School of Computing

The Ph.D. Program in Computer Science

The objective of this program is to prepare exceptionally qualified individuals for research careers in academia and industry. The program is designed for students who offer evidence of exceptional scholastic ability, intellectual creativity, and research motivation.

The Ph.D. degree is viewed as a certification by the faculty that the student has a solid foundation in computer science and has performed original research in the area. The basis for gaining the degree will be the student's grasp of the subject matter of computer science, competency to plan and conduct research, and ability to express ideas adequately and professionally in oral and written language. Although only four courses are required, the doctoral program usually requires two to four years beyond the M.S. degree.

The doctoral program emphasizes research, and the School encourages prospective candidates to involve themselves in research under the supervision of a faculty member at the earliest possible opportunity. In addition to research activities in various areas of computer science, there are many opportunities for interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research. 

The Research Advisor and Advisory Committee

Selection of the research advisor is by mutual consent of the Ph.D. student and the advisor. The advisor, who must be a full-time tenure track member of the School of Computing faculty, should be selected before the portfolio, which is required for the comprehensive examination, is presented to the faculty. The Ph.D. student should carefully select the research advisor on the basis of technical and personal compatibility. Either the student or the advisor may terminate the advisee/advisor relationship in the event that research interests change or the advisor and student later find themselves incompatible.

The Ph.D. advisory committee will assist the student in formulating an appropriate program of study, must approve this program of study, must approve the dissertation proposal, and conducts the dissertation defense. The research advisor serves as chair of the student's advisory committee, and the student, in consultation with the research advisor and in accordance with Graduate School requirements, must select at least two additional faculty members to serve on the advisory committee. One of these members may be selected from outside the School of Computing. One additional member of the committee will be appointed jointly by the School Director and the Director of Graduate Affairs. The complete advisory committee must be approved by the School Director and the Director of Graduate Affairs when the students submits the GS-2 form containing the full program of study.

Ph.D. Requirements

Ph.D. students must satisfy requirements in three areas: