Direct Admit Ph.D.

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 Depth Requirement
  • 9 hours (3 courses) in the Breadth Requirement
  • 12 free hours (4 courses)
  • 20 hours Dissertation Research (CSE 9000)

Any required courses in the Core classes 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.

Depth Requirement

The depth requirement allow students to chose where to focus their studies; depth courses (listed below) delve deeper into research areas of the department. All courses in the depth requirement (15 hours for Direct admit students) must be from the same area.

Breadth Requirement

The breadth requirement allows students to gain a broader understanding of the computing discipline. These are additional courses (9 credit hours for Direct admit students) outside of their depth area; no two courses can be in the same area.

Research Areas

The department has pre-identified courses and their research areas for choosing depth and breadth courses. If a course is listed in multiple areas, it can count only once on a program of study. The student’s Graduate Committee has final approval of all applicable courses. Currently approved research area courses are listed below; others may be used given a committee's approval including some non-CSE courses.

Artificial Intelligence Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6633: Artificial Intelligence, CSE 6643: AI Robotics
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8613: Cognitive Skill Models, CSE 8673: Machine Learning
Computational Science Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6163: Design of Parallel Algorithms, CSE 6623: Computational Biology
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8163: Parallel and Distributed Scientific Computing, CSE 8843: Sequential & Parallel Algorithms
Graphics Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6413: Principles of Computer Graphics, CSE 6453: Game Design
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8413: Visualization, CSE 8433: Advanced Computer Graphics
Human-Centered Computing Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6663: Human Computer Interaction
  • Graduate Level: CSE 8283: Empirical Software Engineering, CSE 8613: Cognitive Skill Models
Software Engineering Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6214: Introduction to Software Engineering, 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 & Security Area
  • Split Level: CSE 6153: Data Communication & Computer Networks, 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

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 8000 Master's Research and CSE 8080 Directed Project courses cannot be applied.

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.


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: