In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:
- Minimum semester hours required: 108 from the baccalaureate.
- Students admitted with prior master’s degree in CS or a related field: Must complete a minimum of 24 hours of graduate credit (6 courses). Of the 24 hours, at least 16 hours must be CS coursework at the 500 level, excluding CS 590, CS 595, CS 596, CS 597, CS 598, and CS 599. Any course that is nearly equivalent to one taken in the bachelor’s or master’s program earlier will not earn PhD credit. Credit earned in CS 596 may not be applied toward the PhD degree. Graduation credit for non-CS course work must have prior department approval.
- Students admitted directly after a bachelor’s degree in CS or a related field: Must complete a minimum of 32 hours of graduate credit. Of the 32 hours, at least 16 hours must be CS coursework at the 500 level, excluding CS 590, CS 595, CS 596, CS 597, CS 598, and CS 599. Graduation credit for non-CS coursework must have prior department approval.
- Other requirements
- Research Methods: Required. Candidates must earn 4 hours in CS 590 within the first two years of enrollment.
- Colloquium: Candidates are required to take 10 colloquia within the first two years of enrollment. Dissertations are acceptable.
- Departmental qualifying examination: Required; written.
- Preliminary examination: Required.
- Dissertation: Required. Candidates must earn CS 599 credit of at least 48 hours beyond a master’s degree and at least 72 hours beyond a bachelor’s degree.
PhD students must pass the qualifier examination before the end of their fourth semester of enrollment. See the Qualifier Examination page for full details.
PhD students must pass a 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.
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
All PhD students are assigned a temporary advisor upon admission. Students are encouraged to choose a permanent advisor by their second semester. By the completion of the third semester, a formal permanent advisor selection form must be submitted to the CS Student Affairs office. Permanent advisors must be chosen by mutual agreement.
All PhD students are required to complete the College of Engineering’s annual online self-assessment. Students are notified when the self-assessment is open and provided with the link. It requires demographic information, self-evaluation, publications, presentations, and plans for the upcoming year. Once the student completes and submits the survey, the advisor receives a notification to verify and provide feedback on the student’s progress.
Transfers to the MS program
The UIC College of Engineering strategic plan states that students in a PhD program who have received any financial support from UIC—such as a teaching assistantship, research assistantship, fellowship, or tuition and fee waiver—cannot transfer into any MS program in the College of Engineering, which includes computer science, without an approved petition.
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