Programs by Campus


Computer Science

School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering

Computer Science

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(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degrees Offered

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is offered through the University Graduate School. For details on the Master of Science degrees, see the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering Bulletin,

Doctor of Philosophy

Special Program Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

Admission is by approval of the program’s graduate admission committee. Applicant’s educational background does not require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, informatics, or a related field. It is expected that applicants have successfully completed coursework in data structures, machine organization, assembly languages, and discrete structures. Applicants will be evaluated on their previous graduate and undergraduate academic performance, scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours of graduate-level course work is required. These courses are defined as any course listed in this bulletin that carries graduate credit.

Computer Science Course Requirements

Ph.D. candidates must take at least 24 credit hours of courses in computer science at or above the 500 level except for the A500-A599 courses. Six courses, from the list below, must be completed each with a minimum grade of B. At least one course must be taken from each of the areas of Foundations of Computing and of Computer systems, and one from either Programming Languages or Intelligent Systems:

  1. Foundations of computing: Theory of Computing (B501), Computational Complexity (B502), or Algorithms Design and Analysis (B503).
  2. Computer systems: Distributed Systems (B534), Advanced Operating Systems (P536), or Computer Networks (P538).
  3. Programming languages: Programming Language Principles (B521), Programming Language Foundations (B522), or Programming Language Implementation (P523).
  4. Intelligent systems: Elements of Artificial Intelligence (B551), Machine Learning (B555), Advanced Database Concepts (B561), or Data Mining (B565).

A grade average of B (3.0) is required for the 24 credit hours of required computer science courses. This is in addition to the University Graduate School's requirement of a B (3.0) average for all courses taken.

Minor Area Requirement

The Ph.D. requires a minor unless the student is a dual major with another department. There are three options to satisfy the minor requirement:

  1. An external minor awarded by another Indiana University department or graduate program that is approved by the Com­puter Science Program.
  2. An internal minor: at least 9 computer science credits, in courses other than reading and research, and in an area other than the student’s specialization. The area and the courses must be approved by the student’s advisory committee. 
  3. An individualized interdisciplinary minor:  at least 12 credits spanning at least two Indiana University departments/degree programs, to be recommended by the student’s advisory committee and approved by the Computer Science Program in advance of any course work.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is given by the first semester of the student’s third year in the program. This examination is administered by the advisory committee and is expected to have a written and an oral component. A student must have completed the 24 credit hours of courses in computer science as specified in the Computer Science Course Requirements before taking the qualifying exam. If failed, the exam may be retaken once, by the end of the third year. Students who fail the second exam will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal is submitted and defended after the University Graduate School approves the Nomination of Research Committee. It consists of an oral presentation covering a submitted written research plan for the dissertation. This examination is given by the research committee.

Dissertation Defense

A written elaboration of significant original research must be successfully presented to the student’s research committee in a public oral defense as described in this bulletin.

Ph.D. Minor in Computer Science

Doctoral students in other departments may complete a minor in computer science by satisfying one of the following options:

  1. Three computer science courses totaling not fewer than 9 credit hours at the 500 level or above. A500-level courses and 400-level courses are excluded with these exceptions: A595 (B401), B403, P423, P436, P438, B441, P442, and B443 are ap­proved for graduate credit toward the Ph.D. minor.
  2. A593, A594, and any two courses totaling 6 credit hours or more from the list: A595, A596, plus the computer science courses meeting the requirements of the first option.


Academic Bulletins

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