PhD Policies and Requirements

    View Graduate Admission Requirements

    General Catalog Requirements for PhD in Computer Science

    Course Work and Research Hours

    The doctoral degree requires a minimum of 55 credit hours at the graduate level, consisting of 37 credit hours, not including CSC 9000: Independent Research, with a grade of B- or higher. Students must take a minimum of three years of graduate coursework. Students who have a Master’s degree or students who have transferred may substitute other classes for these credit hours. The graduate advisor and major professor in conjunction with the Graduate School must approve any transfer credit.

    The following four core courses worth for 12 credit hours are required:

    Three mandatory core courses

    Course Number Course Description Credits
    CSC 7101 Programming Language Structures 3
    CSC 7103 Advanced Operating Systems 3
    CSC 7300 Algorithms Design and Analysis 3

     

    One core course out of the following

    Course Number Course Description Credits
    CSC 4890 Theory of Computation 3
    CSC 7080 Computer Architecture 3
    CSC 7135 Software Engineering 3

     

    In addition, CSC 7800: Research Seminar must be taken during the first year.

    The student must pass each core course with a grade of B- or higher. If a B- or higher grade is not achieved in any of the core courses, the course must be repeated. Each core course is typically offered once a year.

    Elective Courses

    Eight additional courses (electives) must be chosen from at least two of three categories listed below, and must include at least five 7000+ level courses:

    Theory, algorithms, and databases:

    Course Number Course Description Credits
    CSC 4356 Interactive Computer Graphics 3
    CSC 4402 Database Systems 3
    CSC 4444 Artificial Intelligence 3
    CSC 4512 Optimization: Modeling Approaches, Algorithms and Applications 3
    CSC 7333 Machine Learning 3
    CSC 7442 Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery 3
    CSC 7481 Information Retrieval Systems 3
    CSC 7701 Sensor Networking Concepts 3
    CSC 7700 Special Topics in Computer Science 3
     

    Systems, software, and architecture:

    Course Number Course Description Credits
    CSC 4304 Systems Programming 3
    CSC 4330 Software Systems Development 3
    CSC 4351 Compiler Construction 3
    CSC 4501 Computer Networks 3
    CSC 4700 Special Topics in Computer Science 3
    CSC 7601 Design Issues in High-Speed Networks: Multicast, Pricing and Control 3
    CSC 7602 Wireless Networks 3
    CSC 7700 Special Topics in Computer Science 3
     

    Computational science and digital media:

    Course Number Course Description Credits
    CSC 4243 Interface Design and Technology 3
    CSC 4263 Video Game Design 3
    CSC 4357 Applied Computer Graphics 3
    CSC 7443 Scientific Information Visualization 3
    CSC 7481 Information Retrieval Systems 3
    CSC 7700 Special Topics in Computer Science 3

     

    Approval must be obtained before registering in CSC 7090 or CSC 8000.

    One of the 7000+ level courses can include CSC 7700: Special Topics courses in specific areas, as appropriate.

    The student may enroll in CSC 7999: Independent Study. Only 3 credit hours total from this course will apply to the PhD coursework requirements. Please see Graduate Advisor before enrolling in this course for more information.

    Up to three (12 credit hours) of interdisciplinary graduate courses from other departments may be taken.

    The student's advisory committee and graduate advisor must approve all eight courses. Additional coursework may also be required as decided by the advisory committee and graduate advisor.

    At least 18 credit hours of CSC 9000: Dissertation Research must be taken with an “S” (Satisfactory) grade. The student may begin enrolling in CSC 9000 starting in the second year and continue until the final exam.


    Continuity and Residency Requirement

    All Ph.D. students must maintain continuous registration for courses and research hours as specified in his/her plan of study. In order to alter his/her plan of study (e.g., by substituting courses for those listed on the form), the student must obtain approval from the graduate advisor. If a student has not completed all four core courses with a grade of B- or higher by the end of the sixth semester, he/she will be dropped from the Ph.D. program. Additionally, if a student cannot take or pass the general exam by the end of the fourth year, he/she will be dropped from the Ph.D. program. Any exceptions, such as an extra semester, must be granted by the graduate advisor or division chair per the advisory committee’s request.

    Dual enrollment in the Ph.D. and MS programs or a change from the Ph.D. program to the MS program must must be granted by the graduate advisor or division chair per the advisory committee’s request. Any graduate assistantships will be stopped if the student decided to switch to the MS program.

    The residency requirement is fulfilled after two consecutive semesters of full-time coursework upon approval of the plan of study.

    The Graduate Advisor in conjunction with the Graduate School must approve any transfer credit.


    Annual Evaluation

    Every Ph.D. student is evaluated annually in April. The entire faculty meets to review the progress of each students and provides feedback and suggestions. This evaluation may include:

    • Determination of teaching assistantships and other financial support awarded in the next year
    • Evaluation of satisfactory progress in the PhD program
    • Evaluation of coursework and research plans (first year)
    • Evaluation of research progress, including reports, presentations, and published papers (second year and after). Students are expected to start publishing research papers as early as possible.
    • Remarks and recommendations from the major professor and advisory committee

    An in-depth review (such as meeting with the student) may be conducted as needed. Any student matter that cannot be resolved at the advisory committee level will be handled by the entire faculty. The graduate school may be consulted as well.


    Advisory Committee

    The advisory committee must be formed by the end of first year. The Major Professor or Advisor serves as the chair of the committee, which has, at least, two other members (one of them being CSE faculty). The chair and members all are chosen from the Graduate Faculty in Computer Science and Engineering. In the event that the Research area requires additional supervision from a faculty member not in Computer Science and Engineering (or the student has chosen to have a minor field of study), a member must also be chosen from the Graduate Faculty in that area, subject to approval by the Major Professor and the Graduate Advisor. An adjunct professorial faculty or a faculty from other department can serve only as the co-advisor thereby requiring a regular CSE faculty as the co-advisor. At least two members of the advisory committee must be full members of the Graduate Faculty; the other members of the committee can be full or associate members of the Graduate Faculty. The committee must be approved by the Chair of the CSE Division, and then approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. 

    Although each student is primarily responsible for his/her own progress through the program, the advisory committee (which meets, at least, once every semester since its formation) is responsible for ensuring that the student’s curriculum is of high academic quality and appropriate to allow the student to pursue his/her research and career goals. The committee provides feedback and recommendation during the annual evaluation, and also advises the Graduate Advisor and Division Chair on matters concerning the student.