Before you apply

First learn about what we do. Think if this is what you really are interested in.

  • We have a strong focus on fundamental science that originates from good experiments (not pure theoretical modeling).
  • We do not do pure robot development. Instead, we build robots and use them as tools (besides many other tools) to discover scientific principles of complex locomotor-terrain interaction systems and in turn apply these principles to make robots move better.
  • Scientific research (and any fundamental, creative work) is hard. If you just want an “experience” without much time to devote to it, look elsewhere.
  • Due to limited time and resource, Prof. Li will only consider those that demonstrate serious interest.

Read our papers since 2015 and abstracts since 2017 to get an idea of recent directions.

We do not normally have funding for undergraduate & Master’s students, or visiting students / scholars.

Prof. Li’s Mentoring Goals and Mentee Achievements


How to apply

All applicants

Send all the following information in a SINGLE email:

  1. A brief introduction of yourself
    • Why you’d like to do scientific research
    • Why you find our research interesting
    • How you may contribute to and benefit from our group
    • What your longer term career goals and aspirations are
  2. CV / resume
  3. Unofficial transcripts (college and above)
  4. IMPORTANT: Papers, slides, posters, etc. (if any) to show your research / project experience and skills
    • For collaborative efforts, focus on your own work, but also explain what others did
    • Send a download link if too large to attach

In addition to the above:

PhD & Master applicants

  1. Submit a complete official application via ME PhD / ME MSE / Robotics MSE by December 15 for Fall admissions
    • We will make decisions by mid-Spring, after all applications are reviewed
    • Spring admissions are normally not considered; but let me know if you have unusual circumstances
  2. In application form, list Prof. Chen Li as a faculty member of interest
    • Feel free to mention other faculty as well, if you desire
  3. In statement of purpose, elaborate your interest in Prof. Chen Li’s lab
  4. For academic interests, choose Systems, Controls & Modeling (this is the lab’s primary area) or Robotics (secondary).
    • Feel free to mention other areas as well, if you desire
  5. Prof. Li will NOT be able to pre-evaluate your application

Undergraduate / Master students already at JHU

  1. How many hours you plan to devote to lab research each week
    • Take into account your other activities (e.g., classes) and do not over-commit
  2. When you plan to start and for how long do you plan to work in the lab

Postdoc applicants

  1. Brief summary of your achievements during PhD
  2. Your research plan in our lab
  3. Your career plan after postdoc training
  4. Contact information of at least three references

Visiting student / scholar applicants

  1. Period during which you’d like to visit
  2. How you will fund the visit
  3. J-1 VISA is required

Funding Opportunities for Applicants