The aim of the program is for students to acquire the skills to produce successful research in Computer Science. A central component of the program is the interaction of the student with their research advisor, and with the research community. We expect that throughout the program advisors and students will determine the best course of action within the program, within the general rules below.
The PhD program proceeds in three phases:
- Qualifying Phase: acquire a basis of knowledge, techniques and skills in Computer Science
- Candidacy Phase: gain admission to candidacy
- Dissertation Phase: write and defend a dissertation
During the first phase, the Qualifying Phase, the students demonstrate knowledge in several fundamental subareas of Computer Science, start doing research, and refine their research interests, including identifying a research advisor. They will also show competence in writing, producing a technical document (a research or survey paper) that indicates that the student is qualified to pursue their studies eventually leading to a doctorate. The Qualifying Phase ends with a public exam, in which the student presents their paper, and answers questions. Success in this Qualifying Exam leads to the next phase where the student is expected to identify a research topic, and start doing research. This phase concludes with a Candidacy Exam, where the student demonstrates to their committee that they have a viable plan for their PhD. After successful completion of the Candidacy Exam the student will continue to do research, obtaining results that constitutes their PhD dissertation. The last phase concludes with a successful thesis defense. Throughout the process, students document successful research in appropriate publications.
Exceptions to the PhD program requirements will be made only in very extenuating circumstances. Students planning to petition for an exception should first consult their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Minor exceptions require approval of the Graduate Committee. Major exceptions require approval of the entire faculty. No exceptions can be made to University requirements.