Computer Science, PhD


The Computer Science PhD Program prepares students for research careers in the software industry and in academia. It combines a commitment to theory with significant experience in software development. The areas in which students may carry out dissertation research are currently applied database research, biodiversity informatics, data mining, distributed software systems, network information systems, and visual attention.

Degree Requirements

The program requires 48 credits of course work, a minimum of 15 credits of dissertation research, at least one year of full-time status, and a doctoral dissertation containing original results. A GPA of 3.5 must be maintained at all times.

Several courses in theory (CS720 and CS724) and software development (CS680 through CS683) are required.

After 30 credits of graduate work have been completed, candidates who leave the program will be awarded an MS degree in Computer Science if their course work satisfies the requirements specified for the degree.

Candidates who continue with the program will take a written qualifying exam to verify the breadth of his or her knowledge. The examination covers theoretical computer science and two of the following areas:

Programming languages
Computer architecture and operating systems

After 48 credits of graduate work have been completed each candidate will present a dissertation proposal to the thesis committee. The thesis committee may accept or reject the proposal.

The Major Advisor and the Thesis Committee

Every incoming PhD student will have a temporary advisor appointed by the department, until a major advisor is appointed through the procedure described below.

After the candidate passes the qualifying exam, he or she must apply to the Graduate Program Director for the appointment of the major advisor and the thesis committee. The Graduate Program Director submits a recommendation to the campus graduate program administration who will appoint the dissertation committee. The major advisor is then responsible for monitoring the candidate's progress

The PhD program must be completed in seven years. Thereafter, individual approval must be obtained on a yearly basis.