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Frequently Asked Questions for Ph.D. Students

Can you tell me if I will get into your program?

We cannot tell you if you will get into the program or not. It depends on if a faculty member wants to support you or not, and if you meet the minimum requirements

How to apply?

What GRE scores do you require?

We require you receive at least an 80% in the Quantitative and 40% in Verbal and Analytical. If you fall below this, you must make up for it in other areas. It will be up to the review committee to decide if you make up for it in another area. The review committee will only look at completed applications forwarded to them from graduate school.

What is the cost?

Tuition and fees may vary by course enrollment. Click here and scroll down to access the tuition and fee schedule for the current academic year.

Where do I send my application materials?

School of Graduate Studies
0900 Old Main Hill
Logan , UT 84322-0900

What kind of assistantship do you offer Ph.D.s?

Most Ph.D. students will receive $16,560 /academic year plus a non-resident and resident tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. This includes a waiver for out-of-state and in-state tuition for up to 70 credits. The amount of credits that will be waived each semester will depend on available funding. Summer semester may or may not be included, depending on the funding for the summer.

Please familiarize yourself with the rules regarding tuition waivers and assistantships. These can be found on graduate school's website.
( If you lack any of the criteria during any given semester you may lose your assistantship.

When is my deadline to apply?

Please see our application page for deadlines:

If I am transferring, how many credits can I transfer?

Your committee and the dean of graduate school will have to approve of any credits you transfer. If approved, you can transfer as many credits as you like. However, the credits cannot have been used for another degree. Credits with a P grade cannot be transferred. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credits. You must take at least 33 credits at USU. Transfer credits will be shown on official USU transcripts upon completion of the degree

Are jobs with the Department available?

Email Genie Hanson to find out.

What classes can I take outside the CS Department?

A Ph.D. student cannot take more than 9 credits outside of the CS Department. Any outside credits must be approved by your committee.

I have a MS in something other than Computer Science, and I am getting my Ph.D. in CS, do I only need 40 more credits?

The review committee will need to review your masters and see how many (up to 30) will count towards the 70 credits you need.

I just retook a class and the second time I received a C-. What can I do?

You are not allowed to take the course a third time. That course and grade will remain on your transcript and be computed in your matriculated graduate and CS 5000 level GPA.

I was in Ph.D. program but my GPA fell below the minimum and so I changed to the MS program. It is now 3.5; can I transfer back to the Ph.D. program?


When will my grades be posted?

All grades will be submitted within 96 hours after the final examination for the course.

Can I take classes not on my POS, and/or take more classes then on my POS?

Yes but graduate school will charge you for tuition even if you have the waiver.

I have already taken 13 5000-level credits. Can I take another 5000-level class that is 3 credits?

Yes, however, you can only count two credits on your POS. So you will be responsible for all tuition on the 1 credit you cannot include on the POS.

What happens if I quit my CS Department job during the middle of the semester?

Change in employment may cause you to lose your tuition waiver. When you accept the job, it is expected that you stick with it for the entire semester.

There are only 7 days before the end of the semester, and everyone on my committee has read my dissertation and they say it’s ready to defend. Graduate school says they will waive the 10-day requirement for the defense if the CS Department will. Will it?


How many credits am I required to take each semester?

If you are an international student you must always have at least 9 credits, otherwise you will need to fill out a reduced course load form with graduate school. You can take 6 if you are on an assistantship.

How many credits qualify me to be a full-time matriculated graduate student?

Register for 9 or more graduate credits
Register for 6 or more graduate credits if employed as a graduate assistant for 15 hours per week or more
Register for 3 graduate credits with all required coursework completed and only the research component of the degree remaining (the student’s POS must have been submitted to the School of Graduate Studies)
Register for at least 3 graduate credits during the semester of the final dissertation defense
Register for at least 9 graduate credits for each semester in which the doctoral resident tuition award is received

What is a reduced course load form and where do I get it?

As an international student, you must always take at least 9 credits per semester, or fill out a reduced course load form. There are only a few reasons why a student can fill out a reduced course load form.

They are:
They hold a graduate assistantship and are registered for 6 semester hours
Student is completing formal coursework and is working full time on dissertation
Student has completed formal coursework and is working full time on dissertation
Medical reasons

The Reduced Course Load form can be found here.

How do I take an independent study course (5950, 6950, 7950)?

This form is available online here. Please fill out the form and hit submit. Once approved Caitlin Thaxton will unlock the course for you so you can register.

How do I register for Dissertation Credits (6970 and 7970)?

Email Caitlin Thaxton. She will unlock the course for you.

If I drop classes after grades are posted will the grade count against me?

You cannot drop a class after grades are posted. However, you can remove it from your POS. The grade will be counted on your Matriculated Graduate GPA, CS 5000+GPA but not your POS GPA. Please remember, you must keep at least a 3.5 in your Ph.D. program.

When do I have to have my committee formed?

You must have formed your committee by the last day of classes in your second semester of your Ph.D. Program.

When do I need to turn in my Program of Study (POS)?

All on-campus students must turn in their POS by the end of their second semester in their Ph.D. program.

What will happen if I turn in my POS late?

Graduate school will do an audit the first two weeks of the semester, if you have not turned it in, you will receive an email saying you will need to repay any tuition you received if you do not turn it in.

What if I take a different class that is not listed on my POS?

You will need to turn in a change of program of study form to make the change. Everyone on your Committee must approve of it. Graduate school will accept just a letter from your major professor; however CS Department rules require everyone on your committee to approve and not just your major professor. If you take a class and do not change it on your POS, you will have to repay the tuition if you received a waiver on it and you will not be able to graduate .

I am a Ph.D. student but I want to switch to MS. What do I need to do?

If you are admitted as a Ph.D. student and want to change to an MS, you can do so within three weeks of the start of your second semester. If you choose to make the change after that date, you must get permission from your Major Professor, the Department Head, and the Graduate Program Coordinator.

To change, you will need to get a Department Degree Change form from the Graduate School. Once it has been approved you will need to form a new committee and POS.

Are research assistantships available?

Generally, individual professors with research funds to pay research assistants' salaries hire their graduate research assistants. It is not a CS Department matter.

How do I write and/or format a dissertation?

First, make sure you are following the formatting requirements found in SGS's Publication Guide. You can use the Word template found on the SGS webpage or use a LaTeX template package from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.Get ECE's LaTeX example distribution here. While ECE will try to keep this LaTeX package current, it is the responsibility of each student to make sure you comply with the current SGS Publication Guide.
Second, you must use IEEE as the References format. Be sure to note this on your Format and Style form.

How long are my GRE Scores Valid?

5 years

As a Ph.D. student, how many credits of nonresident and resident tuition award am I eligible for?

You are eligible for up to 70. However, depending on what is required on your POS this may be limited to a smaller amount.

Will you do a conditional pass if my TOEFL score is not high enough?

No we can no longer offer conditional passes if you have not passed the TOEFL

How long are my TOEFL scores valid? And what do I do if they are not?

TOEFL scores are valid 2 years. You can retake the test or take the IELT classes if your score is not valid.

Is it possible to waive the requirement for GRE test?

No. The GRE is required to be admitted and so they cannot be waived.

How many credits can I register for as a non-matriculated graduate student?

No more than 12 credits taken at USU or another institution prior to matriculation at USU may be used in a program of study.

How long can I take to finish my degree?

Ph.D. students have 8 years to finish their degree.

What do I do after I defend?

Please see the graduation steps for more detailed information that Caitlin Thaxton will email to you in your final semester. This is just a summary:

You must make any corrections your committee members require. If your committee chooses, you will need the writing center to look it over. The CS Department's Reviewer will work with you about minor grammar changes and to get the formatting and style inline with the SGS requirements. When ready, the Department Reviewer will upload your dissertation to Box for the SGS to perform their review. All other forms have to be complete and in Box before SGS will start their review. After the SGS approves, the Dean of Graduate Studies will sign your Title Page. This part of the graduation process can take up to 6 weeks so please plan ahead.
After the Dean of Graduate Studies has approved it you will take your dissertation to the library. If you want a personal copy you will need to bring 3 copies with you to the library. If you do not need a personal copy then you can take two copies (1 for your major professor and 1 for the CS Department's collection).

If you don’t want to bind the Departmental copies at the library, you can get them online. In order to get 2 Department copies you must go to Click on Get started now, and upload your document and fill in the blanks. You will need to make sure You pay for 2 copies on this site (one for the major professor and one for our Library). You will need to send it to:

USU Computer Science Department
Attention Cora Price
4205 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-4205

You will need to bring or send a copy of the receipt to Caitlin Thaxton with the library binding receipt. And then take the library receipt with the graduation paperwork to graduate school.

What is USU 7777?

USU 7777 provides a grace semester course for International Students. A student must have defended already in order to take this course.
This course will allow international students to have a semester similar to the grace semester available to domestic students. There is no cost for the course. It is non-repeatable and non-graded and will not be calculated towards degree completion. These credits cannot be used towards a tuition award. The prerequisite for the course is a successful Record of Examination form. The purpose of USU 7777 is to maintain the "in-status" classification with ICE without paying tuition cost. Special approval is required for registration.

Updated 9/2/2021