Ph.D. in Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 9071 Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom Age Restriction: No
Admission Status: Graduate Location(s): Main Campus - Melbourne
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives, GRE

The doctoral program is designed to provide the highest level of academic scholarship and research in the disciplines of computer science. The goal is to produce qualified professionals for research and teaching positions in the academic world, as well as equivalent positions in industry and government.

The doctoral program in computer science is designed to attract students who have the greatest potential for expanding the frontiers of knowledge and transferring this knowledge to others. The program requires a significant breadth of understanding in the fundamentals of computer science, the mastery of several specialized subjects and the creativity to extend the body of knowledge on a particular subject through significant original research.

Admission Requirements

Each potential candidate must meet the general admission requirements and follow the process for applying presented in the Academic Overview section.

To qualify for admission to the doctoral program in computer science, a candidate must demonstrate the potential for success in this program. A student may do so by one of the following means:

  1. Successful completion of a bachelor of science degree in computer science from an accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.5.
  2. Successful completion of a master of science degree in computer science or a related field from another accredited institution, with a GPA of at least 3.5.

Also required are three letters from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and research ability recommending doctoral study. Applicants are strongly encouraged to be aware of the research interests of faculty in the department. Scores from the GRE General Test are required, and the Subject Test in Computer Science is recommended.

Degree Requirements

The degree of doctor of philosophy is conferred in recognition of both breadth of scientific competence in computer science and technical research capabilities, as demonstrated by producing an acceptable dissertation. The required work consists of advanced studies in preparation for specialized research, and completion of an original research program resulting in a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in the subject investigated. Each student must qualify for admission, complete an approved program of study, pass a comprehensive examination, complete a program of significant original research and defend a dissertation concerning the research.

Each candidate is expected to publish major portions of the dissertation in refereed conferences and journals, and is strongly encouraged to teach while pursuing the degree. General degree requirements are presented in the Academic Overview section.


The Ph.D. in computer science requires at least 72 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree, or 42 hours beyond an applicable master's degree, including at least 12 semester credit hour in formal courses numbered CSE 5600 or higher, or advanced courses in other disciplines chosen in concert with the student's academic advisor. Additional coursework must conform to graduate policy (Ph.D. Course Requirements, Ph.D. Credit Hour Requirements) and be designed to provide a foundation for computer science research. The minimum research and dissertation requirement is 18 semester credit hours or 24 hours if the student did not complete a master's thesis. All students are required to successfully complete any combination of Computer Science Seminar (CSE 5500) or Computer Sciences Internship (CSE 5501) three times and must satisfy the general doctoral degree requirements presented in the Academic Overview section.

During the first or second term, a doctoral student must prepare a program of study to be approved by the student's faculty advisor and department head. The program of study should be designed to fit the student's professional goals, the department's resources and the breadth of general computer science knowledge expected of all doctoral candidates.

Each student is required to pass comprehensive examinations that cover breadth and depth within computer science. The breadth examination is administered by computer science faculty and normally must be passed before the end of two years after admission into the doctoral program. This examination includes topics from the foundations of computer science, computer systems, computer software and applied software.

After completion of all coursework contained in the approved program of study, the student is required to pass a depth examination administered by his or her doctoral committee.

After passing the depth examination, the student prepares a dissertation proposal representing the research plan to be followed. The dissertation research is carried out under close supervision of the student's doctoral advisor and committee. After completion of the research project and with the approval of the advisor, the dissertation is submitted to the doctoral committee for critical evaluation, followed by an oral defense of the dissertation.