Ph.D - Computer and Information Sciences

2017 - 2018

Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences


The Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences offers an opportunity for exceptional students to pursue substantial research in the computer sciences and related areas. To earn a Ph.D. degree, a student must demonstrate breadth of knowledge in at least two research areas and significant depth in a chosen dissertation area. In addition, the student must conceive, write and defend a Ph.D. dissertation representing a significant and original contribution to current academic research as demonstrated by a public dissertation defense and publication in established peer-reviewed academic conferences and/or journals.

The Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences has two tracks: the Computing Track and the Information Systems and HCI track. Students pursuing PhD topics in typical computer science areas such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, databases, data mining, programming languages, software engineering, etc. follow the Computing Track. The Information Systems and HCI Track is for students whose topics fall under the category of information systems or Human Computer Interaction. Students must choose whether to enter the Computing or Information Systems and HCI Track at admission.

Degree Requirements

  • Students entering with a relevant M.S. degree must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • Students entering without a relevant M.S. degree must complete a minimum of 112 credit hours.

Most of the courses that PhD students will take will be geared toward preparing the student for the Breadth exams and for whatever other preparation the advisor deems necessary. Specific requirements for courses follow.

Students must take at least 60 credits in the CDM 420 - CDM 699 range, including at least 12 credits of CSC 699 (or equivalent as approved by advisor). Non-CDM courses may be substituted with permission of the advisor.

Students must take CSC 426 in their first two years. Students must take at least two quarters (4 credits) of CSC 500 in their first two years.

Students who do not have a master’s degree are considered “conditionally admitted” students. These students must complete an additional 52 credits (typically 13 courses) of graduate coursework, including 36 credits (9 courses) of CDM courses in the range of 420 - 598. No courses under CSC 420 shall count for PhD degree. Non-CDM courses may be substituted with permission of the advisor.

Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or better to remain in good standing in the program. Any course grade below B- is unsatisfactory and will not be counted towards degree requirements.

Students must remain continuously enrolled in CSC 701 or CSC 702 (0 credits) if they are not taking any other courses.

Exams

Students must pass two Breadth Exams. If an exam is unsuccessful, the student is required to retake the Breadth Exam in that same area. Students may attempt a Breadth Exam twice. If a student fails a Breadth Exam twice, he or she will be dismissed from the program.

Students must complete a Depth examination in their chosen area of research. The Depth Exam must be completed before the Proposal Defense.

Time Limits

Full-time Students
  • Year 1 (a) Pass at least 1 breadth exam or (b) show concrete evidence of initial research, such as a literature review, technical report, poster presentation at a conference, etc.
  • Year 2 (a) Pass both breadth exams and (b) show evidence of continuing research, such as a publication or conference presentation.
  • Years 3 to 5 Continue to demonstrate progress in research; submit additional publication(s) to reputable journals or conferences; and pass Proposal Defense.
  • No less than six months and no more than three years between Proposal Defense and the Dissertation Defense.

Conditionally admitted students will have an extra year to achieve these milestones.

Part-time Students
  • No more than three years between enrollment in the doctoral program and completion of Breadth Examinations.
  • No more than five years between completion of Breadth Examinations and Proposal Defense.
  • No less than eight months and no more than five years between Proposal Defense and the Dissertation Defense.

Additional Information

Ph.D. Requirements

Ph.D. Resources

A limited number of PhD stipends are available and may be applied for during the application process. Please see the Assistantships and Stipends page for further information.