Graduate College Policies

Find out more about the Graduate College Policies.

Graduate Faculty Advisor

All graduate students must have a faculty advisor at all times.

Doctoral students are assigned an advisor upon admission. See more details here.

Masters students are assigned the DGS as their faculty advisor upon admission. Should the student choose the thesis option, their thesis supervisor will become their advisor.

Time Limitation

(Doctoral StudentsAll requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must be completed within 5 years of passing the Comprehensive Exam.

(Masters StudentsAll requirements for the master's degree must be completed within 6 years to ensure currency of knowledge. Time-to-degree begins with the earliest course listed on the Plan of Study, including credits transferred from other institutions. Work more than 6 years old is not accepted toward degree requirements.

Transfer Credit 

(Doctoral studentsGraduate credit earned at other approved institutions may be counted toward the requirements of a doctoral degree, but will not be included in the calculation of the University of Arizona GPA. Non-credit based requirements such as comprehensive exams, dissertations or thesis requirements, research requirements, and professionalization requirements may not be transferred from another institution.

(Masters studentsNo more than 6 units can be transferred from other accredited institutions. Transfer of credit toward an advanced degree will not be made unless the grade earned was A or B, and unless it was awarded graduate credit at the institution where the work was completed. Grades of transfer work will not be used in computing the student's University of Arizona cumulative grade-point average.

Students in our graduate programs may wish to satisfy the core requirements with courses taken outside this department, either at UA or elsewhere. Such courses must be comparable in rigor to our courses and be within the scope of Computer Science. In addition, the theory and systems core requirements can each be met by transferring in a previous course, provided that meets both of the following criteria: (i) the content of the course is equivalent to the corresponding course offered in this department and (ii) the offering graduate program was Computer Science, or a closely-related field.

The procedure for transferring a course is for the student’s CSC advisor to offer a recommendation, with the Director of Graduate Studies making the final decision in consultation with a current instructor of the relevant course and with the Graduate Affairs Committee, unless that course has been evaluated within the previous twelve months and has not experienced significant change in that time.

Departmental process for transfer approval:

  1. The student will submit the evaluation of transfer credit form in Grad Path for the University to review and approve the transfer courses. This must be done before the end of the first year of study.

  2. When the courses are approved, the student will meet with the major advisor (doctoral students)/GPC (masters students) to identify which courses to request for applicability in the degree plan. 

  3. (Doctoral students only) Major advisor sends a proposal to the GPC, on behalf of the student, identifying the courses from another institution and which UA courses should be completed with the transfer work.

  4. The GPC will send the proposal to the Graduate Affairs Committee for review and approval.

  5. The GPC will communicate with the student (and major advisor for doctoral students) about which courses have been approved.

  6. Once Department approval is received, the student will submit a plan of study to include those courses and finalize the process.

Graduate Course Substitution Policy

There are times when a course substitution, including having a course that is not on the curriculum sheet count towards a core requirement, may be appropriate for a student’s plan of study. Students should meet with their faculty advisor to discuss the nature of the request and if the advisor approves, the advisor will send a request to the GPC for review by the DGS, who will approve or deny such substitution requests.

Progress Review Policy (doctoral students)

  • By the end of the third semester, the student must have taken at least one CSC 695C (3 units) and have earned the grade of at least P, maintained a 3.33 GPA, and submitted a portfolio deemed satisfactory by the graduate committee. If a student is unsatisfactory after both the two- and three-semester review, they can be dismissed from the PhD program.

  • By the end of the fifth semester, the student must have completed the six required core courses with a 3.5 GPA and only A’s and B’s (including transfer courses). The student also must have a minimum 3.33 Cumulative GPA and have completed at least three semesters of C SC 695C with a grade of at least P, and furthermore, must have at least one A in their UA CSC core courses. Finally, the student must have passed the fifth-semester Portfolio (Qualifying Exam). If the portfolio is deemed to fail, then the student is dismissed from the PhD program after the sixth semester.

  • By the end of the seventh semester, the student must have taken the Comprehensive Exam, which consists of submitting a written dissertation proposal and giving an oral presentation on the dissertation proposal to the student's Comprehensive Exam Committee. The student passes the exam if there are zero or one negative votes; no appeals will be considered. If the student fails the exam, the matter is forwarded to the Graduate Affairs Committee. The graduate committee may, at its discretion, give the student a second attempt. A student who fails to pass the Comprehensive Exam will be dismissed from the PhD program.

Additional Notes

  • The doctoral advisor is defined as a faculty member with a primary or joint tenure-track appointment in the Department of Computer Science who has committed to supervising a student's PhD dissertation.

  • Any Computer Science course in which a grade of C or lower is earned will not count toward satisfying core course requirements. A course with a grade of C can be used toward electives. A course with a grade of D or lower cannot be included in the plan of study. All grades are counted, however, in the cumulative GPA.