Ph.D. Comprehensive Coursework

All students pursuing a Ph.D. degree are required to complete 24 credit hours of comprehensive coursework to provide knowledge in core areas of computer science.

Students must choose two courses from each category below. Students must have a minimum grade for each individual class of “B-” and have a minimum cumulative GPA for all eight classes of 3.5.


  • CS 544 Cybersecurity
  • CS 564 Introduction to Database Management
  • CS 585 Computer Networks
  • CS 587 Advanced Computer Operating Systems


  • CS 550 Programming Languages and Systems
  • CS 558 Software Foundations

choose one of the following:

  • CS 554 Compiler Construction
  • CS 555 Advanced Topics in Compiler Construction


  • CS 500 Introduction to the Theory of Computation
  • CS 561 Algorithms and Data Structures
  • CS 530 Geometric and Probabilistic Methods

Empirical Methods:

  • CS 512 Advanced Image Synthesis
  • CS 523 Complex Adaptive Systems
  • CS 527 Principles of Artificially Intelligent Machines
  • CS 529 Introduction to Machine Learning

Students must complete the comprehensive coursework as noted above. Upon completion of this coursework the student is allowed to work toward the dissertation. The student’s advisor and the graduate advisor or department chairperson then appoint a dissertation committee which determines the student’s remaining program of study and conduct the candidacy examination. The candidacy examination verifies that the student possesses the specialized knowledge required for his/her area of research and ensures that the proposed dissertation topic is adequate in scope, originality and significance. The student is admitted to candidacy for the doctorate upon completion of the comprehensive coursework and candidacy examination, with the approval of the doctoral committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Finally, the committee evaluates the student’s doctoral dissertation and conducts the final oral examination on the student’s area of specialization.

A brochure describing the program and requirements can be obtained from the department.