The boxes below summarize significant steps in the completion of a PhD for students who have an MS in CS (or a closely related field) at the time of admission. Detailed requirements are contained in the PhD program requirements in the CS Graduate Handbook. If requirements conflict, requirements in the PhD Program page take precedence.

1 Find an Advisor During or before second semester

Find someone that shares your research interests and that you can work with.

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2 Submit Study List First semester

Create and submit a study list that satisfies coursework requirements for a PhD in Computer Science.

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3 Form a Committee First Two Semesters

With your advisor, select graduate faculty to serve as your 2nd, 3rd and 4th committee members.

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4 Be Resident Entire PhD program

Satisfy both the CS Department and BYU Grad Studies residency requirements. The department requires PhD students to be resident which means being present during most business hours. The University requires PhD students to register for at least 2 consecutive 6-hour semesters on the BYU Campus. Exceptions to the department requirement for research-focused internships are regularly approved.

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5 Update your Graduate Profile Twice a year in September and April

Profile updates are used during twice-yearly PhD Progress Reviews. At these reviews, the graduate CS faculty review all PhD students. Students are placed on "satisfactory", "warning", "marginal" or "unsatisfactory" status.

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6 Pass Qualifying Exam During first year.

Under the direction of your advisor, prepare a research paper suitable for publication. Present the paper to your dissertation committee. The committee will grade your ability to think, learn, work, write and present.

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7 Teach a Class Once during PhD studies

A PhD student must teach at least one Computer Science course. Make requests for teaching by indicating your desires for teaching, both the semester and course, at the time you submit your report for progress reviews. These requests should be made well in advance because the department plans teaching assignments in January.

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8 Propose a Dissertation Soon after passing qualifying exam

The dissertation proposal comprises a document and an oral presentation. The proposal presents a problem, discusses closely related work and the broader research area, and describes a research agenda to solve the problem and evaluate the solution. The proposal must explain the importance of the research problem and the research agenda.

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9 Apply for Graduation The semester in which you defend

See Jen Bonnett for details. Be sure that your ecclesiastical endorsement is up to date.

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10 Defend your Dissertation Within 8 years of admission

Working with your advisor, prepare a dissertation. After your advisor approves, obtain approval from other committee members. After the committee approves, schedule a defense 3 weeks in advance. Please reach out to Jen Bonnett, the Graduate Academic Advisor, early in the semester in which you hope to defend to create a plan to accomplish your goals.

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11 Finish paperwork After defending dissertation

See "more information" below to find the correct forms and instructions

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