The doctor of philosophy degree is regarded as a research degree and is granted on the basis of scholarly proficiency, distinctive achievement in a special field, and the capacity for independent, original investigation. The first two criteria are tested in coursework and a qualifying examination, the last by a dissertation that must present the results of substantial research clearly and effectively. A combination of these accomplishments, rather than the mere accumulation of residency and course credits, is the essential consideration in awarding the doctorate.
Ph.D. Requirements (54 Credit Hours)
Credit Hours (For Students Graduating in Fall 2023 or Later)
The student must successfully complete 54 total credit hours, as follows:
- 18 hours of CS 699 Dissertation Research
- 36 hours of graduate-level course work in computing including
- 12 hours of Core CS Courses from the following list, including at least 1 course from each group
- Software: CS 503, CS 507, CS 515, CS 516, CS 520, CS 534, CS 544, CS 545, CS 603, CS 630
- Systems: CS 526, CS 538, CS 548, CS 567, CS 581, CS 606, CS 613, CS 618
- Theory: CS 570, CS 575, CS 602, CS 612
- 18 hours of Elective Graduate CS Courses
- Students may not count CS 592, CS 598, CS 599, CS 692 or CS 699 courses towards this total
- Courses outside of CS can count towards this total, if proposed by a faculty member and approved by a vote of the CS Faculty
- 6 hours of a Other Coursework including:
- CS 592 or CS 692
- Additional graduate CS courses
- Courses taken outside of CS, subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director and the student’s advisor (where applicable). Students should contact the Graduate Program Director and their Advisor (where applicable) prior to registering for courses outside of CS.
- Other Requirements
- At least 9 hours total of the Core CS Courses and the Elective Graduate CS Courses must be taken at the 600 level
- Graduate coursework can be transferred from other institutions with departmental approval under the following conditions
- The upper limit on transfer hours is 50% of the required graduate-level course work hours
- No more than 6 hours can count towards the Core CS Courses
- No more than 12 hours total can count toward the Core CS Courses and the Elective Graduate CS Courses
- Any additional approved transfer hours will count towards Other Coursework
Credit Hours For Students Entering Prior to Fall 2019
The student must successfully complete 72 total credit hours, as follows:
- 24 hours of CS 699 Dissertation Research
- 48 hours of graduate-level course work in computing
- At least 24 hours of this coursework must be from courses that are taken within the Department.
- Students may not count CS 591, CS 592, CS 598, CS 599, CS 691, CS 692 or CS 699 courses towards this total
- A maximum of 12 credit hours of graduate coursework may be transferred from other institutions to count towards this total (with departmental approval)
- The remaining hours of a student’s required coursework may include:
- Additional graduate courses taken within the Department. This may include CS 591, CS 592, CS 691 and CS 692 courses
- Graduate coursework transferred from other institutions
- Courses taken outside of CS are subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director and the student’s advisor (where applicable). Students should contact the Graduate Program Director and their Advisor (where applicable) prior to registering for courses outside of CS.
- The student must pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam.
- The student must select a dissertation advisor and a dissertation committee. The committee contains at least five members, including the dissertation advisor. Four members must be from the faculty of the Department of Computer Science, and one member must be from outside the department.
- The student will develop a written research proposal. This should contain an introduction to the research area, a review of relevant literature in the area, a description of problems to be investigated, an identification of basic goals and objectives of the research, a methodology and timetable for approaching the research, and an extensive bibliography.
- The student will deliver an oral presentation of the research proposal, which is followed by a question-and-answer session that is open to all faculty and which covers topics related directly or indirectly to the research area. The student’s committee will determine whether the proposal is acceptable based upon both the written and oral presentations
- Upon successful completion of the Dissertation Proposal, a student becomes a PhD Candidate and is eligible to register for CS699 hours. See the Graduate Catalog under “Admission to Candidacy” for more details and requirements about CS699 registration. Separate rules apply for Final-Semester Dissertation (699) Minimum Registration Hours. See the Graduate Catalog under “Registration during the Final Semester” or visit Capstone International for more information.
- For International Students, once you compete your coursework and are enrolled in only CS699, you must complete the Research Phase Commitment Memo.
- The student will develop a written dissertation that demonstrates that the student has performed original research that makes a definite contribution to current knowledge. Its format and content must be acceptable to both the student’s committee and the Graduate School.
- The student will defend the written dissertation. The defense includes an oral presentation of the dissertation research, followed by a question-and-answer session. The student’s committee will determine whether the defense is acceptable.
- Other requirements may be specified by the Graduate School and by the College of Engineering.
- As soon as a student has finalized their committee, but no later than 2 weeks prior to the scheduled dissertation proposal defense, the student should ensure the following forms are submitted:
- After a successful dissertation proposal defense, a student should ensure the following forms are submitted
- Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree [Contact your advisor to initiate this form]
- At least 15 calendar days prior to the scheduled Dissertation, a student should
- Send their final Dissertation to the Graduate Program including the date, time, and location of the scheduled defense.
- Upon receipt of the dissertation, the Graduate Program Director will ensure the document is complete, send it to the student’s committee, and send email to Faculty/Students announcing the date, time, and location of defense.
- Once approved by the Graduate Director, the student completes the Public Notice of Dissertation Defense Form
- After a successful dissertation final defense, a student should ensure the following form is submitted
- Doctoral Final Defense Form [Contact your advisor to initiate this form]
- After uploading the final committee-approved dissertation to the ETD administrative system, a student should ensure the following form is submitted
- Committee Acceptance Form for Electronic Thesis or Dissertation [Contact your advisor to initiate this form]
- The semester before, or no later than the first week in the semester in which the student plans to graduate, the student should “Apply for Graduation” online in myBama.
Deadlines for Taking the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
If you have a M.S. in CS, your first attempt at the qualifying exam should be at the beginning of your third semester in the PhD program. For example, if you have an M.S. in CS and enter the Ph.D. program Fall 2020, you must complete your first attempt at the exam in Fall 2021.
If you have a BS in CS, but not an M.S. in CS, your first attempt at the qualifying exam should be at the beginning of your the fourth semester in the Ph.D. program. For example, if you have a BS in CS and enter the Ph.D. program Fall 2020, you must complete your first attempt at the exam in Spring 2022.
If you do not have a BS in CS, your first attempt at the qualifying exam should be at the beginning of your fifth semester in the Ph.D. program. For example, if you enter the Ph.D. program Fall 2020 without a BS in CS, you must complete your first attempt at the exam by Fall 2022.
Students are allowed two attempts to successfully complete the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. Students who do not pass their first attempt must retake the exam at the next offering of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam.
The student may withdraw from the process before the due date of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Written Document if the advisor feels the student attempt at the qualifying exam is not sufficient. However, a withdrawal will be counted as a fail on the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam.
Curriculum Practical Training
In an effort to attract higher quality international students and to enhance the reputation and collaboration opportunities of the UA Computer Science graduate program, students are encouraged to participate in high quality, research-oriented experiences that can be sponsored under the Curricular Practical Training (CPT). It is expected that these experiences will coincide with the research area of the major professor.
PhD students are allowed to apply for the option of conducting a CPT as part of their graduate work, under specific conditions.
- Student must have completed 4 semesters of coursework and his/her Qualifying Exam
- Student must be nominated by and have the support of his/her advisor
- The experience must be deemed high quality (in terms of research impact and contribution to dissertation activities)
- Student must write a short essay describing how the proposed CPT experience would be beneficial to his/her career (e.g. help with dissertation, provide contacts for future jobs)
- Student must agree to return to UA upon completion of CPT and finish their degree
A faculty committee will review the application materials and approve or deny the CPT request. The goal of the committee will be to ensure that the CPT experiences are helpful to the student and that we are sending out high-quality students to represent the department well.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For additional information about the doctoral program, contact Dr. Jeffrey Carver or your thesis advisor.