2002 Doctoral Requirements - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

2002 Doctoral Requirements

Successful completion of the doctoral program requires:

Areas and Courses Table

Artificial Intelligence CS 572  
Databases CS 541, 542 641
Algorithms and Complexity CS 580, 584  
Geometric Modeling, Visualization, and Graphics CS 530, 531, 535*, 586  
Numerical Computing CS 514, 515, 520, 614, 615
Parallel and Distributed Computing CS 525, 603
Security CS 526, 555 626, 655
Simulation and Modeling CS 543, 544  
Software Engineering CS 510  
Systems I (Compilers and Programming Languages) CS 502, 565 661
Systems II (Networks and Operating Systems) CS 503, 536 636, 638

This table is the same as that used for the regular master's program except that Algorithms and Complexity are in one area here.
* when taught by a professor whose primary appointment is in Computer Sciences

The table of areas and courses is revised periodically. The removal of a course from the table will not alter the fulfillment of requirements already fulfilled by that course.

Qualifying Process

To qualify for the doctoral program, students must satisfy course and GPA requirements and pass the qualifying examination, which consists of two parts taken in sequence. Part 1 tests for breadth of knowledge in computer science and the ability to use that knowledge. Part 2 tests for the knowledge and ability to begin research.

Qualifying Course and Grade Requirements

Students, except as stated under Exceptions, must complete four of the 500-level courses (12 credits) listed in the Areas and Courses Table with grades of A or B. The choice of these four courses depends upon the interest of the student but is restricted by the availability of the courses and must include:

  • one course from Algorithms and Complexity
  • one course from Systems I (Compilers and Programming Languages)
  • one course from Systems II (Networks and Operating Systems)
  • one course from one of the other areas.

Courses may be repeated. The last grade, even if lower, is used to compute all GPAs involving the course. Students must complete the course requirement by the end of their third semester.


Students who have taken similar graduate courses outside the department may apply to the graduate committee for permission to take the Qualifying Course Examinations without taking the courses. In such cases, the GPA for the qualifying courses is computed on the basis of only the qualifying courses taken in the department. If there be none, the GPA requirement will not be applied.

Qualifying Examination, Part 1

The Qualifying Examination, Part 1 consists of a written or oral Qualifying Course Examination (QCE) in each of the four courses chosen to satisfy the qualifying course requirements. Students must pass all four examinations. There is no prohibition against taking more than four QCEs. The QCE need not be taken in the same semester as the course.

QCEs are given at the end of each course. Students who wish to take a QCE must make their intentions known to the graduate secretary by the end of the 12th week of the semester. The examining committee for each QCE is appointed by the chair of the graduate committee. The instructor of the course is normally a member.

QCEs may be repeated only with the permission of the graduate committee. Students must pass part 1 by the end of their third semester.

Qualifying Examination, Part 2

The student must pass an oral examination in one of the areas in the Areas and Courses Table. Prior to scheduling the examination, the student must indicate an area of research and select a thesis advisor.

The examining committee consists of three faculty members, none of whom is the student's advisor, appointed by the graduate committee in consultation with the student's advisor. The student must arrange with the examining committee members the date, time, and place of the examination and secure the approval of the assistant to the head (acting for the head) to schedule the examination.

The oral examination may be repeated once. Additional repetitions must be approved by the graduate committee, and will be granted only in special cases. The oral examination must be taken after the student has passed part 1 of the qualifying process and should be completed by the end of the fourth semester. The graduate committee reserves the right to appoint a committee and set an examination date for any student who has not completed the qualifying examination by that time.

Advisory Committee

By the end of the semester in which the student completes the qualifying process, the student must form an advisory committee consisting of the proposed supervisor of the student's research, as chair, plus two or more other faculty members, agreed upon by the student and the chair, that are willing to serve. Qualified faculty from other departments may serve on the committee but may not form a majority of it.  A proposed research supervisor not a faculty member in the CS department may be approved as a co-chair along with a co-chair in CS.  Committee members from outside Purdue may be approved but must be in addition to the members required.  The committee is listed on the plan of study form and becomes official upon final approval of the form.

Plan of Study

The plan of study must be approved by the advisory committee and the graduate committee, and must be filed by the end of the semester in which the student completes the qualifying process.

The plan of study must include seven courses (21 credits) from the Areas and Courses Table (including all those taken in the department to qualify) from at least five areas in the Areas and Courses Table. No grade lower than B is acceptable, and the GPA in the seven courses must be at least 3.5. The seven courses must be completed by the end of the fourth semester in the doctoral program.

In addition to the above mentioned seven courses, the plan of study must include at least five more 500- or 600-level courses (15 credits), other than independent study courses, approved by the student's advisory committee and the graduate committee and relevant to the student's research. These courses need not be taken in the department or even at Purdue, but they 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. The grades in these five courses must be A or B, except for at most six credits of C. The grades in courses taken at other institutions must be A or B or the equivalent.

Instructions for Filing a Plan of Study (PDF)

Instructions for Transfer of Courses (PDF)

Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination tests the student's competence in a research area and readiness for research on some specific problem. The content of the examination is at the discretion of the examining committee. The examination may consist, for example, of a presentation by the student of papers relevant to a research topic agreed upon by the student and the committee; or it may consist of a proposal for thesis research; or it may involve an oral examination over the material in appropriate courses beyond the qualifying level.

The examining committee normally consists of the student's advisory committee and an additional member chosen by the graduate committee. The preliminary examination is to be taken by the end of the third semester following the one in which the student completes the qualifying process and at least two semesters before the examination on the thesis.

Prelim Procedure Instructions (PDF)


The thesis must present new results worthy of publication. The student must defend the thesis publicly and to the satisfaction of the examining committee, which normally consists of the student's advisory committee and one additional faculty member representing an area outside that of the thesis.

The thesis 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.

Policies and Procedures Manual

All graduate programs at Purdue are governed by the Policies and Procedures Manual for Administering Graduate Student Programs published by the Graduate School.


Graduation Deadline Calendar

Changes in Requirements

The Ph.D. requirements as described above apply to all students entering or reentering the Department of Computer Sciences at West Lafayette ("the Department") as degree-seeking graduate students in the summer session of 2002 or later. 2001 Doctoral Program Requirements

Students are governed by the degree requirements in effect when they enter the Department as degree-seeking students. Students who wish to take advantage of subsequent changes 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.

For students re-entering, the date of the most recent re-entry determines the degree requirements.

The above requirements for the doctoral program may change without notice.

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2017 2:40 PM

Department of Computer Science, 305 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765) 494-6010 • Fax: (765) 494-0739

Copyright © 2023 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact the College of Science.