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 if their results show they are outstading candidates (above 75% of the rest).
  2. Each candidate for the Ph.D. shall complete a program of graduate courses prescribed by the supervisory committee. The program of each student must consist of a minimum of 12 credit hours in graduate courses which will include 9 credit hours from Computer Science, and the other 3 credits will be one of:
    • A course in Computer Science, or a related area, as established in the list of graduate CS-approved electives.
    • A course related to the student’s area of research, as establishe by the supervisory committee.

In addition to the 12 credits mentioned above, a student is strongly recommended to take Comp 690A/B, if the student has not previously taken this course (or an equivalent).
The supervisory committee may add more courses to the student’s program of studies, if it deems this appropriate.

Students must obtain a mark of 65% or higher in each course to remain in the program. In addition, a mark of 75% or higher must be obtained in each course to maintain baseline funding from the School of Graduate Studies.
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.

  1. The candidate shall take the Comprehensive Examination within the time limits specified in the Comprehensive Examinations of the General Regulations.
    • In this examination, the student must demonstrate a mastery of those subjects appropriate to the student's area(s) of research, as defined by the supervisory committee. Therefore, in order to be eligible to sit the examination, all course requirements must normally be completed.
    • 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
      • The written part consists of the written submission of a thesis proposal, which shall satisfy all the requirements established by the School of Graduate Studies' General Regulations for the Comprehensive Examinations.
      • The thesis proposal typically includes an in-depth survey of the literature related to the students area(s) of research, and a brief outline of the research goals.
      • In their proposal, candidates must demonstrate a mastery of the areas established by the comprehensive examination committee. Thus, the area(s) upon which the student will be examined should be made known to the student no later than three months prior to the examination. The student must further be able to relate the specialization of their research to the larger context of these areas.
      • The thesis proposal must be approved (passed) 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.
    • Oral Part
      • The oral exam involves a presentation of a thesis proposal at an open seminar, which is followed by an oral examination behind closed doors. 
      • 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 fourth semester (sixth semester for part-time students) following the written part.
      • Students who fail the oral or the written part will be required to withdraw from the program.
  2. 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.
  3. The Ph.D. Degree program will conclude with an oral defense of the thesis as described in Theses and Reports of the General Regulations.