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Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science PhD Exams

Comprehensive Examination

The student must pass the Ph.D. comprehensive examination that covers the student's major and minor areas of study. The examination consists of two parts: a written part and an oral part. Students have at most two attempts to pass the written part. The oral part may not be attempted unless the written part has been passed. The exams are administered by the student's advisory committee. Before these exams can begin, the following forms must have been approved by the graduate school. The student is required to register for minimum 3 graduate credit hours in the semester of the comprehensive exam. 

  1. Advisory Committee for Doctoral Candidates
  2. Final Doctoral Program of Study

Written Comprehensive Examination

Typically, each member of the advisory committee will prepare a multi-part question relevant to the students area of advanced study. These questions will be given to the student in the form of a take-home examination.

Oral Comprehensive Examination

Typically, this exam consists of follow-up questions to the Written Comprehensive Examination. The Oral Comprehensive Exam should be provided to Graduate Coordinator's office by the student at least two weeks in advance of the exam.  Contact the Graduate Coordinator at to make the announcement to the Graduate School. The Graduate Coordinator completes the Comprehensive Exam Announcement Form (G118) in Gradstatus at  least 2 weeks in advance. The Written and Oral Comprehensive Exam Form (G168) is initiated by the student in Gradstatus, and sent to the committee to enter results of the examination.   This exam requires that all members of the advisory committee be present and is open to all members of the faculty. After the exam, the committee will cast votes of pass or fail on both the oral and written exams. Passage of each exam requires all but at most one of the committee members to vote for approval. These results are recorded on the Written and Oral Comprehensive Examination form. The report with results will need to be finally submitted and approved by Graduate Coordinators, and finally approved by the Graduate School.

Administered by: Advisory Committee (all must be present)

Admission to Candidacy

The student is responsible for initiating an Application for Admission to Candidacy (G162) in Grad status once all requirements, except the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation, have been completed. The Application for Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degrees must be filed with the graduate school at least two semesters before graduation.

Dissertation Prospectus

Dissertation planning will involve exploratory research leading to the preparation of a dissertation prospectus. CSCI 9000 Doctoral Research may be taken at this time. The prospectus must be presented to the advisory committee. This presentation should be open to both faculty and graduate students within the school. The prospectus must be approved by all but at most one of the members of the advisory committee and so indicated by a letter from the major professor to the graduate coordinator. This letter must contain signatures from the entire committee. An email from the major professor in consultation with the committee, sent to the graduate coordinator confirming results of the prospectus is acceptable.  Students must be enrolled for at least one semester after passing the prospectus.

Administered by: Advisory Committee (all must be present)

Dissertation Defense 

The student's dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The dissertation must also demonstrate competent style and organization (see Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations). While working on his/her dissertation, the student must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours of CSCI 9300 Doctoral Dissertation spread over at least two semesters. Students may not register for this course until they have been admitted to candidacy. Once the student's major professor has approved the final version of the dissertation, it will be distributed to the other members of the advisory committee, and a dissertation defense scheduled no sooner than three weeks after the distribution. The graduate school must be notified of the time and place of the defense at least 2 weeks in advance of the disseration defense. This exam requires that all members of the advisory committee be present and is open to faculty members and graduate students. All but at most on of the members of the advisory committee must approve the student's dissertation and defense. These results are recorded on the Approval Form for Doctoral Dissertation and Final Oral Examination in 

Administered by: Advisory Committee (all must be present)

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