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Requirements for the

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

in Computer Science

Updated: 30 Aug 2005 by D. Leake
(Previous version: 5 April 2002.)

Contents
  • Admission
  • Advising
  • Requirements Summary:
  • Course Requirements
  • Minor Area Requirement
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Dissertation
  • Requirements Summary: students entering in 2001
  • Course Requirements - 2001
  • Minor Area Requirement
  • Qualifying Examination - 2001
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Dissertation
  • Qualifier Grading Process
  • Further Information
  • Qualifying Examination Implementation
  • Course Areas
  • Transferring Courses
  • Forms needed in the PhD process
  • Admission

    Requirements for admission: Baccalaureate degree and Graduate Record Examination (subject test highly desirable). Prerequisites common to all graduate requirements are coursework in

    • Computer structures and organization.
    • Discrete structures and computing theory.
    • Data structures.
    These prerequisites may be satisfied by undergraduate or more advanced courses, and in some cases by professional experience.

    Advising

    Students admitted to the PhD Program are assigned a counselor who may be consulted for advice. The Director of Graduate Studies is also available for general consultation.

    Upon successfully completing all parts of the written qualification exam (or earlier), each student will consult with appropriate faculty members and designate, with their consent, members of a suitable advisory committee to oversee and conduct the oral qualifying exam in the student's research area. The advisory committee must by University Graduate School rules include at least two members from the student's major area, and at least one from another area; at least two must be members of the graduate faculty. The names of the committee members presented by the student will be forwarded to the University Graduate School upon approval by the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

    The advisory committee oversees the student's progress until the passing of the oral qualifying examination, whereupon the student consults with the committee concerning a thesis supervisor. When the student has a thesis advisor, the student and advisor designate, with their consent, members of a suitable research committee. The members of the research committee must meet the requirements of the University Graduate School: the committee includes the director, normally the professor directing the dissertation, two or more additional faculty members from the same department, and a representative of each minor; with certain exceptions, the members must belong to the graduate faculty. This committee supervises the dissertation research, conducts the thesis proposal examination, and conducts the Ph.D. thesis defense final examination.

    The material between the next two horizontal bars is the text for the 2000-2002 edition of the Bulletin of the University Graduate School.

    Requirements (Entry prior to Fall 2001)

    • Course Requirements.
      • A total of 90 credit hours of graduate-level course work is required. These courses are defined as any course listed in the university's Graduate School Bulletin that carries graduate credit.
      • PhD candidates must take at least six regular courses in computer science at the 500 level or above, including at least one P course. (All A500-level courses are excluded.) Of these six, there must be at least one course each in four of the nine areas (indicated by the middle digit 0-8 in advanced Computer Science courses). B501, B503, P536, B543, and Y790 are excluded from these four area courses but may be counted towards the six regular courses.
      • A grade average of B (3.0) is required for computer science courses, in addition to the University Graduate School's requirement of a B (3.0) average for all courses taken.
    • Minor Area Requirement. Three options are available:
      • An external minor awarded by another Indiana University department or graduate program approved by the Computer Science Department.
      • An internal minor: 9 computer science credits, in courses other than reading and research, and in an area other than the student's specialization. The area and the courses must be approved by the student's advisory committee. These 9 credits cannot be counted towards the six course requirement.
      • An individualized interdisciplinary minor, as prescribed by the Graduate School Bulletin: at least 12 credits spanning at least two departments, to be recommended by the student's advisory committee and approved by the dean in advance of any course work.
    • Qualifying Examination. The qualifying examination consists of two written tests (qualifiers), and an oral area qualifier.
      • Written Qualifiers. The written qualifiers consist of two core qualifiers: Exam I covering Foundations and Algorithmics, and Exam II covering Systems and Architecture. The written qualifiers are offered once a year in August. A student entering the program in August (or, with department approval, January) of a specific calendar year may take both exams in August of that year, the entry year, without penalty for failure. Students without deficiencies are expected to take both qualifiers in August after the first full year of study. Each qualifier may be retaken once, up to one year later, if the first non-entry attempt was unsatisfactory. Students entering with deficiencies may elect a one year delay.
      • Oral Area Qualifier. The oral area qualifier is taken independently of the written qualifiers, normally no later than the first semester of the third year, even if that is the year of the second attempt at the written qualifiers. The oral area qualifier may be retaken once, normally no later than the beginning of the fourth year of study. This examination concentrates on covering in-depth knowledge of the student's intended research area; it is given by the advisory committee.
    • Thesis Proposal, given after completion of the qualifying examination (written and oral), consisting of an oral presentation of a written research plan for the dissertation. This examination is given by the research committee.

    • Dissertation. A written elaboration of significant original research, which must be successfully presented to the research committee in a defense of dissertation as described in the Graduate School Bulletin.


    End of material corresponding to the Bulletin of the University Graduate School.

    The following material applies to students enrolling for the first time in the PhD program on or after August 2001, and is intended to replace the section in the the Bulletin of the University Graduate School for those students.

    Requirements (Entry starting in Fall 2001)

    • Course Requirements.
      • A total of 90 credit hours of graduate-level course work is required. These courses are defined as any course listed in the university's Graduate School Bulletin that carries graduate credit. Note that no computer science courses in the A500-A999 range may be counted towards the 90 credit-hour requirement, nor towards the 24 credit-hour requirement specified below.
      • Computer Science Course Requirements: PhD candidates must take at least 24 credit hours, normally eight courses, in computer science at the 500 level or above, subject to the following conditions:
        • P Requirement: At least one must be a P course, with a substantial programming or software-development component.
        • Area Distribution Requirements: Of the eight courses, there must be at least one course each in six of the nine areas (indicated by the middle digit 0-8 in advanced Computer Science courses).
        • Research Course Conditions: The Y790 course is excluded from these six area courses, and cannot fulfill the P requirement, but up to 6 hours of Y790 may be counted towards the 24 credit-hour requirement. Y890 and G901 are excluded from the 24 credit hours in this requirement.
      • A grade average of B (3.0) is required for computer science courses, in addition to the University Graduate School's requirement of a B (3.0) average for all courses taken.
    • Minor Area Requirement. Three options are available:
      • An external minor awarded by another Indiana University department or graduate program approved by the Computer Science Department.
      • An internal minor: 9 computer science credits, in courses other than reading and research, and in an area other than the student's specialization. The area and the courses must be approved by the student's advisory committee. These 9 credits cannot be counted towards the six course requirement.
      • An individualized interdisciplinary minor, as prescribed by the Graduate School Bulletin: at least 12 credits spanning at least two departments, to be recommended by the student's advisory committee and approved by the dean in advance of any course work.
    • Qualifying Examination. The qualifying examination consists of two written tests (qualifiers), and an oral area qualifier.
      • Written Qualifiers. The written qualifiers consist of two examinations, each approximately 2 hours in duration: Exam I covering Foundations (with a syllabus corresponding in general coverage to a single course designated by the faculty, and named in each year's exam description), and Exam II covering Systems (with a syllabus corresponding in general coverage to a single course designated by the faculty, and named in each year's exam description). The department may provide students with a choice of exam syllabi, each requiring only a single course to prepare. The courses used as the bases for the Written Qualifier I and II syllabi will normally be given once each year. The written qualifiers are offered once a year at the end of August. A student entering the program in August (or, with department approval, January) of a specific calendar year may take both exams in August of that year, the entry year, without penalty for failure. Students without deficiencies are expected to take both qualifiers in August after the first full year of study. Each qualifier may be retaken once, one year later, if the first non-entry attempt was unsatisfactory. Students entering with deficiencies may elect a one year delay.
      • Oral Area Qualifier. The oral area qualifier is taken independently of the written qualifiers, normally no later than the first semester of the third year, even if that is the year of the second attempt at the written qualifiers. The oral area qualifier may be retaken once, normally no later than the beginning of the fourth year of study. This examination concentrates on covering in-depth knowledge of the student's intended research area; it is given by the advisory committee, which would typically work with the student to select a reading list covering the chosen specialty.
    • Thesis Proposal, given after completion of the qualifying examination (written and oral), consisting of an oral presentation of a written research plan for the dissertation. This examination is given by the research committee.

    • Dissertation. A written elaboration of significant original research, which must be successfully presented to the research committee in a defense of dissertation as described in the Graduate School Bulletin.

    End of revised procedures for students entering CS PhD program on or after August 2001.

    Qualifier Grading Process. The written qualification exams will be graded without prior knowledge of the student's identity, and written feedback on exam performance will be made available to each student. Insofar as is practical, the exams will be graded and the results made available to the students during the first week of classes.

    Both written exams and the oral exam must be passed. The possible outcomes are pass, conditional, and fail. Failed exams may be retaken once. The conditional outcome implies the assignment of an action that must be undertaken successfully to convert the conditional to a pass; such actions may include, but are not limited to: retake the exam at the next offering, take remedial coursework, complete a research or writing project, take a special oral, or defer the outcome of a written exam to the result of the oral area qualifier. A choice or combination of remedies may be presented if deemed appropriate.

    Further Information

    • Qualifying Examination Implementation. Details concerning the Qualifying Examination implementation, including schedules, syllabi, and sample examinations are available on the web.
    • Areas of Advanced Computer Science Courses. Most of the Computer Science Department's courses at the 500 level and above are classified into these areas:
      • Foundations (middle digit 0, e.g., B501, B502, B503);
      • Logic (middle digit 1, e.g., B510);
      • Programming Languages (middle digit 2, e.g., B521, B522, P523, B524 );
      • Software Systems (middle digit 3, e.g., P536, B538);
      • Hardware Systems (middle digit 4, e.g., B541, P542, B543);
      • Artificial Intelligence (middle digit 5, e.g., B551, B552, B553);
      • Databases (middle digit 6, e.g., B561, P565-P566);
      • Scientific Computation (middle digit 7, e.g., P571, B671);
      • Graphics and Human Interfaces (middle digit 8, e.g., B581, B582).
      General courses not associated with a specific area are numbered with a middle digit 9. Courses that involve a major programming project are designated as "Programming-in-the-large," and carry a course number with letter designation P.
    • Transferring Courses to Apply to your Computer Science Degree. According to the Bulletin of the University Graduate School, PhD candidates may transfer up to 30 hours of courses from another graduate institution, subject to various conditions (for example: you may not transfer any course already applied to another PhD degree, but courses applied only to a previous Master's degree may be transferred as long as they are not applied to a CS Master's degree at IU). Normally students wishing to transfer a course or courses should provide the graduate secretary with a legal transcript and detailed documentation of the course coverage. This is important because
      • If a transferred course is judged equivalent to a course at IU, you cannot take the corresponding IU course for credit.
      • Transferred courses that correspond to existing CS PhD course categories will be assigned a category. This assignment will determine whether a transferred course can be counted in the PhD course distribution requirements (see also post 2001 requirements).
    • Forms needed in the PhD process. You may use the web documents linked below, or you may obtain hardcopies of these forms from the Computer Science Department in LH215; official forms required by the Graduate School are also available in the Graduate School office in Kirkwood 111.
      • The Independent Research Permission Form must be signed by the research supervisor and turned in to the Graduate Secretary to obtain permission to register for any independent research course, including Y790 (Independent Study), Y890 (Thesis Research), and G901 (Advanced Research - after filling all other requirements).
      • The PhD work sheet (ps| pdf) is available online to help PhD students plan their course requirements. PhD students obtaining a Master's will find the Master's work sheet (ps|pdf) useful.
      • The Application for Advanced Degree form is required by the Graduate School to obtain the Master's Degree (doc of MS version) or the PhD Degree (doc of PhD version). PhD version only needs to be submitted if participating in graduation ceremony.
      • The Appointment of Advisory Committee form is required by the Graduate School to establish your advisory committee upon passing the PhD written qualifiers. Your advisory committee must consist only of IU faculty, two in your chosen oral qualifying exam area, and one outside it. The outside member should be from the area of your minor (for internal minors, from the CS subarea of your internal minor specialization).
      • The Oral Qualifying Exam form is required by the Computer Science Department; it must be signed by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the exam, and by the Advisory Committee upon successfully completing your oral qualifying examination.
      • The Nomination to Candidacy for the PhD Degree (doc) form is required by the Graduate School to officially enter PhD candidate status after completing the qualifying exam and fulfilling all major and minor requirements. The double-major version (doc) should be used by those pursuing a double major.
      • The Nomination of Research Committee for the PhD (doc) form is required by the Graduate School to establish your research committee; The double-major version (doc) should be used by those pursuing a double major. This committee If it becomes necessary to change the makeup of your research committee, you must submit the Change of Research Committee form (doc) and your thesis prospectus must be approved six months before the defense of the dissertation. Your research committee must consist of at least three CS department members and one representative of your minor area; any committee member not on the IU faculty must be approved in advance by the Dean of the Graduate School.
      • The Thesis Proposal Oral Examination form is required by the Computer Science Department; it must be signed by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the exam. The signatures of your research committee indicate that all you have left to do is finish your dissertation!
      • The PhD Thesis Defense Announcement Page must be submitted to the University Graduate School at least 30 days prior to the scheduled dissertation defense. A facsimile is available to show you what it looks like. Download a copy of this LaTeX template file to create your own announcement.

    Questions may be addressed to appropriate faculty members, or to the Director of Graduate Studies.

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