Admission to the ACO Program

Why ACO?

Are you interested in Combinatorics or Graph Theory? Are you interested in Algorithms? Are you interested in Discrete or Continuous Optimization (Linear Programming, Integer Programming, Combinatorial Optimization)? Are you intrigued by the interplay of these areas? Would you like to find out more about how these areas interact with and influence each other? Would you like to learn these topics in detail, and use that knowledge to do research in one or several of these areas?

If you answered yes to some of the above questions, then you should seriously consider ACO for your graduate study. We have made it easier to study topics normally investigated in different departments by collecting them in one coherent program. Instead of preparing for a comprehensive examination that might include topics distant from Discrete Mathematics, the ACO comprehensive examination consists solely of areas of direct relevance to the program. Upon passing the examination students can select an advisor from among the program faculty, regardless of their campus affiliation.

Why ACO at Georgia Tech?

There are very few similar programs in North America, and ours is among the largest and the best. We encourage prospective students to consider the wide range of research topics available to them, and the quality of our faculty as demonstrated by their publications records and outside recognition. (The ACO news page gives a summary of the most recent successes.) We have secured additional funding for our program in the form of student fellowships, travel grants and funds to support a healthy seminar and visitor life.

Our campus is located in midtown Atlanta, in a large metropolitan area. That brings with it all the benefits of a big city, and yet the Atlanta landscape with its abundance of trees and parks makes it easy to forget that we live in a large metropolis. We will be happy to host prospective students and show them our campus.

Job placement

A frequent and important question asked by future students is about their job prospects. In general, our alumni are finding positions both in academia and in industry. The program started in 1991, and therefore the data available to date are necessarily limited. However, the career paths of our alumni are documented on the ACO alumni page. We encourage prospective students to visit that page and form their own opinion.

Admission to the ACO Program

Students apply to the ACO Program at Georgia Tech through any one of the three sponsoring units: the College of Computing, the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, or the School of Mathematics. To be considered for admission to ACO, a student must be admitted to the doctoral program in one of these units. Decisions concerning admissions to the ACO program are made by the Coordinating Committee for the program, and are based on those materials supplied in support of the application for graduate admission.

Each unit has its own deadline for applications. However, to receive full consideration for admission to the ACO Program starting in the Fall semester, applicants should complete their application before December 15 of the previous year. Review of applications begins shortly thereafter. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the admissions committee. Admissions during a term other than Fall are rare.

Please note that applicants to the ACO program are no longer required to take the GRE Mathematics Subject Test. We will be looking for signs of excellence such as independent research, successful participation in the Putnam examination or other mathematics competitions, and/or superior academic performance. 

The ACO program is an elite program and as such maintains stringent admission requirements. It is expected that incoming students either have a strong background in at least two of the areas represented by the three participating units, or have demonstrated excellence in one area (as described in the previous paragraph). In addition, ACO students are expected to be committed to their chosen field of study and to posses a strong work ethic.

To assess the qualities of an applicant the ACO Admissions Committee considers all materials submitted by the applicant, including Statement of Purpose, transcript(s), GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

How to Apply

You can apply online at the Georgia Tech's Graduate Admissions page. When filling out the application, be sure to choose Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization as your major, with your choice of one of Computer Science, Mathematics, or Industrial and Systems Engineering as your home department. Note that the application deadlines can be different for each home department.

In case of difficulties or if you need assistance with your application, please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions at one of the following addresses, specifying an interest in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization: