PhD in Computer Science Curriculum

The PhD in Computer Science at Seidenberg promises the breadth and depth of education that you need to become a true computing innovator. The program requires students to complete a variety of 700 and 800 level PhD courses, and to conduct in-depth research for publication in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.

Each student completes four semesters of research seminars and must pass qualifying exams in at least three major computing areas, one of which must be closely related to the student’s dissertation research. The research seminars taken across four semesters form the heart of Seidenberg’s research community. All first and second year PhD students attend this course; advanced doctoral students also participate.

These seminars form the central research focus of the curriculum: during them, students and faculty will discuss papers they have read and present their dissertation work in progress.

Program Requirements

For applicants with a master’s degree in computer science or a closely related area, the program requires 44 credit hours including:

  • 24 credit hours for advanced coursework (12 for breadth and 12 for depth)
  • 8 credit hours for research seminars to be taken over 4 semesters
  • 12 credit hours for the dissertation
  • Pass three qualifying exams and  a dissertation proposal exam
  • Successful oral dissertation defense
  • Completion of a teaching skill development program

Strong graduates from a bachelor degree program in computer science or closely related areas can also be directly admitted into this program with an additional 18 credit hours of course work.

Typical Path of Advancement

Below is an example of the typical paths PhD in Computer Science students take. Individual students will take different courses depending on their specialty, so your particular course of study may differ.

Year 1

Fall: (9 credit hours)

  • Take one research seminar course
  • For advanced coursework for breadth, take
    • CS 701 Advanced Algorithms
    • CS 912 Advanced Concepts and Structures in Internet Computing
  • Pass the qualifying exams embedded in the above two courses and establish PhD candidacy. The advisor and the student will then form a dissertation committee.

Spring: (10 credit hours)

  • Take one research seminar course
  • Take one 4-credit hour independent study course with his advisor to define research topic 
  • For one more advanced coursework in this research area for breadth, take
    • CS 927 Advanced Artificial Intelligence
    • Pass the qualifying exam embedded in the above course
  • The student will pass the dissertation proposal exam at the end of the semester

Year 2

Fall: (10 credit hours)

  • Take one research seminar course
  • For advanced coursework for depth, take
    • CS 930 Advanced Intelligent Agents 
    • CS 955 Advanced Pattern Recognition

Spring: (9 credit hours)

  • Take one research seminar course
  • For advanced coursework for depth, take
    • CS 914 Advanced Logic and Formal Verification 
  • Register for 3 credits for dissertation

Year 3

Fall: (3 credit hours) 

  • Register for 3 credits for dissertation

Spring: (3 credit hours)

  • Register for 3 credits for dissertation 
  • Dissertation defense 

Potential Research Areas

The computer science field covers a lot of areas, and the Seidenberg School aims to provide our PhD students with access to their interests. We have several established research areas and students are more than welcome to contact us with their own ideas for study.