Summary of Requirements

A summary of the Ph.D. requirements, along with the expected timeline is given in the table below:

Expected Progress in the Ph.D. Program
Semester Breadth Requirement Depth Requirement Research and Dissertation
1 Take two courses from each of category A and B Complete an independent study by the end of 4th semester (min. 3 credits) Work on completing the 12 credits for CS courses satisfying the depth requirement Student is expected to find a research area and a research advisor preferably by 2nd semester and no later than the 4th semester
5 Expected to complete breadth requirement by the end of the 6th semester    
Summary Finish 48 credits of course work, covering breadth and depth requirements (including at least 3 credits of independent study) and 21 credits of any course that can be taken for CS graduate credit. Finish 24 research credits

During the course of the Ph.D. studies, students are expected to register for 72 credits, distributed as follows:

Breadth requirement:

- Two courses from A, and two courses from B, as listed on webpage:

- The GPA across the four courses must be at least 3.5.

- The breadth requirement needs 12 credits.

- You must have finished your breadth requirement by the end of your 6th semester.

Depth requirement:

- Independent study of at least 3 credits (60X) by the end of the 4th semester.

- Two courses from our list of courses that can be used to satisfy our breadth requirement (no double-dipping with breadth requirement, i.e. a course cannot be used to count for the breadth and depth requirement): 6 credits in total.

- Six additional credits from courses that can be taken for graduate credit for computer science. This includes courses that can be used to satisfy our breadth requirement, seminars (67X), cross listed graduate courses with other departments, undergraduate courses that can be taken for graduate credit, and independent studies (60X).

- The depth requirement needs 15 credits.

- The qualifying exam is part of the depth requirement. You and your research advisor schedule the qualifying exam.

Research credit requirement:

- Research credits (70X) can be taken only after the depth requirement has been satisfied. 

- Independent studies (60X) are considered course work, and do not count as research credits.

- The research credit requirement needs 24 credits.

Dissertation committee requirement:

- By the end of your fourth year or within one year of passing the depth requirement, whichever is later, you must have formed your dissertation committee.

- The dissertation committee consists of a) the advisor of record (a full member of the CS graduate faculty), b) two other inside members (full or associate members of the CS graduate Faculty), and c) the outside member, meeting School of Graduate Studies requirements and approved by the Graduate Program Director in Computer Science.

- Once the committee has been formed and recorded, it can be changed only by the mutual agreement of the student, current committee members, proposed (replacement) committee members, and the Graduate Program Director.

Proposal requirement:

- You have to prepare a two to five page proposal document. The proposal should summarize the findings, results and planned work for the dissertation, and describe the relationships among your published and/or submitted papers.

- The proposal must be approved by your dissertation committee by the end of the 4th year in the program.

Thesis defense:

- You and your thesis/research advisor schedule your thesis defense.

- The thesis defense can only be scheduled after the breadth, depth, dissertation committee, and proposal requirements have all been satisfied.

- There in no pre-defense presentation requirement.

Graduation requirements:

- Fulfilling the breadth requirement.

- Fulfilling the depth requirement which includes passing the qualifying exam.

- Fulfilling the dissertation committee requirement.

- Fulfilling the proposal requirement.

- Successfully passing the thesis defense and providing a copy of your thesis document.

- 24 research credits.

- 48 credits of course work. These 48 credits include the 12 and 15 credits to satisfy the breadth and depth requirements, respectively. The remaining 21 credits can be covered by any course that can be taken for CS graduate credit, which includes seminars (67X), cross listed graduate courses with other departments, undergraduate courses that can be taken for graduate credit, independent studies (60X), and courses in other departments as listed on web page: If you are planning to take a course in another department, you need the permission of your advisor.

- All grades of courses a student has taken must average a B or better. Students can be separated from the program if they receive more than one F or more than 4 grades below a B. A student cannot graduate if the transcript contains more than two incomplete grades.

- You are expected to graduate within 10 semesters.

- A checklist for the PhD degree requirements from the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies can be found here:

Transfer credits:

- Transfer credits of graduate courses can be used to count towards the depth requirement but not the breadth requirement. A maximum of 12 transfer credits are allowed. There are exceptions for Rutgers (New Brunswick) MS students who joined our PhD program.

- Applications for transfer credits can be submitted anytime while enrolled in our PhD program, but transfers can only be effective after having taken 9 credits, which typically is after the first year in the program.

- Each transferred course has to match a CS course, and must have been taken within the last 6 years, with a grade of B or better.