Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Credit hour requirements: 40 credit hours if entering with a Master of Science in Computer Science; 49 credit hours if entering with a master of science not in computer science; 72 credit hours if entering with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

The doctoral program is designed for those students who have an interest in pursuing an academic or industrial research career. To be awarded a Ph.D. in Computer Science, a student must demonstrate mastery in several areas of computer science and must make a significant original contribution to research in the field of computer science. On entry into the program, a student is required to take coursework in a number of areas and pass written and oral qualifying exams. Next, the student must formulate a thesis research problem and present it and the proposed research to a committee of faculty at a comprehensive exam. Upon passing this examination, the student must carry out the research and write and defend a thesis, among other requirements.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is competitive and applicants must have high grade point averages, GRE scores, and (if required) TOEFL scores. Students who enter the program after completing a master's degree (not necessarily in computer science) normally require three to four years of full-time work to complete the Ph.D. Part-time students require more time. Students may also enter the program directly after completing only a bachelor's degree in computer science. The direct program enables bright, highly-motivated students to participate in departmental research programs immediately after their bachelor's degree. Students in the direct program take extra coursework and normally require an additional year to complete the Ph.D. compared to students in the post-master's program.

Overview

To receive a Ph.D., students must meet coursework requirements and pass qualifying exams, a comprehensive exam, and a thesis defense.

Curriculum

Students in the Ph.D. program have course requirements that depend on whether they enter the program with a Master of Science in Computer Science, a master of science not in computer science, or with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Students With a Master of Science in Computer Science

Minimum Total Credits Required 72
Maximum Transfer Credit 32
Maximum 400-Level Credit 12
500- and 600-Level Course Credit Required 15-30
Required Courses (10)
Select a minimum of three courses from three different core course groups as listed below.9
CS 695Doctoral Seminar1
Readings and Special Problems Courses (0-12)
CS 597Reading and Special Problems 10-12
General Electives (0-6)
Select zero to six credit hours0-6
Ph.D. Research (24-36)
CS 691Research and Thesis Ph.D.24-36
Transfer Credit (32)
A maximum of 32 credit hours of masters transfer credit is allowed.32

Students With a Master of Science Not In Computer Science

Minimum Total Credits Required 72
Maximum Transfer Credit 23
Maximum 400-Level Credit 12
500- and 600-Level Computer Science Course Credit Required 24-30
Required Courses (16)
Select a minimum of one course from each of the following groups: Theory of Computation, Systems, and Programming Languages9
Select a minimum of two courses from two of the following groups: Networks and Security, Databases, Software Engineering, or Computational Intelligence6
CS 695Doctoral Seminar1
Readings and Special Problems Courses (0-12)
CS 597Reading and Special Problems 10-12
General Electives (0-9)
Select zero to nine credit hours0-9
Ph.D. Research (24-36)
CS 691Research and Thesis Ph.D. 124-36
Transfer Credit (23)
A maximum of 23 hours of masters transfer credit is allowed.23

Students With a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Minimum Credits Required 72
Maximum 400-Level Credit 12
500-Level Computer Science Course Credit Required 36-54
Required Courses (16)
Select a minimum of one course from each of the following groups: Theory of Computation, Systems, and Programming Languages9
Select a minimum of two courses from two of the following groups: Networks and Security, Databases, Software Engineering, or Computational Intelligence6
CS 695Doctoral Seminar1
Readings and Special Problems Courses (6-12)
CS 597Reading and Special Problems6-12
General Electives (8-26)
Select 8-26 credit hours8-26
Ph.D. Research (24-36)
CS 691Research and Thesis Ph.D.24-36
1

At least three credits of CS 597 or CS 691 are required in the first year.

Notes

  • To be used to satisfy requirements, courses must be passed with a grade of "B" or better. CS 401, CS 402, CS 403, CSP, and accelerated courses cannot be used.​ With department approval, courses may be replaced by more advanced courses.
  • The 500- and 600-level electives can include credits from CS 595. They cannot include credits from CS 597CS 691, or CS 695. With department approval, up to six credit hours may come from outside the CS department.
  • A student's adviser may require other courses to be taken.

Core Courses

There are six core course areas. To meet a core requirement, a course must be taken at Illinois Institute of Technology as part of the Ph.D. program; transfer courses cannot be used.

Group 1: Theory of Computation (15)
CS 530Theory of Computation3
CS 533Computational Geometry3
CS 535Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 538Combinatorial Optimization3
CS 539Game Theory: Algorithms and Applications3
Group 2: Systems (9)
CS 546Parallel and Distributed Processing3
CS 550Advanced Operating Systems3
CS 570Advanced Computer Architecture3
Group 3: Programming Languages (12)
CS 536Science of Programming3
CS 540Syntactic Analysis of Programming Languages3
CS 541Topics in Compiler Construction3
CS 545Distributed Computing Landscape3
Group 4: Networks and Security (12)
CS 542Computer Networks I: Fundamentals3
CS 544Computer Networks II: Network Services3
CS 549Cryptography and Network Security3
CS 558Advanced Computer Security3
Group 5: Databases (3)
CS 525Advanced Database Organization3
Group 6: Software Engineering (3)
CS 586Software Systems Architectures3
Group 7: Computational Intelligence (15)
CS 512Computer Vision3
CS 579Online Social Network Analysis3
CS 583Probabilistic Graphical Models3
CS 584Machine Learning3
CS 585Natural Language Processing3

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

The Ph.D. qualifying examination has two parts: three written examinations and an oral examination. The written exam is used to judge a student’s breadth of knowledge; the oral exam is used to judge a student’s research potential. See the computer science website (science.iit.edu/computer-science) and university Graduate Bulletin for details.

Master of Science Exit from Program

Students wishing to leave the direct Ph.D. program with the degree of Master of Science in Computer Science must satisfy all the requirements of the master’s degree and either write an M.S. thesis or pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination. In special circumstances students may petition the department for consideration.

Comprehensive (Research Proposal) Examination

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to ensure that the candidate has the background to carry out successful research in the chosen area and that the research problem is properly formulated and has sufficient scholarly merit. The student (in concert with the student’s research adviser) must develop a written research proposal containing a literature review, a proposed research topic, and a program of research based upon this topic, and then present it orally as well. See the computer science website (science.iit.edu/computer-science) and university Graduate Bulletin for details.

Thesis Defense

Each student must present an oral defense of his/her Ph.D. thesis. The thesis review committee is appointed in much the same way as the Ph.D. comprehensive examination committee. It will examine the written thesis and examine the student during the oral defense. All Ph.D. thesis defenses are open to the public. See the computer science website (science.iit.edu/computer-science) and university Graduate Bulletin for details.