Doctoral Degree Program Requirements 2012 and after

Number of credit hours:

  • For direct Ph.D. degree students: 54 credit hours (minimum of 18 credit hours of course work available for graduate credit and minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research credits (CSCI 8999))
  • For post-Master’s Ph.D. students: 18 credit hours of course work available for graduate credit and 12 credit hours of dissertation research credits (CSCI 8999)
     

Specific course requirements:

  • At least one course from each of the following three areas: 1) theory, 2) systems; and 3) applications.  The purpose is to introduce students to the major methods of computer science research at the graduate level. Theory research involves constructing formal models of computation; validation is primarily by mathematical proof. Systems research involves improving computing infrastructure to make it faster, more reliable, more secure, etc.; validation is primarily empirical or analytical. Applied research involves using computers to solve problems of interest. Validation is primarily through demonstration that a method is effective in solving a problem.
    • Theory: CSci 4314, 6212, 6213, 6311, 6312, 6331, 6341, 6362
    • Systems: CSci 6431, 6441, 6461, 6541
    • Applications: CSci 6351, 6364, 6365, 6443, 6448, 6511, 6521, 6525, 6527, 6554, 6555 
  • At least one advanced topics course. CSci courses at the 8000 level with “Advanced” in the title satisfy this requirement. With approval of the student’s advisor, a CSci 6907 course may also satisfy this requirement.
  • A maximum of 15 credits outside of the department for direct Ph.D. students; a maximum of 9 credits outside of the department for post-Master’s Ph.D. students.
     

Pass the preliminary examination within 4 semesters of starting the program:

The purpose of the preliminary exam is to assess students’ academic strength and to ensure breadth of exposure to core areas in computer science.  Failure to pass the exam by the end of the 4th semester will lead to dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

  • Students must demonstrate competency in two areas, one course per area:
    • Algorithms and Theory: CSci 6212 Design and Analysis of Algorithms; CSci 6311 Theory of Computation
    • Software and Systems: CSci 6221 Advanced Software Paradigms; CSci 6431 Computer Networks; CSci 6461 Computer Architectures
  • Students may demonstrate competency in a course in one of two ways:
    • Take the course, earning a grade of A- or better. By university regulations, courses in which a student receives a grade of C- or better may not be repeated for credit. So students usually may attempt a course at most once.
    • Take only the written, in-class exams in the course. Students must pass all the course’s exams during a semester, earning a grade of A- or better. Students may typically attempt this approach twice (per course).
  • Students must fill out and submit to the Department of Computer Science a Preliminary Examination Form before taking the preliminary exam.
  • The student’s advisor must approve the student’s choice of courses and particular course offerings.
     

Form a dissertation committee:

  • The dissertation committee must consist of at least three members in addition to the advisor(s) and co-advisors (optional).
  • The committee must have a presiding chair who must be a regular full-time faculty member in the Department of Computer Science. The committee chair may not be the student's research advisor or co-advisor.
  • At least two members of the committee, not including advisor(s) and co-advisors, shall be regular full-time faculty of the Department of Computer Science.
  • At least one member of the committee must be an external reviewer. The external reviewer can be any person who holds a Doctoral degree, and may not be a faculty member in the Computer Science department, but may be a researcher or faculty member from another GW department or from outside the University.
  • The dissertation committee must be approved by the chair of the Department of Computer Science.
  • The committee membership is normally the same for the dissertation proposal exam and the dissertation defense. However, the membership may change with the approval of the advisor and department chair.
     

Pass the dissertation proposal exam:

  • The exam may not be taken before the student has passed the preliminary examination.
  • The student’s advisor must approve the scheduling of the dissertation proposal exam.
  • The student will submit a written proposal, in the style of a dissertation, to the members of the dissertation committee. The proposal should contain preliminary results.
  • The dissertation committee will evaluate the proposal and conduct an oral examination of the student. The committee will convey its recommendation of pass/fail to the Department of Computer Science.
     

Complete a dissertation and successfully defend it to the dissertation committee:

  • The dissertation defense may not be scheduled before the student has passed the dissertation proposal exam.
  • The student’s advisor must approve the scheduling of the dissertation defense.
  • The student will submit a written dissertation to the members of the dissertation committee, normally two or more weeks in advance of the defense. The writing should follow the dissertation writing guidelines.
  • The committee will evaluate the dissertation and conduct an oral examination of the student. The committee will convey its recommendation of pass/fail to the Department of Computer Science.
     

Must have at least one peer-reviewed conference or journal paper accepted for publication at the time of the dissertation defense:

As a guideline, students are expected to have at least two or three conference or journal papers accepted for publication by the time of their dissertation defense, and the material from those papers should be the core of the dissertation.
 

Must fulfill the colloquium attendance requirement:

All full-time students who entered the Ph.D. program after Summer 2012 must register for the 0-credit CSci 6900 Colloquium course every semester they are in residence. As part of the course, students must attend at least two talks (colloquia, seminars, or Ph.D. student proposals or defenses) each semester. The talks must be in computer science or in other fields that have a significant computational component. Each student is required to fill out and submit the colloquium attendance form to the Department of Computer Science main office at the end of every semester.  Moreover, all Ph.D. students are expected to attend the department colloquium series regularly, as well as seminars in their research area and student proposals and defenses in their group and area.
 

Scholarship requirements:

  • Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to meet graduation requirements
  • Students who receive two (or more) grades of F will be dismissed from the program
  • Students who receive three (or more) grades below B- will be dismissed from the program

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