Jul 15, 2024  
2024 2025 Academic Catalog 
2024 2025 Academic Catalog

Computer Science and Engineering, Ph.D.

Location(s): Main Campus

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Engineering Technology Building
Telephone: (203) 576-4703
Fax: (203) 576-4765

The Ph.D. degree is a certification of critical aptitude in scholarship, imagination, knowl­edge in the discipline, enterprise in research, and proficiency and style in communication. A candidate obtaining a Ph.D. degree must display a thorough understanding in the ma­jor areas of computer science and engineer­ing and must master the necessary tools and techniques so as to be able to make original contributions to the field of computer science and engineering. An equally important as­pect is that of proficiency in oral and written communication skills.

The requirements of the Ph.D. program are: successful completion of preliminary ex­aminations and courses, satisfactory perfor­mance in written comprehensive and oral examinations, admission to Ph.D. candidacy, successful completion and defense of origi­nal work documented as a dissertation, and the satisfaction of additional requirements such as teaching and seminars.

The formal degree to be offered is the Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engi­neering. This will be awarded to candidates who complete all the requirements of the Ph.D. degree described later in this section.

Admission Requirements

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program should have a master degree in computer sci­ence or computer engineering or a closely related discipline with at least a 3.5 GPA. A score of at least 150 is required in the verbal section, and 165 is required in the quantita­tive section of the GRE scores. Conditional admission to the Ph.D. program is not avail­able.

International students with a master’s degree in computer science or computer engineer­ing are also required to have a TOEFL IBT score of at least 80 or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.

Learning Outcomes

A graduate scholar from the Ph.D. program in the School of Engineering will:

1) use ad­vanced mathematical proof methodologies in computer science and engineering;

2) dem­onstrate a robust and in-depth background in hardware and software issues in computer science and computer engineering;

3) pos­sess a strong background in implementing software systems and/or hardware systems;

4) possess a strong background in designing diverse and integrated software/hardware systems solutions; and

5) critically analyze problems and thoroughly evaluate potential benefits of alternative solution in designing software and/or hardware systems.

Program Requirements

Academic Requirements:

  1. Eight (3-credit hours) courses at the 500 or 600 level, in the discipline, ex­cluding independent studies. In addi­tion, two (3-credit hours) courses at the five-hundred or six-hundred level from the Technology Management De­partment are required to satisfy the Information Technology Globaliza­tion Track requirement. Only courses with at least B grade can be counted towards satisfying the course require­ments.
  2. A two-semester teaching practice re­quirement (3 credit hours each), for which students are to register with no fees. The students will be expected to teach lower undergraduate level class­es, and/or assist professors as teaching assistants (i.e., perform a significant teaching role), thus giving Ph.D. gradu­ates experience for an academic teach­ing career.
  3. At least 15 semester hours of dissertation research, culminating in a dissertation proposal defense and dissertation defense.
  4. Comprehensive examination: written and oral (proposal defense).
  5. Publication of at least two journal pa­pers, or one journal paper and two refereed conference papers, within the course of the Ph.D. topic research. These publications are not required to be single-authored by the student and they might be co-authored with members of the dissertation committee. The journals and conferences are expected to meet quality metrics established by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Time and Load Guidelines:

Both full and part-time students are encouraged to apply for the Ph.D. degree, which should be completed within a maximum of seven calendar years. A Ph.D. student (part-time or full-time) is expected to devote the necessary time to courses and research to make satisfactory progress toward the degree. Satisfactory progress includes active participation in the research and teaching environment of the School of Engineering. The student advisor and dissertation committee should advise the student as to her/his progress in the program. Full-time students are required to register for at least 9 credit hours each semester while part-time students are required to register for at least 6 credit hours per academic year (spring and fall semesters).

Course Work:

A Ph.D. candidate must complete at least 30 credit hours of course work, not including the dissertation, beyond the MSc. degree. Upper level undergraduate remedial courses cannot be used to fulfill the course work requirement.

Course Grade Point Average:

A Ph.D. student is expected to maintain a G.P.A. of 3.0 or more. If the G.P.A. falls below 3.0, the student is automatically placed on probation. Continued proba­tionary status for two semesters may lead to dismissal of the candidate from the program. No grade less than B is acceptable towards the course work requirement.

Seminar Requirement:

A Ph.D. student is expected to present her/his research findings in public semi­nars. S/he is also expected to interact and participate in professional discussions and meetings such as conferences and workshops. To fulfill these requirements, a Ph.D. student is expected to present one seminar before the dissertation defense. The seminar of his/her research topic for the dissertation serves as the oral (proposal defense) part of the comprehen­sive exam. The Ph.D. Director awards a Pass/Fail grade after consultation with the Ph.D. director student’s dissertation advi­sor. The student is required to register for one seminar course.

Core Courses:

Ph.D. candidates are required to finish a set of 4 courses out of a list of 7 core courses. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering publishes a list of core courses every two years. The list is available through the Ph.D. Program Director. For the academic year, 2017 - 2018, the list of core courses include:

Comprehensive Examination:

One of the major checkpoints in the Ph.D. program that assesses the breadth and depth of the student is the written and oral (proposal defense) comprehensive examination. Passing the Written Comprehensive Examination is granted when the student achieves at least a 3.5 GPA in the 4 core courses with at least B grade in each course.

The seminar requirement represents the oral (proposal defense) section of the exam. The outcome of this examination will be of fail or pass. A student can re-take this examination no more than once. A student who does not pass the comprehensive examination in two attempts will be dismissed from the program.

Dissertation Committee:

After selecting a dissertation advisor, the student is required to define a problem of merit, carry out a literature search and prepare a course of action to solve the selected problem. The candidate is expected to produce a dissertation proposal. The dissertation advisor in consultation with the Ph.D. program Director, recom­mends a dissertation committee for the student. The dissertation committee includes at least three members in addition to the dissertation advisor. At least four members of the dissertation committee must be from a professorial rank within the school. Additionally, an external examiner is appointed as well. It is expected that the dissertation Supervisor and at least 50% of the committee membership has to be from professorial ranks of the Computer Science and Engineering Department. The external examiner is one whom has been distinguished in the field of computer science and engineering. S/ he might not hold a professorial rank. Ph.D. Program Director and the Dean of the School of Engineering must then approve the dissertation committee.

Admission to Candidacy:

When a student passes the written com­prehensive examination, s/he will be ad­mitted to Ph.D. candidacy. This serves as another significant milestone in progress towards the Ph.D. degree.

Residency Requirement:

The Ph.D. program is an on-campus program that has a two years residency requirement. Residency can be demonstrated by taking on-campus classes, satisfying the teaching requirement, and attending seminars and meetings in the School of Engineering.


The student is expected to work on the accepted topic and come up with original results. S/he has to report the results in the form of a Ph.D. dissertation. The student is encouraged to document the in­termediate results in the form of technical reports. S/he is also encouraged to publish these results as they are discovered, in the international professional literature, i.e., refereed conference proceedings and journals. Proof of good work is the acceptance of the results by reputed journals. Intermediate results can also be discussed in departmental seminars. The completed dissertation must be distributed to the dissertation committee members at least two weeks before the dissertation defense. The committee will read it and certify that the dissertation is a work of substantial merit and that it can be defended. It is the responsibility of the student that the final draft of the dissertation addresses all legitimate concerns of the committee members.

Dissertation Defense Examination:

After having secured approval from the dissertation committee members regarding the worthiness of the dissertation, a student will proceed with a request for the dissertation defense examination. The chairman of the dissertation committee will chair the examination. The student will schedule a convenient time for a public defense. It is the responsibility of the student to find a time that is suitable to all the members of the dissertation committee, at least two weeks before the defense. At the end of the defense, the decision of the dissertation committee will be pass or fail. It is the responsibility of the dissertation advisor to see that the comments and the criticism of the audience are addressed adequately in the final version of the dissertation. Based on the recommendation of the dissertation committee, the Ph.D. Director, and the Departmental Chairman, the Dean of the School of Engineering will recommend the Ph.D. degree subject to the satisfaction of all other formal requirements.

Concentration Areas

The following is a list of Research / Concen­tration Areas under the Ph.D. Program.

  1. Computer architecture and VLSI and FPGA
  2. Design, modeling, and simulation of embedded and integrated systems and device applications
  3. Electromechanical systems prototyping and optimization
  4. Robotics, automation, machine perception and sensing
  5. Software engineering, Web development, and computational sciences
  6. Systems and computer security and biometrics
  7. Mobile communications, clould computing, Internet of Things and networking.

Summary of Milestones

A summary of steps, not necessarily ordered, through which a student will proceed is as follows:

  1. Admission to the Ph.D. program in computer science and engineering.
  2. Completing prerequisites.
  3. Completing the course work requirement for the Ph.D.
  4. Passing the requirements written comprehensive examination.
  5. Admission to ‘Candidacy.’
  6. Selection of a dissertation advisor.
  7. Writing a dissertation proposal.
  8. Completion of the seminar requirement and working on the proposed research topic.
  9. Formation of the dissertation committee.
  10. Approval of the dissertation by the dissertation committee.
  11. Successful completion of the dissertation defense.
  12. Submission of the dissertation to the School of Engineering.
  13. Graduation with a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

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