Doctoral Program (Ph.D.)

General Overview of the Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with advanced coursework and substantive research experience to prepare graduates to be the leaders in industry and academia. There is an emphasis on producing original work to present at conferences or published in peer-reviewed journals. Students who successfully complete the Ph.D. program go on to take leadership, entrepreneurial, and scholarly positions.

PhD students progress through four phases in their study.  Initially, students are required to begin coursework while identifying a faculty mentor to serve as their research advisor.  As students progress in coursework and research, they will be evaluated each semester on their progress towards their Qualifying Exam by the completion of a Portfolio (initially evaluated in the 3rd semester and completed by their 5th semester).  Students are required to complete a minor either as a CS internal minor or in another degree program at the UA (see coursework).  As research progresses and coursework is completed, students next identify their committee and propose their dissertation work during their Comprehensive Exam, completed by their 7th semester.  Finally, once students complete their research, they will defend their Dissertation.

Progress Through the Degree

Students should become familiar with the Graduate College Policies and CSC Graduate Program Policies and refer to them throughout the program.  Submission of Ph.D. GradPath Forms are required throughout the program starting with the first semester.

Students are evaluated for satisfactory progress every fall and spring semester. Semesters are counted from when students enter the Ph.D. program. The table below indicates when evaluations take place, along with what benchmarks are used to determine satisfactory progress.

Semester

General Benchmarks

Action if Unsatisfactory

3

3rd Semester Portfolio

GPA above 3.33 and passed or enrolled in one 695C - 3 units

Warning and recommendations; if unsatisfactory after both semesters two and three, possible dismissal from Ph.D. program

5

5th Semester Portfolio (Qualifying Exam)

GPA above 3.33, passed at least two 695Cs and enrolled in third, has doctoral advisor

Dismissed from Ph.D. program after sixth semester

7

Comprehensive Exam

All major and minor coursework satisfactorily completed, including all 695Cs

May petition the Graduate Affairs Committee for second attempt; if not approved, will be dismissed at end of current term

8 Through Completion

Progress towards dissertation

If not satisfactory by next review, dismissed from Ph.D. program at end of that semester

The table below shows what the ideal progression through the Ph.D. program looks like.  View the Ph.D. Curriculum for a more in-depth look at the required courses.

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Fall

Coursework

Graded/

In-class

 

Ungraded

 

Major

Major

 

695C

 

Major

Major

 

695C

 

 

 

 

Major*

Minor*

 

 

 

 

900***

 

 

 

 

920

Milestones

 

3rd Semester Portfolio

5th

Semester

Portfolio

Comp Exam

 

Spring

Coursework

Graded/

In-class

 

Ungraded

 

Major

Major

 

695C

 

Major

Minor

 

695C

 

 

 

 

Minor*

Minor**

 

 

 

 

920

 

 

 

 

920

Milestones

       

Dissertation Defense

Note: The timeline can be shifted earlier; shifting later requires approval of faculty.

*Students may elect to replace one elective course in the major and up to two courses in the internal minor with independent studies (CSC 599/699).

**4th minor course only required if minor requires four courses.

*** Students cannot register for 920 until they pass their comp exam.