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

Qualifying Exam Requirement

Each student needs to pass three qualifying exams, and one of them should be in the area in which the student will write the dissertation. The student may take the qualifying exam embedded in a course without taking the course. If a student fails in a qualifying exam, he/she must retake it. If a student fails in a qualifying exam twice, he/she must leave the program. All qualifying exams must be passed by the end of the second year.

PhD Computer Science Worksheet

Please click here to download PhD Computer Science Worksheet for curriculum details.

Typical Path of Advancement

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

Year 1

Fall: (10 credit hours)

  • Take CS 702 Research Seminar (2 credit hours)
  • For advanced coursework, take
    • CS 812 Advanced Concepts and Structures in Internet Computing (4 credit hours)
    • CS 855 Advanced Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (4 credit hours)
  • Pass the qualifying exams embedded in CS 812. Optionally pass the qualifying exam embedded in CS 855.

Spring: (10 credit hours)

  • Take CS 702 Research Seminar (2 credit hours)
  • For advanced coursework, take
    • CS 801 Advanced Algorithms (4 credit hours)
    • CS 827 Advanced Artificial Intelligence (4 credit hours
  • Pass the qualifying exam embedded in CS 801. Optionally pass the qualifying exam embedded in CS 827.

Year 2

Fall: (10 credit hours)

  • Take CS 702 Research Seminar (2 credit hours)
  • For advanced coursework, take
    • CS 816 Big Data Analytics (4 credit hours) 
  • Optionally pass the qualifying exam embedded in CS 816
  • For dissertation, take
    • CS 704 Independent Research (4 credit hours) with a faculty sharing research interest to define a research problem

Spring: (10 credit hours)

  • Take CS 702 Research Seminar (2 credit hours)
  • For advanced coursework, take
    • CS 830 Advanced Intelligent Agents (4 credit hours)
  • Optionally pass the qualifying exam embedded in CS 830
  • For dissertation, take
    • CS 704 Independent Research (4 credit hours) with a dissertation supervisor to work on dissertation
  • The student will pass the dissertation proposal exam at the end of the semester

Year 3

Fall: (4 credit hours) 

  • For dissertation, take
    • CS 704 Independent Research (4 credit hours) with a dissertation supervisor to work on dissertation
  • Register for CS 800 PhD Dissertation Full-Time (0 credit hours)

Spring: (0 credit hours)

  • Register for CS 800 PhD Dissertation Full-Time (0 credit hours)
  • Dissertation defense

Sample Ph.D. in Computer Science Courses

  • CS702 Research Seminar
  • CS704 Independent Research
  • CS800 PhD Dissertation Full-Time
  • CS801 Advanced Algorithms
  • CS810 Advanced Introduction to Parallel and Distributed Computing
  • CS811 Advanced Principles of Programming Languages
  • CS812 Advanced Concepts and Structures in Internet Computing
  • CS813 Advanced Compiler Construction
  • CS814 Advanced Logic and Formal Verification
  • CS816 Big Data Analytics
  • CS823 Advanced Database Management Systems
  • CS824 Advanced Application Development with .NET and Web Service
  • CS827 Advanced Artificial Intelligence
  • CS828 Advanced Automata and Computability
  • CS829 Advanced Computer Graphics
  • CS830 Advanced Intelligent Agents
  • CS834 Advanced Computer Networking and the Internet
  • CS836 Advanced Optical Communications and Networks
  • CS839 Advanced Mobile Application Development
  • CS841 Advanced Mobile Web Content and Development
  • CS843 Advanced Mobile Innovations for Global Challenges
  • CS844 Advanced Web Computing
  • CS845 Advanced Game Level Design
  • CS846 Advanced Service-Oriented Computing
  • CS847 Advanced Game Model Design and Animation
  • CS848 Advanced Enterprise Computing
  • CS849 Advanced Video Game Programming II
  • CS850 Advanced Grid Computing
  • CS851 Advanced Secure Distributed System Development
  • CS852 Advanced Secure Web Application Development
  • CS853 Advanced Cryptography and Computer Security
  • CS854 Advanced Security in Computer Networking
  • CS855 Advanced Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning