Ph.D. Course Requirements


Students select coursework in consultation with their faculty advisor; the Ph.D. planning worksheet allows students to tailor their degree to specific interests and needs.


The course requirements of the major consist of 6 core courses, 2 CSC electives (one of which can be an independent study), 4 research courses, and 1 colloquium. Students are expected to complete all the major course requirements before taking the Comprehensive Exam.


Elective units must be graduate courses in Computer Science.  One course may be an approved independent study or a non-CS course selected from the list of approved electives.

Research Projects and Colloquia

PhD students will complete twelve units of Research Project work (CSC 695C taken four times, each time for 3 units) and 1 colloquium course (CSC 695A, one unit). The colloquium course consists of attending a minimum of 10 colloquia. Registration for CSC 695A should take place in the semester when students will finish attending 10 colloquia; the GPC will enroll students.


Ph.D. students must complete a minor. Students may select an internal minor in computer science or an external minor in another department. A minor program typically consists of 9-12 units of coursework. The minor department determines minor course work and the extent to which they participate in Ph.D. examinations. The minor and course work must be approved by the student’s advisor. Minor courses must be completed before Ph.D. students take the Comprehensive Exam.

Internal Minor

Prior approval from a student's major advisor is required to select an internal minor and before beginning minor coursework. A student’s major advisor can also serve as the minor advisor, but must meet the Graduate College's requirements for committees. A student cannot count a course as part of both their major and their minor. A student must have at least one course at the University of Arizona in the minor to establish a minor GPA; the minor GPA must be 3.0 or higher. Grades of D cannot be used in the minor.

The student works with their advisor to come up with a minor plan of study. Three courses from the same track approved by the minor advisor. At most two courses can be independent studies, but at least one course must be graded/in-class and taught by a UA CS faculty member.

Students completing an internal minor will need to discuss with their advisor how the minor will factor into the comprehensive exam.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate with an Ph.D. in Computer Science, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet all Graduate College Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 12 units of regular grades taken at the University of Arizona are required to establish the Grade Point Average (GPA).

  • Earn A's and B's in all core courses, 3.5 cumulative grade point average in core courses

  • 3.33 cumulative grade point average overall in all coursework

  • Courses with a C grade can only count as an elective.  D grades do not count toward degree.  While a grade of D or E does not earn units for a grad student, they will still count in the cumulative GPA.

  • Enroll in CSC 695A (1 unit) and attend 10 department colloquia

  • Take CSC 695C (3 units) four times in first six semesters and receive at least a P grade

  • Complete and pass the 5th Semester Portfolio (Qualifying Exam) and Comprehensive Exam

  • Complete 36 units of coursework in the area of the major subject (36 units includes required 12 units of 695C) and 9-12 units in the minor subject.  A Graduate College Policy requires that at least 22 units (i.e. half the required coursework across the major and minor) must be in courses in which regular grades (A, B, C) have been earned.

  • For an internal minor, must have at least one course at the University of Arizona to establish a minor GPA; the minor GPA must be 3.0 or higher.

  • Complete 18 units of dissertation coursework

  • Successfully defend the dissertation

  • Complete at least the 64-67 units required for the degree

  • The Graduate College requires that the student submit their final dissertation for archiving

  • Verify current address via UAccess Student Center to receive diploma