Doctoral Program

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The doctoral program in Computer Science at IUPUI was approved in June 2016. The goal of the program is to prepare students for a career in research in computer science, whether in academic or industry. The program is based on a combination of coursework, research and seminar courses.

Applicants to the program must have a four-year bachelor's or equivalent degree. We place great weight on the quality of the institution. The applicant must have adequate computer science background, as determined by the admissions committee.

Program Curriculum

Research Orientation Requirement

Students in their first year must take a 1-credit Pass/Fail seminar course (CSCI C591) and as part of this course they must also complete the "Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research" course online and provide the certificate of completion.

Core course requirement

Students must satisfy this requirement by the end of their fourth semester by passing one theory core course, one systems core course, and one course in an "area of specialization" with an average GPA of at least 3.5. A core course that does not meet the grade and GPA requirements can be taken at most a second time. Taking another course (in the same core area or in the same specialization area, or taking a course in another specialization area) would count as the second attempt. The second attempt at satisfying the core course qualifications will be considered a probationary period for the student to remedy the shortcoming. Students must declare the core courses and specialization course ahead of time, with the approval of their advisory committee, by submitting a declaration form to the graduate program coordinator. Students who have not satisfied their core course requirements by the end of their fourth semester according to the conditions described above cannot proceed further in their Ph.D. studies. They will need to contact their advisor and their advisory committee. Students will receive a letter of probation during their 2nd attempt at completing a core course. Students will be informed that they can be dismissed if they fail to be removed from probation.

The core courses and areas of specialization are defined as follows:

  • Theory core courses: CSCI 56500 (Programming Languages) and CSCI 58000 (Algorithm Design, Analysis, and Implementation)
  • Systems core courses: CSCI 50300 (Operating Systems) and CSCI 50400 (Concepts in Computer Organization)
  • Area Specialization courses
    • Visualization, Image Processing and Machine Vision area: CSCI 55000 (Computer Graphics), CSCI 55200 (Advanced Graphics and Visualization), CSCI 55700 (Image Processing/Computer Vision), CSCI 59000 (Multimedia)
    • Data Communication and Networking area: CSCI 53600 (Data Communication & Computer Networks), CSCI 59000 (Wireless Sensor Networks)
    • Distributed Computing area: CSCI 53700 (Introduction to Distributed Systems), CSCI 59000 (Adv. Mobility & Cloud Computing)
    • AI, Machine Learning and Data Analysis area: CSCI 54900 (Intelligent Systems), CSCI 57300 (Data Mining), 59000 (Machine Learning)
    • Databases area: CSCI 54100 (Database Systems)
    • Software Engineering area: CSCI 50600 (Management of the Software Development Process), CSCI 50700 (Object-Oriented Design and Programming), CSCI 59000 (Software Quality Assurance)
    • Security area: CSCI 55500 (Cryptography), CSCI 59000 (Trustworthy Computing)

Plan of study

  • The advisory committee consists of the student's Advisor plus 2 or more other faculty. Students must form their advisory committee by the end of their first year.
  • Overall course requirement: at least 9 graduate level courses (including the two core and one specialization course) with a GPA >= 3.3. Other courses msut be 500 or 600 level courses.
    • A student receiving a grade lower than a B- in a course on the plan of study will have to repeat or replace the course. If a course is repeated, only the most recent grade, even if lower, is used to compute the current GPA.
  • Policy for transferring courses from M.S. degree:
    • M.S. courses taken in IUPUI CS Department as part of CS M.S. degree count toward Ph.D. course requirement, up to 30 credits.
    • For students with graduate courses from another institution, faculty will consider approving transfer of up to 30 credits of graduate level courses from other institutions upon petition by the student. The faculty will require a copy of the syllabus for each course considered for transfer and decision will be made on a case-by-case basis. Final approval of the course transfers will be made by the IUPUI Graduate Office. Courses on the plan of study cannot have been used to satisfy requirements for an undergraduate degree, nor can they cause the student's doctoral plan of study to include courses from more than one master's program.

Preliminary exam

  • Students must pass a preliminary examination that tests competence in the student's research area and readiness for research on a specific problem. The content of the examination is at the discretion of the examining committee. Typically, the examination includes a proposal of thesis research, the student's preliminary research results, an oral presentation by the student on his/her thesis proposal, and any other relevant material if requested by the examining committee. The form and content of the examination will be determined by the examination committee and will be communicated to the student by the committee chair, which is normally the student's Advisor.
  • The examining committee consists of the student's Advisory Committee, plus an additional member who is not on the Advisory Committee, determined by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • The examination must be taken at least two semesters before the final examination of the thesis. It is advised, however, that the student take the preliminary exam by the end of the third semester following the one in which the student completes the qualifying process.

Thesis and Final exam/Defense

  • The thesis must present new results worthy of publication.
  • The student must defend the thesis publicly and to the satisfaction of the Examining Committee.
  • The Examining Committee consists of the Advisory Committee and one additional faculty member representing an area outside that of the thesis, assigned by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • Students can only defend their thesis after at least two semesters following the completion of the preliminary exam. The thesis defense should be completed by the end of the fourth semester following the one in which the student passes the preliminary examination. The Graduate Committee may grant extensions.

Annual Reviews

Each doctoral student's academic and research progress is evaluated annually by their Advisory Committee. Students receive written feedback and guidance to support their progress.

Changes in Requirements

The Ph.D. requirements described above apply to all students entering or re-entering the Department of Computer and Information Science at IUPUI ("the Department") as degree-seeking Ph.D. students in the Spring Session of 2017 or later. Existing students are subject to the requirements in effect when they entered the Department as degree-seeking students. The archive of the requirements of the Department of Computer Science at Purdue West Lafayette, to which existing Ph.D. students are subject (unless they opt to switch to the Indianapolis program), can be found at the following links: 2016 (current requirements), 2013, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2002 and 2001.

Students are governed by the degree requirements in effect when they enter the Department as degree-seeking students. For students re-entering, the date of the most recent re-entry determines the degree requirements. Students who wish to take advantage of subsequent changes in the program requirements may apply to the Graduate Committee to be governed by all degree requirements in effect at a specified subsequent time. Choosing features from different sets of requirements is not permitted.

Students admitted prior to Spring 2017 have the option of declaring their intent to follow the Computer Science Program plan from either PUWL or IUPUI.


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If you have any questions regarding the Computer & Information Science  Graduate Program please contact admissions@cs.iupui.edu.