Ph.D. in Computer Science Requirements

Undergraduate Prerequisite Courses

The prerequisite courses required of all doctoral students are the following and their prerequisites:

  • MA 2733 Calculus III
  • CSE 2383 Data Structures and Analysis of Algorithms
  • ECE 3724 Microprocessors
  • CSE 3813 Introduction to Formal Languages
  • CSE 4833/6833 Introduction to Algorithms
  • CSE 4713/6713 Programming Languages
  • CSE 4733/6733 Operating Systems I

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must have completed all prerequisite courses or their equivalent. These courses may be completed after enrolling in the graduate program. A Ph.D. student's program of study may include 6000-level prerequisite courses [effective Spring 2008].

Graduate Coursework Restrictions

All CSE graduate students must complete the seven required prerequisite courses prior to receiving a graduate degree from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Students who enter the graduate program in computer science with a deficiency of one or more of these courses should schedule at least one per semester until they are completed (unless otherwise authorized by their advisors). If not fulfilled prior to admission, graduate students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering must take the split-level prerequisite courses (CSE 6713, CSE 6733, and CSE 6833) at the graduate level.

Graduate students must take at least nine hours of graduate-level hours each semester in order to maintain their status as full-time graduate students. Students who are required to take undergraduate courses as part of the prerequisites for the graduate program may substitute up to three credit hours of undergraduate prerequisite courses each semester in place of three hours of graduate coursework. The three split-level prerequisite courses (CSE 6713, CSE 6733, and CSE 6833) will count as graduate courses for the purpose of maintaining full-time student status.

Students who are serving as Teaching Assistants for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering must enroll in at least 12 hours of graduate coursework or research. Students who are serving as Research Assistants should check with their advisors regarding course requirements.

Major Professor and the Graduate Committee

By the end of the second semester of study, the student must have selected a major professor (advisor) from his/her area of interest. The major professor will serve as the student's advisor and must be a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Prior to developing a program of study, the student's major professor will form a Graduate Committee consisting of a major professor (advisor) as chair, an optional minor professor (advisor), and at least three other members, two of whom are to be from the student's research area. The committee must include the minor professor only if a minor is included in the program of study. The majority of the committee (including the major professor) must be non-adjunct graduate faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; adjunct faculty in Computer Science and Engineering may serve as the dissertation director. The committee will have responsibility for approving the student's program of study and for examining the student regarding the completion of the dissertation.

The membership of a student's Graduate Committee shall not include (1) a member of that student's immediate family, (2) anyone who is a former, current, or expected future supervisor of that student in a permanent job position, or (3) anyone who is funded on a grant or contract for which that student has supervisory responsibility or helps determine the award of the contract or grant. The restrictions regarding job supervisors do not include individuals who supervise that student as a graduate assistant, research assistant, or work/study employee.

Individual Studies Courses

A graduate student may take a directed individual studies course (CSE 7000) only if a written contract describing the course has been agreed upon by the instructor, the student, and the student's major professor. Once the student's committee has been formed, the contract must be submitted to the entire committee for approval. The contract must clearly state whether the course will count for 8000-level credit. Ph.D. students may count no more than 6 hours of CSE 7000 courses on their formal program of study. The form to be used for CSE 7000 contracts is available from the Department's Web site.