A candidate for the doctoral degree in computer science must meet all of the following requirements in addition to the University requirements outlined in the Graduate Catalog.
The above must be completed within eight years after admission to the Ph.D. program. Note that students with a degree in a discipline outside of computer science will be required to take prerequisite undergraduate courses that will not be counted towards the 72 credit hours requirement.
Advisor. Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, a faculty advisor will be assigned to the student for general guidance. The student, however, is expected to find a dissertation advisor by the time he or she completes the qualifying process.
Course Requirements. Students with a master’s degree in computer science must complete course work as specified below:
Students with an undergraduate degree in computer science must complete course work as specified below:
Students with an undergraduate or master’s degree in a discipline outside computer science must complete the 72 credit hours of course work as specified above. Additionally, these students need to demonstrate proficiency in Problem Solving & Programming, Introduction to Computer Architecture, Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms, Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science, and Operating Systems at an undergraduate level.
Research Guidance Committee. A research guidance committee will be formed after the student has passed the breadth oral examination of the PhD qualifying process.
Candidacy Examination. Upon completing coursework, before becoming heavily involved in dissertation work, and no later than three years after acceptance into the Ph.D. program (preferably during the first 18 months after admission into the program), the student must pass a candidacy examination. This examination is designed to test the student’s knowledge of background material related to the dissertation topic and to determine if the student is ready to proceed with the dissertation research. At least one week before the scheduled examination time, the student must provide the examination committee with the following documents:
During the examination, the student must give a presentation of the literature review (15 minutes) and a presentation of the dissertation proposal (30 minutes) to be followed by questions from the committee regarding either document (45 minutes).
The presentations of the literature review and the dissertation proposal are open to the public and will be publicized by the GPD at least one week in advance of the exam. Once the presentations have concluded and the audience has asked general questions, the audience will be excused. The examination by the committee will be held in private, but any graduate faculty are welcome to observe the exam.
The student and the student's advisor are responsible for finding a faculty member (not on the examination committee) to chair the exam. The exam chair is responsible for keeping the time limits and ensuring that the exam portion is private except for graduate faculty.
Dissertation Committee. After the candidacy exam has been passed and dissertation topic approved, the research guidance committee's responsibilities are completed. A new committee, the dissertation committee, is formed to supervise the dissertation research.
A dissertation committee is formed according to the following procedure:
Dissertation. A minimum of 24 credit hours of dissertation work is required. The work must represent an achievement in research and must be a significant contribution in the field. Students are required to publish (or have in the revision process) at least one paper in a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings based on their dissertation work.
Dissertation Defense. The examination will be oral and the examination committee must have the completed dissertation at least two weeks before the examination date. In addition to the examination, students are required to give a public oral presentation on their dissertation results.
Time Requirement. Ph.D. students should normally be full time. Students who wish to pursue their study on a part-time basis must spend at least two semesters on campus or at an off-campus facility engaged in full-time graduate study. A full-time student can be expected to satisfy all the Ph.D. requirements in three to four years when entering with an M.S. degree or four to five years with a baccalaureate degree. No student (full-time or part-time) will be allowed to study for the Ph.D. degree beyond eight years from the date of admission into the program.
For example, an aggressive timeline for a full-time student entering with an M.S. degree and no prerequisite requirements may look like this.
End of 6 months: Pass the breadth oral examination End of 12 months: Pass the research ability examination End of 18 months: Successfully complete the coursework requirements End of 18 months: Pass the candidacy examination End of 36 months: Successfully defend the dissertation
For the same student, a normal timeline may look like this.
End of 6 months: Pass the breadth oral examination End of 12 months: Pass the research ability examination End of 18 months: Successfully complete the coursework requirements End of 24 months: Pass the candidacy examination End of 48 months: Successfully defend the dissertation
Colloquium. Students are expected to actively participate in the colloquium activities of their research area for at least four semesters.