Computer Science and Statistics

College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D. in Computer Science

The Ph.D. in Computer Science is a research degree where the student completes a major research project that enhances the field of Computer Science.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program requires a Bachelors degree in computer science or a closely related field. Applicants with a bachelors degree in an unrelated field will be considered provided they have completed course work covering the material in CSC 211, 212, 301, 305, 340 and MTH 141, 142, plus one MTH or STA course for which calculus is a prerequisite. Students may be admitted who have completed only a part of the above course work but they will be required to complete the deficiencies before taking more advanced classes.

The GRE general test is required. A subject test in computer science or a related field is not required, but may be considered by the admission committee.

Qualifying Examination

  • The qualifying examination will consist of written exams, with the purpose of testing the student’s knowledge of core areas of Computer Science (Currently the qualifying examination requirements cover the material of CSC 301. 411, 412, 440, and 445. These requirements are checked at the time of admission.);
  • a waiver could be granted to a student from taking an exam in one of the areas where the student can demonstrate competence in that area;
  • waivers could be granted at the time of admission.

Ph.D. Program Requirements

The student must complete 54 credits of course work beyond the bachelors degree in addition to 18 credits for the doctoral dissertation. A student entering the program with an M.S. degree in computer science or a related area may be granted up to 30 credits toward the Ph.D. in computer science.

A program of study can include at most three courses at the 400-level. Students who have undergraduate credits for a particular 400-level course (or equivalent) cannot repeat the course for graduate credit.

Students must complete:

  • two (2) courses from Mathematical Foundations,
  • one (1) course from Programming Languages,
  • two (2) courses from Architecture and Systems and,
  • three (3) more approved CSC courses or equivalents.

Other courses must be selected in order to meet the 54-credit minimum and will be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor or major professor.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must take a comprehensive examination, which is composed of a written examination and an oral examination. Typically, a student would be expected to take the comprehensive examination within two years after joining the program. A candidate whose comprehensive exam performance is deemed as failing by the Computer Science Graduate Committee may, with the recommendation of the committee and the approval of the Graduate School, be permitted one re-examination, to be taken no sooner than four months and no later than one year after the initial examination.

  • The written part of the comps will consist of the writing of a Research Proposal;
  • the research proposal will include a detailed literature survey of a potential area of research; it could include initial results; it could provide the basis for initial chapter(s) of the dissertation;
  • the research proposal should provide a convincing evidence that the student is ready and capable to succeed in the proposed area of research.
  • The oral part of the comps will consist of a presentation to the student’s doctoral committee;
  • the dissertation proposal, required by the Graduate School, could be extracted from the research proposal to fit the form acceptable by the Graduate School.

Course Groups

For the purpose of describing degree requirements, Computer Science courses are organized into the following groups:

Mathematical Foundations

  • CSC 541 – Advanced Topics in Algorithms (4cr)
  • CSC 542 – Mathematical Analysis of Algorithms (4cr)
  • CSC 544 – Theory of Computation (4cr)
  • CSC 550 – Computer Algebra (4cr)

Programming Languages

  • CSC 402 – Compiler Design (4cr)
  • CSC 501 – Programming Language Semantics (4cr)
  • CSC 502 – Theory of Compilers (4cr)

Architecture and Systems

  • CSC 511 – Advanced Computer Organization (4cr)
  • CSC 512 – Topics in Distributed Systems (4cr)
  • CSC 519 – Computer Networks (4cr)
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