General Requirements

For specific information on the Computer Science PhD program, see the navigation links to the right. 

What follows on this page is an overview of all Ph.D. programs at the School; additional information and guidance can be found on the Graduate Policies pages. 

General Ph.D. Requirements

  • 10 semester-long graduate courses, including at least 8 disciplinary.  At least 5 of the 10 should be graduate-level SEAS "technical" courses (or FAS graduate-level technical courses taught by SEAS faculty), not including seminar/reading/project courses.  Undergraduate-level courses cannot be used.
  • Program approval by the Committee on Higher Degrees (CHD).
  • Minimum full-time academic residency of two years.
  • Serve as a Teaching Fellow (TF) in one semester of the second year.
  • Oral Qualifying Examination
    Preparation in the major field is evaluated in an oral examination by a qualifying committee. The examination has the dual purpose of verifying the adequacy of the student's preparation for undertaking research in a chosen field and of assessing the student's ability to synthesize knowledge already acquired. For details on arranging your Qualifying Exam, see the individual program pages.
  • Committee Meetings: PhD students' research committees meet according to the guidelines in each area's "Committee Meetings" listing.
  • Dissertation
    Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, a committee chaired by the research supervisor is constituted to oversee the dissertation research. The dissertation must, in the judgment of the research committee, meet the standards of significant and original research.
  • Final Oral Examination (Defense)
    This public examination devoted to the field of the dissertation is conducted by the student's research committee. It includes, but is not restricted to, a defense of the dissertation itself.  For details of arranging your final oral exam see the Ph.D. Timeline page.