The course requirement for the degree is 72 credit hours. 

The 72 hours of required doctoral-level credits typically consist of 48 credits of regular coursework and 24 credits of dissertation research. 

Doctoral Coursework 

The 48 credits of regular coursework required for the degree consists of the following courses:

  • CS 600 Theoretical Computer Science (3 credit hours) -- must be completed with a B+ or better 
  • CS 700 Research Methodology in Computer Science (3 credit hours) - must be completed with a B or better 
  • CS 701 Research Experience in Computer Science (3 credit hours) - must be completed with a B or better 
  • CS 800 Computer Science Colloquium (0 credit hours) -- must enroll in course for two semesters
  • Three advanced graduate courses (9 credit hours) selected in consultation with the student's advisor from this list 
    • Please note that independent study courses cannot be used towards the 9 credit hours that must be obtained in advanced graduate courses. 
  • Additional graduate level courses (30 credits) in Computer Science or a field related to the student’s doctoral research area, and selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. Please note that CS 530 and CS 531 do not count towards the PhD CS degree.

With careful selection of courses, students may earn an MS degree as part of their PhD studiesCS 600CS 700 and 9 credits of advanced graduate courses taken as part of the coursework for the PhD degree can be applied towards a MS degree, if the selected courses also satisfy the requirements of the MS degree.

Reduction of Credit:
Students entering the PhD program with an approved MS degree can receive a waiver for up to 30 credits. In addition, the courses taken as part of the previous MS degree can be used to satisfy the other course requirements of the PhD degree.  Reduction of credit and waiver of course requirements requires the approval of the program director or designee and the dean or designee of the school.

Dissertation Research 

 A minimum of 24 credits of CS 998 (Doctoral Dissertation Proposal) and CS 999 (Doctoral Dissertation) must be completed, of which at least 12 must be in CS 999. Only 24 credits of CS 998 and CS 999 may be applied toward the degree. Students may enroll in CS 998 only after passing the qualifying exams, and they may enroll in CS 999 only after advancing to candidacy. 

Note: For students entering the PhD CS program prior to Fall 2019, CS 990 (Dissertation Topic Presentation) is a required course.  For students who started the program in or after Fall 2019, CS 990 is not a requirement. The students for whom CS 990 is required can either take it, or submit a course waiver request to the CS department after getting the approval of their academic advisor.