The following summarize the general requirements for successfully achieving the program requirements:
- Successful completion of preliminary examinations and courses
- Satisfactory performance in written comprehensive and oral examinations
- Admission to Ph.D. candidacy
- Successful completion and defense of original work documented as a dissertation
- Satisfaction of additional requirements such as teaching and seminars
The formal degree offered is the “Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering.” This will be awarded to candidates who complete all the requirements of the Ph.D. degree.
A. Academic Requirements
The requirements for Ph.D. students includes the following:
- Completion of the formal requirements for an MS. degree in computer science or computer engineering, including a thesis.
- An additional eight (3-credit hours) courses, or 24 credit hours, in the discipline, including no more than two independent studies.
- A two-semester teaching practice requirement (3 credit hours each), for which students are to register with no fees. The students will be expected to teach lower undergraduate level classes, and/or assist professors as teaching assistants (i.e., perform a significant teaching role), thus giving Ph.D. graduates experience for an academic teaching career.
- At least 15 semester hours of dissertation research, culminating in a dissertation proposal defense and dissertation defense.
- Comprehensive examination: written and oral (proposal defense).
- Publication of at least two journal papers, or one journal and two refereed conference papers, within the course of the Ph.D. topic research. These publications are not required to be single authored by the student and they might be coauthored with members of the dissertation committee.
B. Time and Load Guidelines
Both full and part-time students are encouraged to apply for the Ph.D. degree, which should be completed within a maximum of seven calendar years. A Ph.D. student (part-time or full-time) is expected to devote the necessary time to courses and research in order to make satisfactory progress toward the degree. Satisfactory progress includes active personal participation in the research and teaching environment of the School of Engineering. The student advisor and dissertation committee should advise the student as to her/his progress in the program. Full time students are required to register for at least 9 credit hours each semester while part-time students are required to register for at least 6 credit hours per academic year (spring and fall semesters).
C. Course Work
A Ph.D. candidate must complete at least 24 credit hours of course work, not including the dissertation, beyond the MS. degree. Upper level undergraduate remedial courses cannot be used to fulfill the course work requirement. The courses are to be selected according to the following criteria:
- One course from Area A: Computation, Intelligence and Robotics
- One course from Area B: Languages and Systems
- One course from Area C: Parallel processing and networks
- One course from Area D: Computer Architecture and VLSI
- Two more courses from one specific area A or B or C or D
- Two courses satisfying the Information Technology Globalization Track
D. Course Grade Point Average
A Ph.D. student is expected to maintain a G.P.A. of 3.0 or more. If the G.P.A. falls below 3.0, the student is automatically placed on probation. (Note: the grades in the transferred courses would not be used in the calculation of G.P.A). Continued probationary status for two semesters may lead to dismissal of the candidate from the program. No grade less than C is acceptable towards the course work requirement.
A Ph.D. student is expected to present her/his research findings in public seminars. He/She is also expected to interact and participate in professional discussions and meetings such as conferences and workshops. In order to fulfill these requirements, a Ph.D. student is expected to present one seminar after the written comprehensive examination and before the dissertation defense. The seminar of his/her research topic for the dissertation serves as the oral (proposal defense) part of the comprehensive exam. The Ph.D. coordinator awards a Pass/Fail grade after consultation with the student’s dissertation adviser. The student is required to register for one seminar course.
E. Comprehensive Examination
One of the major checkpoints in the Ph.D. program that assesses the breadth and depth of the student is the written and oral (proposal defense) comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination will test the breadth and depth of knowledge in all aspects of computer science and engineering.
The Ph.D. program coordinator will organize this comprehensive examination. The seminar requirement represents the oral (proposal defense) section of the exam. The outcome of this examination will be of fail, pass, or conditional pass. Any requirements for the conditional pass should be cleared within one regular semester. In case the conditional pass requirements are not cleared within one semester, the conditional pass automatically changes to fail. A student can re-take this examination no more than once. A student who does not pass the comprehensive examination in two attempts will be dismissed from the program.
F. Admission to Candidacy
When a student passes the comprehensive examination and fulfills all other requirements, s/he will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. This serves as another important milestone in the progress towards the Ph.D. degree.
G. Dissertation Committee
After passing satisfactorily the written comprehensive examination and selecting a dissertation adviser, the student is required to define a problem of merit, carry out a literature search and prepare a course of action to solve the selected problem.
The candidate is expected to produce a dissertation proposal. The Ph.D. program coordinator, in consultation with the dissertation adviser, recommends a dissertation committee for the student.
The dissertation committee contains at least three members in addition to the dissertation adviser. At least four members of the dissertation committee must be from a professorial rank within the school. Additionally, an external examiner is appointed as well. The external examiner is one who has been distinguished in the field of computer science and engineering. S/he might not hold a professorial rank.
The chairman of Computer Science and Engineering and the Dean of the School of Engineering must then approve the dissertation committee.
The student is expected to work on the accepted topic and come up with original results. S/he has to report the results in the form of a Ph.D. dissertation.
The student is encouraged to document the intermediate results in the form of technical reports. S/he is also encouraged to publish these results as they are discovered, in the international professional literature, i.e., refereed conference proceedings and journals.
Proof of good work is the acceptance of the results by reputed journals. Intermediate results can also be discussed in departmental seminars.
The completed dissertation must be distributed to the dissertation committee members at least two weeks before the dissertation defense. The committee will read it and certify that the dissertation is a work of substantial merit and that it can be defended.
It is the responsibility of the student that the final draft of the dissertation addresses all legitimate concerns of the committee members.
I. Seminar Requirement
A Ph.D. student is expected to present her/his research findings in public seminars. S/he is also expected to interact and participate in professional discussions and meetings such as conferences and workshops. In order to fulfill these requirements, a Ph.D. student is expected to present one seminar after the written comprehensive examination and before the dissertation defense. The seminar of his/her research topic for the dissertation serves as the oral (proposal defense) part of the comprehensive exam. The Ph.D. coordinator awards a Pass/Fail grade after consultation with the student’s dissertation advisor. The student is required to register for one seminar course.
J. Dissertation Defense Examination
After having secured approval from the dissertation committee members regarding the worthiness of the dissertation, a student will proceed with a request for the dissertation defense examination.
The chairman of the dissertation committee will chair the examination. The student will schedule a convenient time for a public defense. It is the responsibility of the student to find a time that is suitable to all the members of the dissertation committee, at least two weeks prior to the defense.
At the end of the defense, the decision of the dissertation committee will be pass or fail. It is the responsibility of the dissertation adviser to see that the comments and the criticism of the audience are addressed adequately in the final version of the dissertation.
Based on the recommendation of the dissertation committee, the Ph.D. coordinator, and the Departmental Chairman, the Dean of the School of Engineering will recommend the Ph.D. degree subject to the satisfaction of all other formal requirements.