The purpose of the Comprehensive Examination is to ensure that the student candidate has the background to carry out successful research in the chosen area and that the student's research problem is properly formulated and has sufficient scholarly merit. The student (in concert with the student's research advisor) must develop and orally present a written research proposal containing a literature review, a proposed research topic, and a program of research that addresses this topic.
The student must request appointment of an examination committee. The examination committee may consist of from four to seven members. It must include at least three full-time faculty members from the Computer Science Department and one full-time faculty member from another department in the University. Other committee members from inside or outside the University may be chosen. The student should consult with the student's research advisor concerning the makeup of the committee
Each student must present an oral defense of the student's PhD Thesis. The Thesis Review Committee is appointed in much the same way as the PhD Comprehensive Examination committee. The committee will examine the written thesis and examine the student during a public oral defense.
University regulations require that each PhD student spend a minimum of two regular semesters in full-time study on campus. In special cases, two summers of research or other daytime graduate activity may be substituted for one of the two semesters. A full-time student is one who is registered for at least 9 credit hours in a regular semester or 6 credit hours in the summer.
A student who expects to receive a graduate degree at the end of a given semester must file an application for graduation with the Graduate College within 2 weeks of the start of the intended semester of graduation. No application will be accepted after that date and no changes in a Program of Study are allowed after that date. An application for graduation is good for only one semester. If the student fails to graduate in the intended semester, a new application must be filled for a later semester (No additional fees will be charged for filling a second application.)
A student has six calendar years to complete the PhD Program, starting from when the PhD Program of Study (Form #401) is filed. Should this time limit expire, the student will be required to petition the Dean of the Graduate School to have the time limit extended. Such an extension will ordinarily entail additional examinations and fees.
Students wishing to leave the Direct PhD program early with the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science must satisfy all the requirements of the Master's degree and either write a Master's Thesis or pass the PhD qualifying exam.