Requirements for the
Doctor of Philosophy Degree
in Computer Science
Requirements for admission: Baccalaureate
degree and Graduate Record Examination (subject test highly desirable).
Prerequisites common to all graduate requirements are
These prerequisites may be satisfied by undergraduate
or more advanced courses, and in some cases by professional experience.
- Computer structures and organization.
- Discrete structures and computing theory.
- Data structures.
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.
Each student is urged to consult with appropriate faculty members and
designate, with their consent, members of a suitable advisory committee to
oversee and conduct the qualifying exam. The advisory committee must abide
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 Computer Science Director of Graduate Studies.
The advisory committee oversees the student's progress until the passing of
the 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
The material between the next two horizontal bars
is the text for the 2009-2010 edition of the Bulletin
of the University Graduate School.
(Entry starting in Fall 2009)
- 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.
- Essentials Requirement: Of the eight courses, there
must be at least one course in Foundations/Logic (indicated by middle
digit 0/1) and one course in Software/Hardware Systems (indicated by
middle digit 3/4). Both these courses must be passed with a minimum
grade of B+.
- 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 Program.
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, given by the
first semester of the student's third year in the program. This examination
is administered by the advisory committee and is expected to have a written
and an oral component.
- 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.
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 2009.
- Areas of Advanced Computer Science
Most of the Computer Science Program's courses at the 500 level
and above are classified into these areas:
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.
- 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., P573, B673);
- Graphics and Human Interfaces (middle digit 8, e.g., B581, B582).
- 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
- Detailed procedure for the qualifying examination
Each student is expected to pass a Qualifying Examination, normally by the
first semester of the student's third year in the program. If the student
fails the exam, it may be retaken once, by the end of the student's third
year. Prior to the qualifying examination, each student will be expected to
the Qualifying Examination Petition Form with the signatures of the
Director of Graduate Studies and Advisory Committee.
The examination is expected to have a written and an oral component and to
demonstrate (1) in-depth knowledge of the student's specialization, (2)
knowledge of some other area of Computer Science, (3) academic writing
competence, and (4) the ability to defend a position in an oral setting.
In consultation with his or her Advisory Committee, the student will agree on
the format of the examination within the following constraints.
Format of Examination.
The student and his or her committee agree on a set of three topic
areas. Two of these topics are expected to be within the student's
specialization. The third topic can be in any other area of
Computer Science but must be outside the student's
specialization. The topics must be approved by the Director of
The examination within each topic will consist of either a
conventional written examination or a written paper that answers a
specific question within the topic. The qualifying examination must
include at least one paper. If the examination consists of more
than one paper, the papers should address different methodological
approaches to the content area (mathematical analysis, simulation,
programming, experiments, etc.)
The student then has three months to prepare for the exam, normally
during the summer following the second year in the program. During
this time, the student may consult any works on the paper topics
but may not discuss the topics with others. Questions to the
committee should only concern procedural matters.
- Conventional Examination: Each committee member writes one or two
questions. The student has two days, four hours per day, to answer
the questions, using any resources he or she wishes to bring to the
examination room. Within a week, the committee evaluates the
student's answers. The student does not normally receive feedback
from the committee but may discuss the answers informally with
members of the committee in preparation for the oral portion of the
exam. The student meets with the committee within three weeks
after submitting the answers to orally defend his or her answers
and respond to follow-up questions. The oral presentation is open
to the faculty of the Computer Science program as observers only:
the authoritative decision lies with the student's advisory
committee. If the committee agrees that the student's written and
oral answers are satisfactory, the student has successfully passed
the qualification exam. Otherwise, the committee may fail the
student outright or may require the student (1) to elaborate
further in written answers to one or more questions or (2) to
answer in writing one or more additional questions. If the student
satisfies the committee with these additional assignments, he or
she has successfully passed the qualification exam; otherwise, the
exam is considered failed and must be completely retaken.
- Written Papers: After the papers are submitted to the committee,
they are evaluated by the committee members, normally within a
period of a week, and returned to the student with comments. It is
encouraged that the papers are also made available to the faculty
of the Computer Science program. Next the student meets with the
committee to defend his or her answers orally; the oral portion of
the exam should take place within three weeks of the submission of
the papers. The oral presentation is open to the faculty of the
Computer Science program as observers only: the authoritative
decision lies with the student's advisory committee. Based on the
written answers and the oral defense, the committee may pass the
student immediately, fail the student outright, or require the
student to rewrite one or more of the papers and possibly also to
meet with the committee again for a second oral defense. If the
student satisfies the committee with these additional assignments,
he or she has successfully passed the qualification exam; otherwise
the exam is considered failed and must be completely retaken.
- Forms/steps 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 office in LH215; official forms
required by the Graduate School are also available
in the Graduate School office in Kirkwood 111. Be sure to submit all
the required forms in order, as soon as you complete each milestone.
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
is available online to help PhD students plan their course requirements.
obtaining a Master's will find the
Master's work sheet
- The Application for Advanced Degree form
by the Graduate School to obtain the Master's Degree
(pdf of MS version)
or the PhD Degree
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. 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).
Qualifying Exam Petition form is required by the Computer
Science Program; it must be signed by the Director of Graduate
Studies and by the Advisory Committee
three months before the scheduled date of the exam.
Nomination to Candidacy for the PhD Degree
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
should be used by those pursuing a double major.
- The Nomination of Research Committee for the PhD
form is required by the Graduate
School to establish your research committee;
should be used by those pursuing a double major.
If it becomes necessary to change the makeup of your research
committee, you must submit the Change of Research Committee form
and your thesis prospectus must be approved six months before the
defense of the dissertation. Your research committee must consist of at
least three members of the CS faculty 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.
Thesis Proposal Oral Examination form
is required by the Computer Science Program.
Completing this milestone indicates 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.
facsimile is available to show you what it looks like.
Download a copy of this
LaTeX template file to create your own announcement.
The dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School and to the
School of Informatics and Computing.
The School requires a bound copy of the
dissertation, including a sleeve containing a pdf file of its contents
on CD. This must be submitted to the CS Graduate Administrator.
The Graduate School dissertation preparation and submission
instructions are available in their
Questions may be addressed to appropriate faculty members,
or to the Director of Graduate Studies.
Index of Educational Programs