Grad Office Assignment Overview

The Graduate Student Services Team (Grad Advising) oversees desk assignments in the Allen School’s graduate student shared offices and workrooms across two buildings: The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering and the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. Students are guaranteed one permanent student office assignment  while matriculated in the CSE doctoral program. A student may be seated in a graduate student office/workroom or in a faculty-managed laboratory. If a student moves into a laboratory, they relinquish their graduate student office/workroom assignment. The desk will subsequently be assigned to other future occupants as needed. 

The shared offices and workrooms managed by Grad Advising are intentionally assigned to encourage mixing of students across cohorts, research groups, countries of origin, etc., whereas faculty-managed labs are by definition made up of students from a single research group. 

Graduate Advising only manages policy for graduate student offices—not faculty-managed lab spaces. All decisions regarding those spaces are the exclusive purview of the managing faculty or designated lab manager. This includes all computing equipment and general status of the office environment/effects therein (other than building-scale needs). In cases where an issue within a lab arises, please contact the faculty or lab manager in charge of that particular lab.

Procedure for Changing Desks & Offices

Annual Process

The Graduate Student Services Team distributes an Annual Student Desk/Space Survey at the end of the academic year to confirm our understanding of space assignments and enable an efficient audit of our physical spaces. It is critical that you complete this survey each year. You can opt to request a different space at this time. If there is capacity to accommodate a request (such as changing desk, offices, or buildings), we will reach out to coordinate a change in space assignments.

Mid-year Moves

During the academic year, anyone wishing to move within or between graduate student offices/workrooms/labs must contact the Graduate Student Services Team via email or in person (CSE1 288). If space is available, the student will be invited to fill out the Grad Desk Move Intent & Scheduler Form. Please do not fill out the form until you receive confirmation of space availability from the Graduate Student Service Team. We’re happy to accommodate requests when able!

Moving into a Laboratory from a Student Office

Students will sometimes seek to move into labs overseen by their advisor(s). You can move into a lab at any time by following these steps:

  1. Contact and confirm lab seating availability with your prospective faculty or lab manager.

  2. Please email and confirm your intent to move.

  3. The Graduate Student Services team will invite you to fill out the Grad Desk Move Intent & Scheduler Form. This allows us to prep your old desk for a new student and establish relevant timing logistics.

Accomodations & Accessibility Requests

The University of Washington & the Paul G. Allen School is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, and activities. We are happy to accommodate you with regards to your office space. Email with your request and we'll do the best we can!

Do NOT Move Desks Without Permission

Please do not change your desks without permission from the Graduate Student Services Team. This includes swapping desks between students within the same office. We’re happy to accommodate requests, but a number of services rely on us accurately knowing the desk at which you are seated. Moving desks without notification makes it difficult to manage our spaces and several hundreds of student desk assignments effectively. We are happy to facilitate any moves or trading of spaces in order to maintain an accurate inventory of desk spacesplease just ask beforehand!

DO Keep Your Office in Good Shape

Keeping your office clean is a group responsibility. Allen School custodial staff vacuums the carpet and takes out the common waste/recycling bins, but all other spaces / surface (both personal and community) are soley the occupants’ responsibility. Cleaning supplies and basic office supplies can be found in the storage areas of both the Allen and Gates buildings—just inquire at the buildings’ respective reception desks.  We encourage discussing desired shared space norms when initially moving into any office. As the building is open to the public during normal business hours, keeping your office door locked at all times is also highly encouraged.

Office Assignment Priority Policy

When possible all new doctoral students are initially assigned a desk in either a shared office or workroom. The shared offices and workrooms managed by Grad Advising are intentionally assigned to encourage mixing of students across cohorts, research groups, countries of origin, etc. New doctoral students may request office assignment preferences, including placement in a specific research lab, as part of the new student onboarding process. 

When a vacancy in an office arises in the context of multiple claims of interest, the office/desk assignment is made on a priority system based on student seniority. The ranking for assignment of a desk and for re-allocation of desks is the following:

  • CSE doctoral student, post-generals

  • CSE doctoral student, post-quals

  • CSE doctoral student, pre-quals

  • Other UW doctoral students supported by CSE faculty

  • Visiting doctoral students from other institutions supported by CSE faculty

Current residents of an office have priority over new residents for moving to a vacant desk. Disputes or concerns over who has priority for a given desk should be taken to Grad Advising for mediation and resolution.

Temporary Special-Use Assignments

Space permitting, temporary special-use assignments for parties not classified above may be requested by faculty or relevant staff at the conservative discretion of the GSSO. Arrangements of this character should be expressly time-bound and need-based, and are subject to conclusion with limited notice in cases of emergent need.

Administrative Space Entry Norms

Allen School staff from Operations, Support, and the Grad Advising Team retain the ability to enter your office for reasons related to their roles at the school. In cases where we're unsure who is the resident of a given desk, we may examine the surroundings.

On-leave Policies (Desks & Machines)

Desk Policy

Desk space of students on-leave may need to be reallocated, depending on the current state of space needs based on new incoming or visiting doctoral students. The priority for maintaining desk space for students on-leave (if available) will be the following, in descending order:

  • Students on official on-leave status (filling out and submitting the Graduate School Petition for On-Leave Status with $25 processing fee for one or two quarters.)

  • Students on official on-leave status for one year.

  • Students on official on-leave status for second, third, etc. years, in descending order.

Students whose formal on-leave status lapses relinquish all desk, machine, and account privileges.

Students who leave the program without a degree or without notice relinquish all desk, machine, and account privileges.

Machine Policy

On-leave students assigned a personal desktop machine give up all rights to the desktop machine and its data contents when they go on leave. The CSE Support team reclaims machines of students who go on-leave, so students must archive any valuable content before going on-leave. Returning students may request to receive a desktop machine of equal or better capabilities to the one they gave up when they went on-leave. Students should contact the Graduate Student Services Team and CSE Support to sort out these details prior to going on-leave.

Moving Out Procedures

Students who are moving out of either building (going on-leave, graduating, and/or generally departing) should follow the procedures outlined in the doctoral student “Saying Goodbye to CSE” checklist