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PhD Course Requirements (updated 11/27/2017)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science is, above all else, a degree of quality. Simply completing a number of graduate courses or years of study is not sufficient to receive the degree. The successful candidate must demonstrate a breadth of understanding in computer science and a depth of understanding in their chosen area(s) of emphasis.

Students must also show an ability to do creative research. Thus, each successful PhD candidate will produce a significant piece of original research presented in a written dissertation and defended in an oral examination. This work should be of such quality that one or more journal or conference articles can be derived from it.

  • All PHD students must turn in a Program of Study by the end of their third semester. If you are on an assistantship, you must turn in your Program of Study by the end of your second semester.
  • Completion of at least 70 credits of graduate course work beyond a BS-CS or at least 40 credits beyond a MS-CS with a minimum class grade of B.
  • Students must maintain a 3.50 GPA on all courses shown on his or her Program of Study Form
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 on all courses taken as a matriculated graduate student and all CS courses numbered 5000 or above.
  • Must complete nine credits of CS 7000 level courses. CS 7900 and 7970 is not included in the nine required of 7000-level CS courses.
  • Must take three additional course credits or 21 without a MS.
  • A student cannot take more than 9 credits outside of the Department. Any outside credits must be an ECE, Math, Statistics, or approved Finance course. Approved Finance courses are FIN 6320, Computational Methods in Finance, and FIN 5350, Financial Modeling. (new 11/2017)
  • Independent Studies courses taken outside the Computer Science Department will not be approved.
  • CS 5950 or CS 6950 or CS7950 can be taken only with advisor's prior permission and only for three credits at a time. The maximum total number of credits allowed for CS 5950 plus CS 6950 plus CS7950 is three (with previous MS) or six (without previous MS).
  • CS 6990, CS 7990 and CS 5060 CANNOT be counted on the Program of Study for PHD students.
  • CS 6250 can be taken only with advisor's prior permission, and can only be counted once on the program of study for three credits
  • CS5200 is the same as the sequence of courses ECE6600 and ECE 7610. Students can include CS 5200 on their Program of Studies, or they can include ECE6600 and ECE 7610, but not both CS 5200 and one or both of those ECE courses. Students can use ECE7610 as a prerequisite to CS6200.
  • No more then 15 credits of 5000 level can be included (with a Previous MS) or 21 credits (with out a previous MS)
  • Pass a set of written examinations and an oral examination showing depth and breadth of knowledge in computer science and their area(s) of emphasis. While there is some flexibility in the scheduling of the qualifier, it is important that it be completed early in one’s program. For that reason, the following timelines are given:
  • Those without an MS must have completed 18 credits, six of those being 7000 level and have a 3.5 GPA, in order to take the qualifier.
  • Those with an MS must have completed 12 credits, six of those being 7000 level and have a 3.5 GPA, in order to take the qualifier.
  • Students may complete (register for) a maximum of six credits of CS7970 (dissertation credits) before successfully completing the qualifier.
  • IELI 7920 cannot be included on the POS

Click here for more information PhD Exams Policy

  • Successfully complete a research proposal.
  • Successfully complete and defend a dissertation.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (USU 6900) training is required of all doctoral students who started Fall 2013 or later.

The research proposal and dissertation must be at least 18 semester credits.

Table 7: Course and Credit Requirements for PhD degree. "Without MS" denotes students without a MS-CS degree, "with MS" denotes students already holding a MS-CS degree. Unless otherwise noted, a credit hour value denotes the number that must be included in the degree. No more and no less than this number may be included.

  PhD without MS PhD with MS
7000-level 9 9
Credits from MS 0 0 to 30
Seminar CS7900 2 2
Dissertation 18 18
Additional Courses 21 3
Remaining Courses / Dissertation 20 38(hours awarded from MS)
Minimum Total 70 70

Please Note: USU 6900 is a required course, even though it is 0 credits

Tuition Awards Limitations

DEGREE

RESIDENT

NONRESIDENT PORTION

PHD (POSTMASTER’S) INTERNATIONAL

70 Credits

70 Credits

PHD(POST BACCALAUREATE) INTERNATIONAL

70 Credits

70 Credits

PHD NONRESIDENT

70 Credits

70 Credits

PHD RESIDENT

70 Credits

70 Credits

*For any student that started spring 2015 or before with a MS degree 30 credits will be included in the Remaining/courses dissertation category. For any student who starts after spring 2015, a committee will review their Master’s degree to see how many credits will be allowed in their Remaining Courses/dissertation category. The most a student can include is 30, so a student must take at least eight more credits of courses or Dissertation.