Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Ph.D. degree requirements include 90 semester hours of graduate-level credit, typically distributed as 30 hours of Master’s work, 24-30  hours of Ph.D. level coursework, and 30-36 hours for research culminating in a Ph.D. dissertation.  At least 15 credit hours of  Ph.D. work must be at the 800 or 900 level. Students must complete all work within seven years. International students may have attendance requirements to maintain their immigration status.
Program of Study (POS)

The Graduate School requires all Graduate Students to file a Program of Study. This a formal list of courses the student intends to take to fulfill the degree requirements.

The Program of Study consists of the following information:

  • Name of the Major Professor
  • Names of all members of the Supervisory Committee
  • Proposed title of dissertation
  • List of graduate credits taken and to be taken (totaling 90 credit hours)
Students who bypass the Master's degree must take one course from each of the following five areas:
  • Implementation- CIS 690, 706, 736, or 722
  • Languages- CIS 705, 706, or 771
  • Systems- CIS 720, 721, or 725
  • Structures- CIS 730, 740, or 761
  • Theory- CIS 770 or 775
At least 15 credit hours must be at 800 level or higher. For more details on the Program of Study please refer to the PhD Guidelines.
Breadth Requirement

The Breadth requirement requires demonstrating proficiency in six areas listed below by either passing an exam or taking a course. The following courses can take the place of an exam:

Operating Systems: CIS 520 or CIS 722
Database Systems: CIS 560 or CIS 761
Alogrithm Analysis: CIS 575 or CIS 775
Formal Language Theory: CIS 570 or CIS 770
Progamming Lanuages: CIS 505 or CIS 705
Software Engineering: CIS 540 or CIS 740

If using a course to satisfy the breadth requirement the student must receive an A in each 500-level course and a B+ or better in each 700-level course used to satisfy the Breadth requirement (B+/B/B grading will be done for the graduate courses listed above for the purposes of the Breadth exams)

Students must complete the breadth requirement by the end of his/her 3rd semester. At the beginning of each semester students wanting to take a breadth exam must submit the PhD Breadth Exam Request Form. Exams will be scheduled each November and April.


PhD Guidelines (slightly outdated)
Graduate School Handbook
CS Forms
Additional forms from the Graduate School

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