Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Computer Science
Overview of Degree
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science at The
University of Georgia is an advanced, intensive program offered
by the Computer Science Department and designed to take students to
the frontiers of knowledge in one of a number of key areas of Computer
Science. The Ph.D. in Computer Science combines theory and practice
in complementary, yet flexible, ways. The program has been designed
to prepare students for careers in research (at universities,
or government or industrial research laboratories), teaching (at
colleges or universities), or advanced development (at hardware
and software companies).
The Department presently has active research groups
in the following areas:
- Theory (combinatorics, algorithms and
theory of computing).
- Distributed Information Systems (database
systems, information systems, software engineering, distributed systems,
and the Web),
- Image Processing and Vision (high and
low level image processing, computer vision, and graphics),
- Parallel Processing (advanced algorithms
and architectures, operating system support, and programming languages
- Computational Science (numerical, algorithmic
and heuristic approaches to problem solving for the sciences, and advanced
presentation and visualization techniques),
- Artificial Intelligence (knowledge based
systems, expert systems, logic and logic programming, natural language
processing, robotics, genetic algorithms, simulated annealing, and neural
- Computer Architecture (advanced computer
architectures, VLSI and CAD),
- Compilers (link-time optimization, run-time
- Modeling and Simulation (analytic modeling,
simulation, animation, and virtual reality).
Prospective students are advised to consult The University of Georgia
Graduate Bulletin for institutional information and requirements.
In addition to the general policies set forth in the Graduate Bulletin, the
following departmental policies apply to all applicants:
- A baccalaureate degree or masters degree is required
with a major in Computer Science or a closely allied discipline. Students
with an insufficient background in Computer Science should apply for one
of the Masters level programs (MS or MAMS). Please consult the admission
requirements section of the MS degree for prerequisite undergraduate courses.
- Admission to this program is highly selective; students with a record
of academic excellence have a better chance for acceptance. Graduate
Record Examination (GRE) test scores are required for admission consideration,
ideally including the Subject
Test in Computer Science. (In any case, the Subject Test in Computer
Science must be taken before completing the PhD degree.)
- Three letters of recommendation are required, preferably
written by university professors familiar with the student's academic
work and potential. If the student has work experience, one letter
may be from his/her supervisor. Letters should be sent directly from
the letter writer or signed on the back of the envelope.
- A one-page personal statement outlining the
student's background, achievements and future goals is
Graduate School Requirements
Additional requirements are specified by the Graduate
School (application fee, general application forms, all transcripts, etc.).
Please see the University
of Georgia Bulletin for further information. Detailed admissions information
may be found at Graduate
School Admissions. Printed information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Graduate Admissions
Applications are processed on a year round basis. Students can be admitted for
either semester (Fall or Spring). Please visit the Graduate School for
application submission deadlines .
Room 534 Boyd Graduate Studies Research Center
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-7402
Summary of Basic Degree Requirements
Program of Study
The program of study consists of at least 48 semester hours of resident
graduate coursework. This includes
Typically, full-time students will take 9 to 15 hours per semester. See the CSCI
section of the University of Georgia Bulletin for course descriptions. A
program of study should be a coherent and logical whole; it requires the approval
of the student's major professor, the student's advisory committee, and the departmental
- at least 19 hours of CSCI 6000-level coursework,
- at least 16 hours of CSCI 8000-level coursework,
- at least 1 hour of CSCI 8990 Research Seminar,
- at least 6 hours of coursework in a doctoral minor,
- at least 6 hours of CSCI 9300 Doctoral Dissertation.
At least one course from each of the following four groups must be
The core curriculum consists of a total of 19 semester hours.
Students must take additional 8000-level courses
in CSCI sufficient to satisfy all necessary prerequisites and to bring the cumulative
(including the core) hours to at least 35 (at least 19 at the 6000
level and at least 16 at the 8000 level).
Exclusions and Limitations
- Courses in the Master of Internet Technology (MIT) program ( CSCI
6390) may not be listed in the program of study.
- At most 4 hours of CSCI
6950 Directed Study may be included in the program of study.
8990 Research Seminar may not be counted in the 20 hours of additional
coursework at the 8000-level.
- At most one of the 8000-level courses
may be repeated once. That course must be listed in the catalog as repeatable
and a syllabus from both offerings of the course must be submitted to the Graduate
Coordinator with the Program of Study showing a differentiation between the
All students must take 1 hour of CSCI
8990 Research Seminar, in which they must attend weekly meetings of a research
seminar and give presentations. Presently, there are two ongoing research seminars,
the Theory Seminar (CATS) and the Systems Seminar (RATS).
The department has no research skills requirement.
A doctoral student's advisory committee shall consist of at least three members
of the graduate faculty, including the student's major professor who will chair
the committee, and a minor professor, who is from the student's doctoral minor.
A fourth member of the graduate faculty may be appointed as co-major professor.
At least half of the committee must be non-adjunct members of the Computer Science
Department. Either the major professor or the co-major professor (if there is
one) must be a non-adjunct member of the Department. Both the major and co-major
professors must be regular members of the graduate faculty. A committee may have
at most one non-UGA-affiliated voting member, who must hold the terminal degree
in their field of study and certify their credentials with a letter and vita.
The maximum size of a committee is six, a majority of which must be members of
the graduate faculty.
A minor must be composed by the student's major professor and advisory committee
and approved by the graduate coordinator. A minor must consist of at least 6 hours
of graduate-level coursework from other departments. The department is particularly
interested in encouraging students to pursue minors in Computational Science,
Artificial Intelligence, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Geography, Management
Information Systems, Mathematics, Physics, or Statistics.
The student must pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination,
covering the core topics in computer science. (This exam is parallel to the one
taken by candidates for the M.S. degree in Computer Science.) Students entering
the Ph.D. program from another school will be required to take the Ph.D. qualifying
examination before being considered for advanced study. Note that students may
not take the Ph.D. written comprehensive examination unless the Ph.D. qualifying
exam has been successfully completed. Students have two attempts to pass the
The student must pass the Ph.D. comprehensive examination that covers the student's
major and minor areas of study. The examination consists of two parts: a written
part and an oral part. Students have at most two attempts to pass the written
part. The oral part may not be attempted unless the written part has been passed.
The written part may not be attempted unless the student has successfully completed
the qualifying exam. The exams are administered by the student's advisory committee.
For more information see Ph.D.
Exams: Form and Timing.
Non-departmental requirements are set forth by the Graduate School (see the Graduate
Bulletin ). They concern residence, time limits, programs of study, acceptance
of transfer credits, admission to candidacy, minimum GPA's, dissertation, and
Admission to Candidacy
The student is responsible for initiating an application for admission to candidacy
once all requirements, except the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation,
have been completed.
Dissertation Planning and Prospectus
Dissertation planning will involve exploratory research leading to the preparation
of a dissertation prospectus. CSCI
9000 Doctoral Research may be taken at this time. The prospectus must be
presented to the advisory committee for approval.
Dissertation Approval and Defense
The student's dissertation must represent originality in research, independent
thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The dissertation
must also demonstrate competent style and organization (see
for Theses and Dissertations). While working on his/her dissertation, the
student must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours of CSCI
9300 Doctoral Dissertation spread over at least 2 semesters. Students may
not register for this course until they have been admitted to candidacy. Once
the student's major professor has approved the final version of the dissertation,
it will be distributed to the other members of the advisory committee, and a
dissertation defense scheduled no sooner than three
weeks after the distribution.
All but one of the members of the advisory committee must approve the student's
dissertation and defense.