisions will be made once Dr. Zhao Han arrives at USF in August.