The PhD in CSE

The doctoral degree, i.e. the Ph.D., is primarily intended for students desiring a career in research and/or collegiate teaching.  The focus is on advanced CSE topics, on learning to perform research and to write research papers, and on making fundamental new contributions to a CSE topic. Students take advanced course work and write a doctoral dissertation, also called a thesis.

Program overview

Students newly admitted to the doctoral program are classified as precandidates. Upon entering a doctoral program, there is a Ph.D. qualifying process, normally completed during the first two years. After all requirements except the dissertation are completed, students become candidates. Students entering a CSE doctoral program with a bachelor’s degree typically become candidates in the third year and are strongly encouraged to complete the degree within five years. Such students ordinarily complete the requirements for a master’s degree along the way and receive this degree in addition to the Ph.D. A masters thesis is optional. Students who enter a CSE doctoral program with a master’s in the field of their program typically become candidates in their second year and are strongly encouraged to complete the degree within four years. Such students are not ordinarily eligible to receive a CSE master’s degree.

The complete doctoral requirements can be found in the CSE Graduate Program Guide (Google Doc).

View a list of courses approved for the different doctoral degree requirements (Google Sheet).

Continuous enrollment

In order to encourage timely completion of the degree, University policy requires doctoral students to register every Fall and Winter term until their degree is completed, with very few exceptions. That is, doctoral students cannot take time off from their studies, or pursue the later stages of their degree without registering, except in special circumstances.

Transferring credits

A limited number of graduate credits earned elsewhere may be transferred to meet the coursework requirements for doctoral students earning a master’s degree. In addition, a course taken elsewhere that is equivalent to a course satisfying a degree requirement here can be used to satisfy the requirement, even if course credits are not transferred. If granted, however, such equivalency does not not reduce the total number of credit hours required for the master’s degree, unless the course is transferred.

Apply to a PhD program

This page has information about graduate program admissions.

Financial support

The CSE doctoral program admits only those students for whom financial support can be guaranteed for the anticipated duration of studies (five years for students entering with a BS, four years for students entering with an MS), assuming satisfactory progress is made.

Most commonly, this financial support consists of a fellowship, a research assistantship, or a teaching assistantship offered by the program, or a fellowship from outside the university, or a combination of these.

Additional funding information for prospective graduate students can be found here.

Graduate programs staff

Contact us with any questions about Computer Science and Engineering graduate programs.

[email protected]