An Executive Summary of the PhD Program

The PhD program builds on the flexible program designed for the Masters Degree: Students pursuing a PhD follow a course similar to MS candidates in their first years. The PhD qualifier process encourages students to become involved in research projects early (as GRAs, through independent study courses, or on their own time).

The program is intended to be completed in 4-5 years from entering the graduate program with a BS degree in Computer Science or a related field, or 3-4 years if you already have an MS degree in Computer Science or a related field. The PhD degree requires 90 credit hours, of which at least 33 credit hours are coursework and the remainder are research hours. Beyond the required coursework, there are several other steps in obtaining the PhD:

1) Candidates must pass the PhD qualifier process, which counts research achievement, classwork achievement, and the results of a qualifying exam, normally taken during the first year of study.

2) A PhD committee must be formed, and a preliminary dissertation proposal written and defended in an oral exam before the committee.

3) After writing the dissertation, it must be defended before the committee in another oral exam.

4) Students who begin the PhD program already in possession of a Masters may be able to count most of their prior coursework both toward the 90 hours credit requirement and the 11 course requirement (for more information, see the policy on transfer credits).

For more detailed information, see the departmental PhD Degree Requirements.