Masters & Ph.D.

Masters at wpi

Dr. Heffernan supports software engineers who are interested in pursuing a Master's degree. Qualified students are eligible to receive tuition remission and a stipend. Before applying, please familiarize yourself with the work of current and past graduate students. Please apply directly to Dr. Heffernan via with a clear subject line and cover letter. I get 200 emails from students and if you send me a message but don't tell me what it is for, I will not respond.

Ph.D. at WPI

Dr. Heffernan explain the various types of Ph.D. students he supports.

areas of study

Dr. Heffernan supports Ph.D. students in three areas: Computer Science, Data Science, and Learning Sciences & Technologies (LS&T). More specifically, he advises students who focus on educational data mining and software engineering that will be used to create tools that can be used to run randomized controlled trials on student learning. Support for many of the LS&T students comes from applications to the GAANN award. Prospective students should read Dr. Heffernan's recent papers to gauge whether their academic interests match his.

potential applicants

Dr. Heffernan looks for Ph.D. students who have at least one of the following:

  • a strong background in cognitive science

  • a strong math background (probability, statistics, machine learning, data mining),

  • research experience and published work

Dr. Heffernan currently advises graduate projects related to the following topics:

  1. ETRIALS (Ed-Tech Research Infrastructure to Advance Learning Science): Watch Video Description

  2. Making an AI Agent to Help Tutors: Watch Video Description

  3. ChatBots for Education: Watch Video Description

  4. Reinforcement Learning: Watch Video Description

  5. Natural Language Processing: Watch Video Description

To see if you are a good fit for Dr. Heffernan's lab, please read about past Ph.D. students.

Because of the large volume of inquiries, Dr. Heffernan only replies to prospective students if they seem like a good fit. When reaching out, please cc Angela Kao at