PhD Advising


PhD Requirements


Below is a brief overview of the doctor of philosophy degree requirements within the Department of Computer Science. For a full explanation of requirements, please visit the Graduate School’s Doctor of Philosophy requirements page.

Coursework

  • A minimum of 60 credits of approved coursework and research (30 credits beyond a Master’s Degree) is required.

The Ph.D. student must complete an approved M.S. program in computer science, A Ph.D. credit requirement, and a graduate-level breadth requirement.

To complete the Ph.D. credit requirement a student must complete a total of 30 credits of course work and/or CS6990: Dissertation Research beyond the M.S. program requirement. These courses must be approved by the Advisory Committee on the Preliminary Program of Study form available from the Graduate School.

  • You must earn a grade of B or better in all courses

Examination

  • Pass the PhD qualifying exam
    • The PhD qualifying exam consists of the PhD Technical Qualifying Evaluation (TQE) and the PhD Research Qualifying Evaluation (RQE) 
    • Pass the PhD Technical Qualifying Evaluation (TQE)
      • Complete the graduate-level breadth requirement. If you are wishing to count non-Michigan Tech courses toward the requirement, complete the Breadth Requirement Form.
      • Pass the TQE exam consisting of one exam in Computation Theory and one in Analysis of Algorithms. To pass, you need a pass grade in one subject and a pass or marginal grade in the other subject
      • A student who receives an A in CS5311 is exempt from taking the exam in Computation Theory
      • A student who receives an A in CS5321 is exempt from taking the exam in Analysis of Algorithms
      • You are given two attempts to pass the exam in each subject
      • A student with a BS or MS in CS or a closely related field must pass the TQE exam within 1.5 years from the start of enrollment of the CS PhD program. A student without a degree in a field closely related to CS will be given 2.5 years
    • Pass the PhD Research Qualifying Exam (RQE)
      • You must have an advisor before taking this exam
      • Complete a research report
      • Make a public oral presentation of your research results
      • A student with a MS in CS or a closely related field must pass the RQE within 1.5 years from the start of enrollment of the CS PhD program. A student with a BS in CS or a closely related field must pass the RQE exam within 2 years from the start of enrollment of the CS PhD program. A student without a degree in a field closely related to CS will be given 3 years
    • Submit the Report on Qualifying Exam
  • Dissertation Research Proposal Defense:
    • This is an oral presentation of the dissertation proposal and an oral examination on the proposed research by the advisory committee.
    • The proposal defense must be passed within one year of passing the PhD qualifying exam
    • Submit the Report on Research Proposal Exam
  • Dissertation Defense:
  • Please consult the CS Graduate Handbook for additional information

Additional Requirements

PhD Procedures


Please read this general overview of tasks you will need to complete by semester:

  1. First Semester
  2. Second Semester
  3. Third Semester
    • Complete RQE if entered the PhD program with a MS in Computer Science or a related field
    • Complete TQE graduate-level breadth requirement (see the handbook (Section 2.3.1)
  4. Fourth Semester
    • Complete RQE if entered the PhD program with a BS in Computer Science or a related field
  5. Fifth Semester
    • Prepare for PhD dissertation proposal
    • Schedule Your Degree-Required Presentation.

      Degree-required presentations include RQEs, dissertation proposals, and final oral reports (PhD defenses). Announcements should be built and sent at least two weeks prior to a presentation. Include an abstract of the presentation and the time, date, and location. First, contact the College Coordinator in 221 Rekhi Hall at 906-487-1597 or email tkcogswe@mtu.edu to reserve a room. Then, create a Zoom link and Google Calendar invitation.  Send the invitation to: csgrad-presentations-l@mtu.edu. Creating and sharing detailed invitations is the responsibility of the graduate student, not College of Computing staff.

  6. Sixth Semester
    • Complete RQE if you entered the PhD program with a BS or MS in an unrelated field.
    • Schedule Your Degree-Required Presentation.

      Degree-required presentations include RQEs, dissertation proposals, and final oral reports (PhD defenses). Announcements should be built and sent at least two weeks prior to a presentation. Include an abstract of the presentation and the time, date, and location. First, contact the College Coordinator in 221 Rekhi Hall at 906-487-1597 or email tkcogswe@mtu.edu to reserve a room. Then, create a Zoom link and Google Calendar invitation.  Send the invitation to: csgrad-presentations-l@mtu.edu. Creating and sharing detailed invitations is the responsibility of the graduate student, not College of Computing staff.

    • Pass dissertation proposal defense
  7. Future Semesters 
    • Begin your dissertation/thesis/report
    • This will be the most challenging document you have ever planned, organized, and written
    • Follow the Graduate School guidelines
    • Follow department and advisor guidelines (see handbook)

PhD Qualifying Exam


The Basics

  • You must have an advisor before taking this exam.
  • Approach it seriously, prepare rigorously, and pass it on the first attempt.

Sample PhD Qualifying Exams

Codification of Procedures

  • The PhD Qualifying exam is composed of a Written exam, typically administered in the 4th week of the semester, followed by an Oral exam.
  • A student may attempt the Qualifying exam twice.
  • All students must attempt the Qualifying exam by their 3rd semester.
  • Upon passing the Written exam, the Research exam can be scheduled and must be taken in the same semester of passing the Written.
  • A failed Research exam does not require retaking of the Written portion.
  • A failed Written exam must be retaken and passed upon the next offering of the exam.
  • A failed Research exam must be retaken and passed by the end of the following semester.