The PhD Program
The doctoral program is designed for those students who have an interest in pursuing an academic or industrial research career. To be awarded a PhD in Computer Science, a student must demonstrate mastery in several areas of Computer Science and must make a significant original contribution to research in the field of Computer Science.
On entry into the program, a student is required to take coursework in a number of areas and pass written and oral qualifying exams. Next, the student must formulate a thesis research problem and present it and the proposed research to a committee of faculty at a comprehensive exam. Upon passing this examination, the student must carry out the research and write and defend a thesis, among other requirements.
Admission to the PhD program is competitive and applicants must have high grade point averages, GRE scores, and (if required) TOEFL scores. Students who enter the program after completing a Master's degree (not necessarily in Computer Science) normally require three to four years of full-time work to complete the PhD. Part-time students take longer.
Students may also enter the program "directly," after completing only a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. The Direct program enables bright, highly-motivated students to participate in departmental research programs immediately after their Bachelor's degree. Students in the Direct program take extra coursework and normally require an additional year to complete the PhD compared to students in the Post-Master's program.