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Your research can make leading-edge contributions to every aspect of society

Researchers from all fields use computational models to analyze massive amounts of data.

Now, years of research can be completed in just months. There’s a growing need for computer scientists who can collaborate with other domains and also research ways to improve the networks, the operating systems, and the multitude of devices that are integrated into our daily lives.

Our program prepares students for a career in research and/or teaching by providing the necessary course work and collaborative environment for both supervised and independent research. Our PhD students are researching mobile apps to help improve the science of learning, building operating systems for high performance computers, addressing security and privacy from a data-oriented perspective, improving computer performance, and more.

You’ll have the opportunity to take part in the diverse faculty research collaborations with other departments and programs within the University such as the Learning Research and Development Center, the Intelligent Systems Program, the Telecommunications Program of the School of Information Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine.

A substantial level of sponsored research has been achieved thereby providing financial support for many graduate students in the form of research assistantships.


Program Structure

A total of 72 credits of formal course work, independent study, directed study, and/or dissertation research is required. All students seeking the PhD degree in Computer Science must engage in a minimum of one term of full time graduate study by the end of the term in which the comprehensive examination (see Section 3.5) is taken.

Timetable

Defense and Dissertation: Submit an approved dissertation to the A&S Dean a minimum of 8 months after passing the proposal.

Milestone Limits
Preliminary Exam Must be passed within 2 regular terms after full status admission.
Foundation Area Courses Must be passed within 4 regular terms after admission.
Comprehensive Exam Must be passed within 4 calendar years of admission.
Oral Proposal Must be passed within 5 years after full status admission.
Defense and Dissertation Submit an approved dissertation to the A&S Dean a minimum of 8 months after passing the proposal.
Statute of Limitations PhD degree must be completed within a period of ten calendar years from the student’s initial registration for graduate study (or within eight calendar years for students who enter with a master’s degree). These limits apply to all students, whether full-time or part-time.
  • Please note that each of the above milestones must be satisfied by the indicated deadline as part of maintaining good academic standing in the department.

Core Courses

The following 12 courses must be completed with an overall grade point average of “3.0” or better:

  • CS 2001: Research Topics in Computer Science, and CS 2002: Research Experiences in Computer Science. Students are required to take CS 2001 during their first fall term and CS 2002 the following spring.
  • At least one course from each of the following foundation areas.
  • Architecture and Compilers
    • CS 2410 Computer Architecture
    • CS 2210 Compiler Design
    Operating Systems and Networks
    • CS 2510 Computer Operating Systems
    • CS 2520 Wide Area Networks
    Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems
    • CS 2710 Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
    • CS 2550 Principles of Database Systems
    Theory and Algorithms
    • CS 2110 Introduction to Theory of Computation
    • CS 2150 Design and Analysis of Algorithms
    • An additional 6 graduate-level CSD courses (for a total of 12 courses). These courses must be 2100-level or higher CSD courses and cannot be independent study courses (CS2990, CS3000), graduate internship (CS2900), thesis project or research courses (CS2910, CS3900).
    • At least 2 courses must be at the 3000-level.
    • The following requirements apply to the 12 required courses:
    • All must be taken for a letter grade.
    • Students are required to complete the four required foundation area courses by the end of the fourth regular term of study. Regular terms include the fall and spring and do not include the summer session.
    • The student must receive a grade of B or better in each of the required foundation area courses, and a grade of B- or better in each of the six additional courses; in addition, he or she must maintain an overall average QPA of 3.0 or better.
    • No more than 6 of the 12 courses may be taken outside of the CSD. This includes courses that are transferred from other universities. All courses from outside the CSD must be approved by GPEC; see Section 5.6 for details.
    • All courses must be at the 2000- or 3000-level and at least 2 courses must be at the 3000-level. Courses in the range 20xx (e.g., CS2045) do not count toward the 12 course requirement.
    • All 12 courses must be successfully completed before admission to candidacy for the PhD (This normally occurs when the student passes the oral examination during the dissertation proposal.)

    CS 2003 Requirements

    • After completing CS 2001 and CS 2002, students must enroll in CS 2003 until receiving a satisfactory grade of S for 4 regular terms.
    • In order to receive a satisfactory grade of S, students must:(a) Attend at least seventy percent (70%) of Departmental Research Colloquia offered at the regularly scheduled course time over the course of the term. If there are an unexpectedly high number of Colloquia in a term (approximately more than one per week), attending only 10 Colloquia is required.GSO-sponsored colloquia occurring within the regularly scheduled course time shall be included in the count of colloquia offered for this requirement.(b) Perform at least one (1) approved Research Activity during a regular term (fall or spring) of each academic year.Options include: Presenting a GSO-sponsored colloquium for CS 2003, presenting a poster at the alumni research reception (fall) or CS Day poster competition (spring), or participating in the CS Department research competition. Other related activities may be presented to GPEC in petition for approval.This annual requirement shall be evaluated only in the spring term and shall consider the academic year beginning with the prior fall term. As such, students may receive an S in the fall term having only fulfilled requirement (a), with the expectation that requirement (b) will be fulfilled in the spring.

    List of Areas of Research

    Algorithmic problems related to green computing
    Artificial intelligence
    Big data
    Content-based image retrieval
    Computer architecture
    Computational linguistics
    Distributed multimedia systems
    High performance computing
    High-speed networks to support real-time applications
    Human computer interaction
    Local area networks
    Machine learning
    Natural language processing/computational linguistics
    Privacy
    Power management
    Resource management
    User-centric data management
    Virtualization
    Wireless networking


    Questions?

    Contact:  Keena Walker, Recruitment and Admissions

    Phone: 1-800-672-9435 or 412-624-8495

    Email: keena@cs.pitt.edu