Full Regulations for Graduate Study
This degree requires at least 72 credits of formal coursework, independent study, directed study, and dissertation research. A student interested in earning the PhD must be admitted directly into that program.
Following are the specific degree requirements:
Four courses, one from each of the following foundation areas: Architecture and Compilers (CS2410 or CS2210), Operating Systems and Networks (CS2510 or CS2520), Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems (CS2710 or CS2550), and Theory and Algorithms (CS2110 or CS2150).
Six additional graduate courses (see Section 3.2 of the Full Regulations for other constraints).
Education Experience RequirementStudents are required to have teaching experience of at least one semester in the Department of Computer Science. They must either give the lectures or lead a recitation for the entire semester, and they must receive an evaluation of satisfactory from the GREAT committee.
Each student must pass at least 4 courses at the 2000 level with a grade of A- or higher. Students are not permitted to repeat a class which they have passed (i.e., earned B or better) in order to improve the grade (i.e., to A or A-).
At least 2 of the 4 courses counted for the preliminary examination must also be a required foundation area course. Furthermore, the 2 foundation courses must represent 2 of the 4 different foundation areas.
Note that courses in the range CS20xx (e.g., CS2045), CS29xx (e.g., CS2900) and CS3xxx (e.g., CS3900) do not count for the preliminary examination.
Students are required to complete the preliminary examinations by the end of the third regular semester of study. Regular semesters include the fall and spring and do not include the summer session.
This examination is oral. It is designed to determine that a student has sufficient depth of knowledge in a specialized area of computer science to undertake dissertation research on a topic within that area.
A student must pass this exam within three calendar years of passing the last one of the preliminary exams. Normally, the comprehensive exam should be completed within one to two years of completing the preliminary exams.
After passing the PhD comprehensive examination, the student prepares a proposal for dissertation research. This must be done under the direction of a faculty advisor. Also, a faculty committee must be selected. Presentation of the dissertation proposal and an examination on the research topic and methods provide opportunities for substantive feedback from the student's committee.
Research and oral defense
After obtaining approval of the dissertation proposal from the faculty committee, a student gains the official status of a PhD candidate. Now the proposed research must be carried out. Upon its completion and subject to agreement from faculty advisor and committee, the candidate schedules an open meeting at which the research results are presented and defended.
The student must:
- Take only 2000- or 3000-level, including at least 2 courses at the 3000-level. With the exception of the required CS 2001 and CS 2002 courses, any other course in the range 20xx (e.g., CS2045) do not count toward the 12 course requirement. Courses should be Pitt CS courses (see Regulations Section 5.6 for information about petitioning to transfer coursework outside the department)
- Take all 12 (core and elective) courses for a letter grade;
- Complete the four required foundation area courses by end of the fourth regular semester of study. Regular semesters include the fall and spring and do not include the summer session;
- Earn a B or better in each of the required foundation area courses (B- does not qualify as a B or better);
- Receive a grade of B- or better in all other courses;
- Maintain an overall average of B or better.
Other requirements and procedures are detailed in the Full Regulations for Graduate Study.