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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  1. Admission into the Ph.D. program in Computer Science is normally restricted to candidates holding a Master's Degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or a closely related area. Others may be considered for admission. See Qualifications for Admission of the General Regulations. International applicants are strongly encouraged to submit results of the (general) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Test.
  2. Each candidate for the Ph.D. shall complete a program of graduate courses prescribed by the supervisory committee. The normal minimum will be 9 credit hours.
  3. Full-time students are expected to complete their course work by the end of the third semester. Part-time students are expected to complete their course work by the end of the sixth semester.
  4. The candidate shall take the Comprehensive Examination within the time limits specified in Comprehensive Examinations of the General Regulations.
    • In Computer Science, the comprehensive examination consists of two parts: written and oral. Candidates must pass the written part before taking the oral component of the examination.
    • Written Part
      • PhD candidates must demonstrate a mastery of Computer Science sub-disciplines appropriate to their research area.
      • The written part of the exam consists of two tests as set by the examination committee in accordance with the general and departmental regulations.
      • Each two and a half hour test is graded independently. To pass a test, candidates are required to obtain a minimum grade of 75%.
      • A candidate who does not pass a written test is allowed to re-write a test in the relevant subject matter. Only one such re-write is possible, which must be conducted not less than one month and not more than six months after the first examination. Candidates who fail two tests will be required to withdraw from the program.
      • Full-time students must take the written tests by the end of the third semester. Part-time students must write the tests by the end of the sixth semester.
      • Normally, written comprehensive exams will be offered in April, August and December of each year.
    • Oral Part
      • The exam involves a presentation of a thesis proposal at an open seminar, which is followed by an oral examination behind closed doors. The thesis proposal must be a written document approved by the supervisory committee and submitted at least one month before the oral examination to the Head of Department for circulation to the Examining Committee.
      • The thesis proposal typically includes an in-depth survey of the literature related to the thesis, and a brief outline of the research goals. The purpose of the oral comprehensive examination is to assess the candidates’ understanding of the literature pertaining to their research, as well as their preparedness to accomplish the goals outlined in the thesis proposal. The seminar presentation and the oral comprehensive examination may be scheduled at any time after the completion of written part, but not later than the end of the second semester (fourth semester for part-time students) following the written part.
      • Students who fail the oral part will be required to withdraw from the program.
  5. The Department of Computer Science Graduate Student Research Forum takes place in the Winter term of the academic year (usually in March). All Ph.D. students must present at the Research Forum at least twice during their program.
  6. The Ph.D. Degree program will conclude with an oral defense of the thesis as described in Theses and Reports of the General Regulations.
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