PhD Plan Instructions - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

Instructions for a Plan of Study for the Ph.D. Degree

If you are planning on receiving a MS degree from CS as well, you must submit your MS plan of study BEFORE you submit your PhD plan of study!!!

  1. Know the requirements for the doctoral degree.

  2. Read the relevant parts of the Policies and Procedures Manual for Administering Graduate Student Programs:

  3. You should submit your plan of study as "draft" promptly after qualifying. The plan of study should be approved by the end of the semester in which you successfully complete the qualifying process.

  4. Create and submit the plan:

    • The form is available through
    • If you want to transfer courses from other institutions, you would do well to initiate the process before submitting a plan as “draft”. Read the Course Transfer Instructions and submit the material to the graduate secretary in LWSN 1137.
    • Submit the plan as "final" within 2 days after you receive a message from the CS grad office asking you to do so.
    • The final plan will be routed electronically for the necessary approvals in the department and finally for the approval of the Graduate School.
    • Do not submit a new plan in lieu of revising an approved plan.
  5. After your plan has been approved by the Graduate School, you should check the plan every semester until you have completed all the requirements listed on it.

  6. On the form:
    • Department = Computer Science
    • Concentration: Leave blank unless you are in an organized interdisciplinary program such as Computational Science and Engineering, or Computational Life Sciences.
    • Research Area: Need not be specified but is appropriate.
    • Courses:

      • For the area of courses, select "Primary" for the courses in which you have passed the qualifying course examination (QCE) and nothing (leave as is) for other courses.

      • Course titles should agree with those on your grade reports and transcripts. Unacceptable are: "VT", "Topics in Computer Sciences", "Seminar on Topics in Computer Sciences", or the like, used by the registrar when the student and instructor fail to submit a title for an independent study course (or other variable-title course).

      • Do not list:

        • CS 69800
        • CS 69900
        • undergraduate courses
        • graduate courses used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements (anywhere)
        • courses used to fulfill requirements for any other doctoral degree (anywhere)
        • courses graded on an S/U or P/N basis.
      • Courses from other departments must be materially related to computer science. After you submit the plan, the Graduate Committee will decide which are acceptable in the context of the whole plan. Consult the Approved Courses List. For non-CS courses not on this list, you must submit a petition to the grad study committee through the grad office in this format:

        • Your Name:
        • Course Number:
        • Course Title:
        • Term:
        • Department:
        • Instructor:
        • Link to course description/syllabus:
        • Statement whether this course has or has not been used to satisfy the requirements of any other degree. If it has been used, also state for which degree. (Certification by the other department may be required.)
        • Statement why you wish to use the course to fulfill your degree requirements, information on the role of the course.
      • If you want to transfer courses from other institutions, you would do well to initiate the process before submitting a plan as "draft". Read the Course Transfer Instructions and submit the material to the graduate secretary in LWSN 1137.

        • On the plan, list the courses by the numbers and titles on the transcripts, not as equivalent Purdue courses (if any). If you want to use any of these courses in lieu of specific CS courses, put that in the space for comments.
        • Your grades in transferred courses must be A or B or the equivalent.
        • One quarter-hour is approximately equivalent to 2/3 semester-hour.
      • You may list courses that have been used to fulfill the requirements for a master's degree, but all such courses must come from the same master's program. In other words, do not list a course used toward master's degree X if you have listed any course used toward a master's degree other than X. These courses must be listed separately in the space for "Comments Regarding Exceptions or Requirements." It is best to first list them in the "table" and then cut and paste them into the space for "Comments Regarding Exceptions or Requirements."

      • Do not select "B or better" unless you are asked to do so.

    • Language requirements. Ignore this unless your major professor or your advisory committee requires proficiency in one or more foreign languages.

    • 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.

      • If you are in the Computational Science and Engineering, or Computational Life Sciences concentration, see the program representative about additional requirements regarding the committee.

  7. Approved plans of study can usually be changed easily even as late as a few weeks after the beginning of the term of graduation. A typical reason for changing a plan is to replace a course by a more interesting or more beneficial course. Sometimes a course must be replaced because it is not available or is scheduled in conflict with another course on the plan. Replacing a course because of a bad grade is not normally permitted.
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2018 2:43 PM

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