A Ph.D. graduate must have demonstrated both breadth and depth of knowledge in his/her discipline. The requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science can be summarized as follows:
The purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to evaluate the breadth of the Ph.D. candidate's background preparation in computer science. The candidate is expected to complete this examination at the beginning of the Ph.D. program, normally within the first 12 months of entering the program. The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of core Computer Science topic areas and of selected application areas of Computer Science. A topic area is considered to be covered if the candidate has completed with satisfactory results at least one graduate level course on that topic in the Department (or a comparable course from a reputable university). The following is a list of the topic areas, with Department courses corresponding to each topic enclosed in parentheses.
The candidate must have demonstrated knowledge in at least five of nine topic areas:
CMPT 898 "Special Topics" Offerings: With the approval of the graduate committee, a student may use a CMPT 898 special topics course to satisfy the qualifying exam in one topic area deemed to be appropriate by the graduate committee. Any number of CMPT 898 classes may be used in this way.
The purpose of the Comprehensive Examination is to evaluate the breadth and the depth of knowledge of the candidate in the chosen research area. The candidate must take the comprehensive examination within 18 months upon entering the Ph.D. graduate program. Details on the comprehensive exam procedures and expectations can be found in the graduate student handbook.
Every student in our Ph.D. program is required to give a seminar in the 990 series. The seminar should be given when the research is sufficiently progressed, but before writing and submitting a Ph.D. thesis. The seminar is to be given during the regular term, September - April 30.
The work of each student is overseen by an Advisory Committee, which consists of the student's supervisor(s) and additional faculty members from within and outside the Department of Computer Science. The Committee is selected by the student and his/her supervisor in consultation with the Graduate Chair. Requirements for the composition of the advisory committee may be found in the graduate student handbook.
Before beginning detailed work on the thesis, the student will secure the acceptance of a proposal by his/her Advisory Committee. The proposal will specify, as precisely as possible, the research component of the thesis and its goals. It will include a tentative layout for the thesis and the initial results of a literature survey, but its main focus will be on the research project and how it is likely to contribute to the discipline in which the thesis research is being carried out. The proposal is accepted only after it has been defended in a meeting of the Advisory Committee, open to interested graduate students and faculty.
The thesis itself is based on original investigation, and must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate, as well as familiarity with tools and methods of research in Computer Science. To be acceptable, it must be a worthwhile contribution to knowledge, and warrant publication in whole or in part.
Upon completion of the thesis the candidate must defend the thesis at an oral examination. The Examining Committee consists of the Advisory Committee, an External Examiner from outside the University, and such other persons as the Advisory Committee may select with the approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research. At least one month prior to the anticipated date of the defense, a list of possible External Examiners must be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies & Research who is responsible for the formal selection.