Degree Requirements - Ph.D. in Computer Science

Course Requirements

A total of 72 hours post-Bachelor’s degree are required, including dissertation hours. The course requirements for the doctoral degree include:

  • 30 hours of graduate coursework (including all area courses required for a Master of Science in Computer Science degree; see the M.S.C.S. Degree Requirements page for more details)
  • 18 additional hours of 5000 or 6000-level course work, and
  • 24 additional hours of 6000-level course work, of which at least 12 hours must be 6V99 (Dissertation).

A student entering the program with graduate-level work or a master’s degree in computer science or a closely related field may apply up to thirty (30) semester hours of approved courses toward the Ph.D.

Qualifying Breadth Examinations

A doctoral student should demonstrate a breadth of knowledge within the field. The student demonstrates breadth in two ways: taking written exams in several fundamental areas, and a qualifying project (including a written report or thesis with an oral exam).

  • Written breadth exams are formulated by the graduate computer science faculty. A doctoral student may take the written exams after completing 30 hours of graduate coursework. If a student fails to pass a written exam, they may petition to re-take the failed exam up to two more times.
  • The qualifying project is directed by a faculty member. The successful student:
    • demonstrates breadth and depth outside the written exam areas (e.g. the project might be in an application area);
    • gains background by doing the project and by reading papers assigned by the committee and preparing for the oral exam;
    • works on something that may lead to dissertation research; and
    • demonstrates their ability to defend their knowledge through the written report and oral exam.

The qualifying project oral defense is given when the student is ready, which usually is at the end of their second year. A student who has already done an MS degree in CSI at Baylor (or equivalent) may, with permission of their committee, use their MS project or thesis for the Ph.D. qualifying project. However, in such a case an oral exam is still required.

The committee for the qualifying project is comprised of 3 faculty, including the project’s faculty director. One of the committee members may be from outside the department.

Upon passing both the qualifying written exams and the qualifying project, the student will be allowed to begin formulating the dissertation proposal.

Student’s Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee for a Ph.D. candidate shall follow the guidelines given in the Dissertation Examining Committee Composition section of the Baylor Graduate Catalog.

Dissertation Proposal

A student must pass a dissertation proposal and preliminary exams before being admitted to candidacy and allowed to enroll in Dissertation Research CSI 6V99. The student is expected to write a proposal formatted as a federal funding application (e.g. to NSF or NIH) and make a presentation to the committee about the proposed research. The student will not be allowed to register for CSI 6V99 until the Graduate School has approved the Result of the Preliminary Examination form and Admission to Doctoral Candidacy form.


Candidates for the Ph.D. in computer science degree must complete an acceptable dissertation on a research topic in the computer science discipline or a closely related field. The dissertation must show evidence that the candidate has made a significant scholarly contribution to the field. At the completion of the dissertation research, the candidate defends the dissertation before the dissertation committee.

Foreign Language Requirement

The CSI doctoral program does not have a foreign language requirement.


If you have any further questions regarding the PhD in Computer Science program, please contact our Graduate Program Director: Dr. Michael Poor 

Admission  - Graduate Courses

School of Engineering
& Computer Science
One Bear Place #97356
Waco, TX 76798-7356
Computer Science
One Bear Place #97141
Waco, TX 76798-7141