Each doctoral student will have a supervising committee of at least five members appointed. The primary functions of this committee are to suggest coursework, to administer the qualifying, preliminary, and final examinations, and to oversee and evaluate the research of the candidate. The committee will consist of at least three members of the computer science department faculty and at least one non-COSC faculty member. The standards that this committee should consider when recommending programs of study are outlined in the following sections.
A total of at least 72 credit hours must be completed. A minimum of 42 of these credit hours must be taken as coursework, including the CORE and BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. A minimum of 12 hours of COSC5980 - Dissertation Research must be taken. All COSC courses must be at the 5000 level. Courses from other departments, including no more than 12 hours of 4000-level courses, may be included with the approval of the supervising Ph.D. committee. All course requirements MUST be completed or enrolled with satisfactory midterm progress prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Final Examination.
UW Coursework Requirements for Ph.D. Transfer Students:
Ph.D. transfer students must complete at least 24 credit hours at the University of Wyoming. At least 12 credits of the CORE and BREADTH REQUIREMENTS must be taken at the University of Wyoming. No more than one class per category of breadth may be counted towards this 12-credit total. The algorithms course credits may be counted toward this 12-credit total.
A program of original and innovative research will be undertaken by the candidate. At the end of this program, the candidate will document this research in a dissertation. The dissertation will present the details and results of the candidate’s research in addition to providing a critical comparison with relevant previously-published works.
Each successful doctoral student must pass three examinations. These include a qualifying examination, a preliminary examination, and a final (dissertation) defense.
Qualifying Exam Criteria:
The student must complete the CORE REQUIREMENT and pass a closed oral examination on a research area administered by the supervising committee. Although closed to the public, faculty members of the Department of Computer Science are welcome to attend. The exam must be announced to the faculty at least two weeks in advance. The research area will be chosen in consultation with the committee. The student must demonstrate background knowledge of the state of the art in the area and preliminary work. This will involve, but is not limited to, presenting material and answering questions covering the relevant area knowledge. The format of the exam will be defined by the committee prior to the exam to allow for sufficient preparation. This examination is intended to motivate the candidate to review relevant literature extensively prior to pursuing the original and innovative portions of the research. Qualifying exam criteria must be completed within the first two years of enrollment in the Ph.D program. If the student does not pass the qualifying exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass. The closed oral examination requirement may be waived for a student who has completed an M.S. degree in COSC at UW if their M.S. presentation was at a research level that demonstrated background knowledge of the state of the art in the area, at the discretion of the supervising Ph.D. committee.
Preliminary Exam Criteria:
Prior to scheduling the Preliminary Examination, the student must be making satisfactory progress towards completion of their course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. A Preliminary Examination will consist of a presentation and defense of the alreadycompleted portion of the dissertation research and the research that is proposed to complete the dissertation. The Preliminary Examination must be open and announced at least two weeks in advance. The preliminary examination must be completed within two years of enrollment in the Ph.D program (within three years of enrollment for students who do not have an M.S. degree). This examination is intended to motivate the candidate to make significant progress on work towards their Ph.D. dissertation and propose milestones for completion. If the nature of the proposed continued research and methodology is deemed to be sufficiently original and innovative by the supervising committee, then the committee will approve the research direction after having administered this examination. If the student does not pass the preliminary exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass.
Option for M.S. degree en route to Ph.D.:
After completing the Qualifying Exam and Preliminary Exam, a Ph.D. student may additionally earn an M.S. degree after completing the remaining M.S. course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS. COSC 5980 may be substituted for COSC 5960 in the M.S. requirements at the discretion of the supervising committee. The M.S. degree will be granted only after completion of the preliminary exam. For an M.S. degree to be granted prior to completion of the preliminary exam, the student should enroll in the M.S. degree program and complete the remaining M.S. requirements.
Final Exam Criteria:
Prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Final Examination (often referred to as a “defense”), all course requirements, including the BREADTH REQUIREMENTS, MUST be completed or enrolled with satisfactory midterm progress. The Final Examination (dissertation defense) will consist of an oral presentation by the candidate of his/her research and the results that were derived. At this examination, the candidate is expected to defend the research as being original and contributory to the discipline of computer science. The Final Examination must be open and announced at least two weeks in advance. The dissertation must be distributed to the supervising committee at least two weeks in advance of the Final Examination. If the student does not pass the final exam, the committee will instruct the student as to what needs to be accomplished (and by when) to pass.
Time to degree for part-time students:
Exceptions to the completion deadlines for the Qualifying Exam and Preliminary Exam may be made for part-time students at the discretion of the supervising committee.
Computer Science Core Requirements
COSC5110 - Analysis Of Algorithms must be completed with a grade of B or better. A grade of B- is not sufficient. Students are strongly encouraged to take COSC 5110 the first time it is offered after enrollment.
Computer Science Breadth Requirements
Students must earn a grade of B or better in one class from the Theory category, one class from the Artificial Intelligence category, and two classes from the Systems category. A grade of B- is not sufficient. Thus there must be 12 credits taken to satisfy the breadth requirement. A list of courses in each category is available from the Department. Although some courses may be listed under multiple categories, a course may only count once towards the breadth requirement.