Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Coursework Requirements

 Admission Requirements

The Ph.D. admission requirements include demonstration of knowledge of computer science at the Master's degree level, as evidenced by the successful completion of appropriate coursework. Applicants to the Computer Science Ph.D. program are encouraged to submit GRE Computer Science subject test scores.  In some cases, this might help compensate for gaps in Computer Science academic background.

 Candidacy Requirements

Despite acceptance into the program, in order to be admitted to candidacy, student must:

  • complete the degree requirements for the MS in CS (unless he or she possesses an MS in CS or a closely related engineering, scientific, or mathematical discipline)
  • pass the departmental qualifying examinations.

 Course Requirements for Students Matriculated Jan. 2009 or Later

6 courses (18 credits) from the Masters course group list, with at most 4 courses from a single Masters course group.  No course applied towards an MS degree can be used to satisfy course distribution requirements for the Doctoral degree.

Thesis Credits

24 Credits

Total: 42 credits

 Course Requirements for Students Matriculated Prior to Jan. 2009

Major Area

6 credits (course pairs list)

Minor Area I

6 credits (two courses from the course pairs list ) 

Minor Area II

6 credits (two courses from the course pairs list )

Ph.D. Thesis

24 credits

Total: 42 credits

The major and minor area course requirements for the Ph.D. degree are above and beyond the corresponding requirements for the MS degree, but may continue and deepen specializations begun at that level. The primary purpose of the major and minor courses is to provide breadth of knowledge. Therefore, students are encouraged to select courses from a variety of areas. Among all course pairs for the MS and Ph.D. combined, at most one pair may contain a course "piggybacked" onto a core course.

 Additional Requirements

  • passing qualifying exams (rules)
  • submission and defense at an oral examination of a thesis proposal
  • completion of the thesis
  • final defense of the thesis during another oral examination
  • acceptance of two papers for publication in a peer-reviewed (refereed) journal or conference approved by the thesis advisor.  At least one of these publications must be in the thesis area.  This rule applies to students whose thesis proposals were defended on or after July, 2007.

Students are required to report completion of each of these milestones according to the Procedures for Student Progress Through the Ph.D. Program.

 Computational Mathematics Option

Requirements: (beyond a master's degree)

A. 18 Course Credits (6 courses)

91.515 Operating Systems

91.551 Computer Architecture

Four courses in advanced major/minor area electives chosen, under the direction of an advisor, from an approved list of courses

B. 24 Dissertation Credits

Supervised by faculty from the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments

C. Four Qualifying Exams

  • Computer Science: Two out of the following three:
  1. Programming Languages - based on 91.531.
  2. Algorithms - based on 91.503
  3. Foundations - based on 91.502.
  • Mathematical Sciences
Two exams appropriate to the mathematical emphasis chosen.

Examples are:

  1. Real Analysis - based on 92.501 and 92.502
  2. One of
    • Probability and Mathematical Statistics based on 92.587, 92.588 and 92.591.
    • Optimization and Applied Probability based on 92.587, 92.572 and 92.585.
    • Differential Equations and Approximation.
    • Combinatorics and Number Theory.

Any student interested in this program should contact the Chair of the CS Department and/or the Chair of the Mathematics Department.