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Educational Objectives

The Computer Science PhD program seeks to provide students:

  • a thorough grounding in the fundamental principles and practices of computer science;
  • the ability to advance the state of the art of computer science;
  • the skills to become researchers and teachers who can excel in both the academic and professional spheres of computer science;
  • a clear understanding of the professional, ethical, and societal implications of computer science research; and
  • the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries, both within and beyond computer science.

Requirements for Admission

Students apply through the Graduate School at the University of Texas at El Paso. The applicant must meet the requirements set forth by the Graduate School. The application packet must include:

  • Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam.
  • Official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for international applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not completed a university degree at an English-speaking institution.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • Two letters of recommendation, and any other material that supports the application; for example, published papers, conference presentations, or patents.

The Graduate School will forward the application packet to the Computer Science Graduate Admissions Committee, which will assess the packet and make admission recommendations to the Graduate School. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Computer Science or a closely related discipline. Exceptional students with non-Computer Science backgrounds can be conditionally admitted to the program.

Requirements for Degree

The PhD program requires a minimum of 48 semester-credit hours of coursework beyond a bachelor’s degree and 24 semester-credit hours of research and dissertation. Coursework includes a set of core courses and general, technical, and interdisciplinary electives. If the student enters the program with a master’s degree in Computer Science, he or she will be required to take a minimum of 27 semester-credit hours of coursework. To ensure that the student is able to apply principles and techniques of computer science to software development, to clearly communicate technical ideas in writing, and to synthesize, organize, and communicate technical material to an audience, the student must meet programming, written communication, seminar, and teaching requirements. The student also must pass a Qualifying Examination and a Comprehensive Examination, and defend his or her dissertation. Students should consult the Computer Science Graduate Program Handbook or the program Web site for more detailed information about the program requirements.

Table 1 summarizes the degree requirements. The descriptions follow.

Table 1: Degree Requirements Summary
Core Courses15
General Electives12
Technical Electives15
Interdisciplinary Electives6
Doctoral Research18
Dissertation6
Competency Requirements0
Total Hours72

Core Courses (15 credit hours):

The following five (5) core courses are required:

CS 5392Graduate Research Methods3
CS 5303Logical Foundations of CS3
CS 5315Theory of Computation3
CS 5341Advanced Computer Architecture3
CS 5350Advanced Algorithms3
Total Hours15

General Electives (12 credit hours):

The purpose of the general elective requirement is to provide the student a broad foundation of computer science. Courses are categorized according to major areas and students are required to take four (4) courses that are outside their major area of study.

Technical Electives (15 hours):

The technical electives are used to provide the student depth in an area. The student must take courses in his or her specific area of study as approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Interdisciplinary Electives (6 hours):

The interdisciplinary requirement enables the student to acquire a more detailed understanding of a field related to his or her research. The student is required to take senior-level or graduate-level courses outside Computer Science.

Doctoral Research (18 hours):

The student must take 18 hours of doctoral research after passing the Qualifying Examination.

Dissertation (6 hours):

The student will be able to register for dissertation hours only after passing the Comprehensive Examination. The dissertation must demonstrate competence in scholarly exposition and the ability to do independent research. It should present original investigations at an advanced level on a significant problem in computer science and should provide the basis for a publishable contribution to the research literature in the field. The rules for the dissertation and dissertation defense will follow the guidelines set forth by the Graduate School at UTEP.

Examinations

The Qualifying Examination is designed to ensure that students have graduate-level mastery of the basic Computer Science undergraduate material. Although the only knowledge required is that learned in undergraduate courses, the examination tests the ability to synthesize, integrate, and apply that knowledge at an advanced level.

The Comprehensive Examination is given to ensure that the student has identified a research topic and has acquired a sufficient depth of knowledge in the topic area to perform new and significant research and that the proposed research is feasible. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken after completion of the Qualifying Examination, typically within two years of that time. The student will prepare a written research proposal. The Comprehensive Examination is an oral examination before the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee, covering the student's research proposal and other topics in his or her general area of study. Upon successful completion of the examination, the chair of the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee will inform the Graduate School that the student is ready to begin work on his or her final dissertation, and the student will be admitted to candidacy.

A copy of the dissertation in PDF or Word electronic format must be submitted to the Graduate School for format check prior to the scheduled defense date. The dissertation, including an abstract not to exceed 350 words, must be prepared according to the Graduate School’s thesis and dissertation guidelines available at the Graduate School Web site. The student will receive email confirmation from the Graduate School after the format has been approved. The final Graduate School-approved dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School in PDF electronic format on a CD in a hard case by the deadline as published in the Class Schedule, along with a hard copy of the signature page with original signatures of the dissertation committee members. The signature page must be included in the PDF file, but it should not be signed.

Doctoral candidates are also required to submit the Graduate School-approved dissertation at the University Microfilms International Web site for online publication, http://dissertations.umi.com/utep. Dissertations are regarded as publications and will be made public once they are approved and submitted. Online publication does not preclude subsequent publication of the dissertation, in whole or in part, as a monograph or in a journal. Copyrighting at the author’s expense can be arranged through University Microfilms International. To protect patent or any other rights, the Graduate School can be requested to delay publication for a period of one year. This request must be supported by a written recommendation of the supervising professor.

Degree Plan

Required Credits: 72

PhD in Computer Science Program (All courses require a grade of C or better)
Required Courses:
CS 5303Logical Foundations of CS3
CS 5315Theory of Computation3
CS 5341Advanced Computer Architecture3
CS 5350Advanced Algorithms3
CS 5392Graduate Research Methods3
Doctoral Research:
Select eighteen hours from the following:18
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Research
General Electives:
Select twelve additional hours of graduate CS outside your major area of study from the following:12
Computer Networks
Artificial Intelligence I
Human-Computer Interaction
Topics in Language Processing
Topics in Adv Database Systems
Parallel & Concurrent Program
Secured Web-Based Systems
Advanced Operating Systems
Interval Computations
Computer Security
Topics/Emerg.Comput Paradigms
Topics/Intelligent Computing
Ethical & Legal Issues in Tech
Software Safety & Risk Anlysis
Spec. & Desgn of Real-Time Sys
Graduate Student Internship
Software Construction
Software Reverse Engineering
Comp. Dec Making & Risk Anal
Cyber-Sec for Critical Op Tech
Software Engineering
Topics in Software Engineering
Model-Based Software Devlpmnt
Topics in Software Assurance
Software Requirements Engr
Software Architecture & Design
Software Integration and V&V
Software Project Management
Software Engineering Practicum
Special Topic Computer Science
Individual Studies
Graduate Research
Graduate Projects
Graduate Projects
Master's Thesis
Master's Thesis
Graduate Research
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Research
Logical Foundations of CS
Theory of Computation
Adv Computer Architecture
Advanced Algorithms
Special Topics
Individual Studies
Graduate Research Methods
Doctoral Research
Dissertation
Dissertation
Technical Electives:
Select fifteen additional hours of graduate CS in your specific area of study from the following:15
Computer Networks
Artificial Intelligence I
Human-Computer Interaction
Topics in Language Processing
Topics in Adv Database Systems
Parallel & Concurrent Program
Secured Web-Based Systems
Advanced Operating Systems
Interval Computations
Computer Security
Topics/Emerg.Comput Paradigms
Topics/Intelligent Computing
Ethical & Legal Issues in Tech
Software Safety & Risk Anlysis
Spec. & Desgn of Real-Time Sys
Graduate Student Internship
Software Construction
Software Reverse Engineering
Comp. Dec Making & Risk Anal
Cyber-Sec for Critical Op Tech
Software Engineering
Topics in Software Engineering
Model-Based Software Devlpmnt
Topics in Software Assurance
Software Requirements Engr
Software Architecture & Design
Software Integration and V&V
Software Project Management
Software Engineering Practicum
Special Topic Computer Science
Individual Studies
Graduate Research
Graduate Projects
Graduate Projects
Graduate Research
Doctoral Research
Doctoral Research
Logical Foundations of CS
Theory of Computation
Adv Computer Architecture
Advanced Algorithms
Special Topics
Individual Studies
Graduate Research Methods
Doctoral Research
Interdisciplinary Electives:
Select six additional hours of graduate courses outside of CS6
Dissertation:
CS 6398
CS 6399
Dissertation
and Dissertation
6
Total Hours72