Upon entering the Ph.D. program, each student will be assigned an academic advisor, and with the help of the advisor will choose a study plan (which can be brought up to date when necessary). According to university regulations, Ph.D. students are required to take 48 credits of courses and independent study, plus 24 credits of thesis research (701-702). There is considerable flexibility in the choice of a study plan. However, in choosing their courses, students should keep in mind the detailed course requirements established by the Department of Computer Science (discussed below) that they must satisfy within the set of courses they take for the Ph.D. degree. In order to be considered a full-time student by the University, a student has to take at least 9 credits per semester. A TA-ship or GA-ship counts for 6 credits towards this full time status.
Each student must have an academic advisor, who is a DCS faculty member. This need not be the same person that will become their research advisor. Generally, the research advisor must be a DCS faculty member. Note that the Graduate Faculty of Computer Science includes several individuals who have principal appointments in other departments (e.g., Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Mathematics, and Psychology). These individuals are referred to as "courtesy'' members of the Department of Computer Science. A courtesy member of the department may be chosen as a research advisor only with the approval of the Graduate Committee, if petitioned by the student and supported by the student's academic advisor. Students who are doing research with a courtesy member of the department must engage in regular discussions about that work with their academic advisor.
The Department sponsors colloquia and seminars where workers in the field are invited to present their research. Attendance at the Colloquium is strongly recommended for all Ph.D. students.
The department recommends that a student take at least one course outside the Department of Computer Science. Such a decision should be made in consultation with the student's academic advisor. Some possible courses, and relevant related departments are described in the Activities outside the Department section.