Direct Admit Ph.D. (Fall 2019)

The program of study should be designed to provide appropriate depth and support for the student's area of interest (specialization) and to prepare the student for research in his/her chosen area. The program of study is proposed by the student after consultation with his/her major and minor professors and must be approved by his/her Graduate Committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

Program of Study

For the Ph.D. Direct Admit option, the program of study requires 63 graduate credit hours:

  • 7 hours (2 course + seminar) in the CS Core (Seminar & Theory)
  • 15 hours (5 courses) in the Primary Specialization
  • 9 hours (3 courses) in the Secondary Specialization
  • 12 free hours (4 courses)
  • 20 hours Dissertation Research (CSE 9000)

Any required courses in the Core or a Specialization previously completed by a student may be applied for completion and replaced with another free course of the student’s and committee’s choosing; some courses may be transferred in or shared in accordance to University guidelines. Students cannot have more 6xxx level credits then 8xxx credits on their final program of study and majority of credits must have course code CSE. See the Graduate Handbook for additional course policies.


The CS Core ensures students are prepared for graduate study and have a background in computer theory suitable for a graduate in computer science.

  • One Seminar Course: CSE 8011: Seminar
  • Two Theory Courses: CSE 8833: Algorithms, CSE 8813: Theory of Computation, or CSE 8843: Complexity of Sequential and Parallel Algorithms.

Classes designated as theory by the faculty can in advance can be used to substitute for the theory requirement on a case-by-case basis.


Specializations allow students to chose where to focus their studies; these specializations delve deeper into research areas of the department. Students choose two specializations to complete: A primary specialization where they take five courses, and a secondary one where they take three courses. Other courses required to fulfill the credit requirements of the degree are left up to the student and their Graduate Committee.

For each Specialization, there is a required introductory course and list of split-level (6xxx) and full graduate (8xxx) affiliated courses. Which courses must be completed depends on whether the Specialization is Primary or Secondary:

  • The Required course must always be completed. If the student completed an equivalent course in previous study, another course of the committee's choice may be substituted.
  • For the Primary Specialization, two full graduate course and two other course at either level in the specialization must be completed.
  • For the Secondary Specialization, one full graduate course and one course at either level in the specialization must be completed.

The student’s Graduate Committee has final approval of all applicable courses. Currently approved Specialization courses are listed below; others may be used given a committee's approval.

Artificial Intelligence Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6633: Artificial Intelligence
  • Split Level: CSE 6643: AI Robotics
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8613: Cognitive Skill Models, CSE 8673: Machine Learning
Computational Science Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6163: Design of Parallel Algorithms
  • Split Level: CSE 6623: Computational Biology
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8163: Parallel and Distributed Scientific Computing, CSE 8843: Sequential & Parallel Algorithms
Graphics Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6413: Principles of Computer Graphics
  • Split Level: CSE 6453: Game Design
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8413: Visualization, CSE 8433: Advanced Computer Graphics
Human-Centered Computing Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6663: Human Computer Interaction
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8283: Empirical Software Engineering, CSE 8613: Cognitive Skill Models
Software Engineering Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6214: Introduction to Software Engineering
  • Split Level: CSE 6223: Management of Software Projects, CSE 6233: SW Architecture & Design, CSE 6253: Secure Software Engineering, CSE 6283: Software Testing & QA
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8233: Software Engineering Project Management, CSE 8253: Software Design, CSE 8275: Software Requirements Engineering, CSE 8283: Empirical Software Engineering
Systems Specialization
  • Required: CSE 6153: Data Communication & Computer Networks
  • Split Level: CSE 6173: Cryptography, CSE 6243: Information & Computer Security, CSE 6273: Introduction to Computer Forensics, CSE 6363: Software Reverse Engineering, CSE 6383: Network Security
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8713: Advanced Cyber Operations, CSE 8743: Advanced Network Security, CSE 8753: Wireless Networks

Dissertation Hours

Graduate students must complete at minimum 20 credit hours of dissertation research, indicated by CSE 9000 sections under the direction the major professor or dissertation director. CSE 8000 Thesis Research hours cannot count towards this total. Dissertation hours are generally taken after the Preliminary exam has been passed.

Other Graduate Hours

Thesis students have 12 additional credit hours of graduate coursework of their choosing that are not tied to Core or Specializations. The only restrictions is that CSE 8080 Directed Project courses cannot be applied.

Previous Catalogs

For students that were admitted before the current Graduate Catalog, please refer to the Catalog archives for relevant information on your program of study: