PhD Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 108 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree in order to complete the PhD program.

Coursework Requirements

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Students admitted with a prior master’s degree in computer science or a related field must complete at least 28 of those hours from coursework, 16 hours of which must be computer science courses at the 500 level (excluding CS 590 and CS 595-599). UIC’s Graduate College may grant up to 32 hours of credit from previously earned MS degree; students must submit a request to Student Affairs for these credits upon enrollment at UIC.

Students who are directly admitted after a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field must complete at least 32 hours from coursework, 16 hours of which must be computer science courses at the 500 level (excluding CS 590 and CS 595-599).

Important notes:

  • Courses that are nearly equivalent to computer science graduate courses should not be repeated. Generally, repeated courses will not earn PhD credit.
  • A maximum of 8 hours of non-computer science graduate courses may be counted toward the overall coursework requirement, but prior approval via a formal petition is required. Consult the Student Affairs office in 905 SEO for details on petitions.
  • A maximum of two special topics courses (CS 594) may be counted toward the 500-level coursework requirement. Students may submit a petition to use additional special topics courses toward other coursework requirements.

Research Credits

Students admitted with a prior master’s degree in computer science or a related field must earn at least 48 hours of the program total from research hours.

Students who are directly admitted after a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field must earn at least 72 hours of the program total from research hours.

Important notes:

  • Research Methods is required. Candidates must earn 4 hours in CS 590 within the first two years of enrollment.
  • Colloquium is required for a minimum of 10 sessions within the first two years of enrollment. Attending other students’ dissertation defenses may be counted toward colloquia.
  • Only 48 or 72 research hours, respectively, may be used toward the PhD in computer science, but students may register for additional hours with permission from their faculty advisor if needed.
  • Qualifier Examination

    PhD students must pass the qualifier examination before the end of their fourth semester of enrollment. See the Qualifier Examination page for full details.

  • Preliminary Examination

    PhD students must pass an oral preliminary examination on their proposed dissertation topic. In this examination, students must demonstrate a capacity for independent research on an original dissertation topic within the selected field of study. Visit the Preliminary Examination page for full details.

  • Dissertation

    Upon completion of all degree requirements and the dissertation, students must orally defend their work before the committee. Visit the Dissertation Process page for full details.

Additional PhD Policies and Procedures