2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
    Nov 25, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Computer Science PhD

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College: Engineering and Computer Science Degree: PHD
Department: Computer Science Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: http://www.cs.ucf.edu/
Graduate Program Handbook

Program Description

The Computer Science PhD program prepares students in the highest level of theory and practice of Computer Science, aiding with the development of research and instruction skills for positions in academia, industry and government sectors.

The Computer Science PhD program produces professionals trained at the highest possible academic level in the theory and practice of Computer Science in order to meet current and projected market demands for Computer Science experts. Students graduate with proven abilities in research and instruction and have expertise suitable for positions in industry, academia and government.

Students in the program receive a broad background in the areas of programming systems and languages, computer architecture and computer science theory while specializing in a research area. Research interests of the computer science faculty include affective computing, applied perception, bioinformatics, computational biology, computational geometry, computer and network security, computer architecture, computer forensics, computer graphics, computer networks, computer vision, cryptography, data compression, database management systems, data mining, design and analysis of algorithms, evolutionary computation, genetic algorithms, graph theory, hardware/software co-design, image processing, machine learning, mixed and virtual reality, mobile computing, modeling and simulation, multimedia systems, natural language processing, neural networks, parallel and distributed processing, performance evaluation, programming languages, quantum computing, semantic web, software agents, software engineering and VLSI systems.


The Computer Science PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. A plan of study for each student must be filed within the first two weeks of the student’s second semester in the program. Details about this program can be found in the Computer Science PhD Handbook.

This plan must satisfy the following:

  • A minimum of 72 credit hours (including CDA 5106 COT 5405 , and COT 6410  - all with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better). At most 30 credit hours can be waived from a completed MS program, exclusive of thesis, independent study, dissertation, and research. Otherwise, at most 9 external credits can be transferred.
  • A 3.0 or better grade point average is required. At most 6 credit hours with “C” (2.0) are allowed.
  • No courses below the 5000-level, with no 5000-level CGS prefix coursework.
  • No more than 12 credit hours of independent study (6908).
  • Five 6000- or 7000-level courses (15 credits) with grades of “B” (3.0) or better taught by EECS faculty. None of these may be independent study or dissertation for which letter grades (not S/U) are assigned.
  • Six additional computer science graduate credits to make the total of all non-independent study (e.g., formal coursework exclusive of independent study) of at least 36 credits.
  • A minimum of 15 credit hours and a maximum of 24 credit hours of PhD dissertation (CAP, CDA, CEN, CIS, CNT, COP or COT 7980).

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

Prerequisites—12 Credit Hours

An undergraduate degree in Computer Science is desirable but not required. Applicants without a strong undergraduate background in Computer Science must demonstrate an understanding of the material covered in the following upper-division undergraduate courses:

  • EEL 4768C Computer Architecture 3 Credit Hours
  • COP 4020 Programming Languages I 3 Credit Hours
  • COP 4600 Operating System 3 Credit Hours
  • COT 4210 Discrete Computational Structures 3 Credit Hours

Elective Courses—48 Credit Hours

  • Grades must be a “C” (2.0) or better with at most 6 credit hours having grades below “B” (3.0) and an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • No courses below the 5000-level, with no 5000-level CGS prefix course work.
  • No more than 12 credit hours of independent study (6908).
  • Five 6000- or 7000-level courses (15 credits) with grades of “B” (3.0) or better taught by EECS faculty. None of these may be independent study or dissertation for which letter grades (not S/U) are assigned. At least 36 hours must be formal course work, exclusive of independent study or doctoral research.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • XXX 7980 (15 credit hours minimum)

Qualifying Review

The Qualifying Review (QR) will be offered twice a year the in Fall and the Spring semester. A student enrolled in the PhD program is required to take the QR in the third semester (excluding the Summer semesters). The Graduate Committee will meet twice a year to evaluate the results. To pass QR a student should have at least one publication with the adviser and should have passed two core classes, or passed one and be enrolled in a second one. A second QR attempt should be not later than the fifth semester; at that time the student should have passed the three core courses.

Dissertation Committee

The Dean, through the Chairs and Directors, is responsible for committee formation, additions and deletions. The doctoral committee must consist of a minimum of four members; three must be graduate faculty members from within EECS and one must be at large from outside the EECS faculty. Joint faculty members may serve as school-faculty committee members. The Computer Science Graduate Committee may specify additional membership. The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to advisory committees, place a representative on any advisory committee, or appoint a co-adviser.

Joint faculty members may serve as committee chairs, but graduate faculty scholars may not, although they may serve as co-chairs.

All members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal and final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee.

Candidacy Examination

After passing qualifiers, students are required to successfully complete the candidacy examination to demonstrate readiness for preliminary research in a chosen field of study. This exam requires the acceptance of a professional paper by a peer-reviewed conference or journal that is deemed acceptable to the student’s advisory committee as a major contribution to student’s area of research. Candidacy is normally taken near the completion of required course work and must be passed before registering for doctoral dissertation hours (XXX 7980). Continuous enrollment in at least 3 hours of doctoral dissertation hours is required once a student starts taking 7980 credits. The candidacy status change form and any associated paperwork (advisory committee form, program of study, etc.) must be submitted for processing by the last day of classes of the semester prior to enrolling in dissertation credits. In order to start taking dissertation hours you must be within 57 credit hours.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours. Evidence of successful completion of these requirements must be received in the College of Graduate Studies by the day before the first day of classes in which the student wishes to enroll in dissertation hours:

  • Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination. 
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Time Limitation

Students have seven years from the beginning of regular graduate status in the PhD program to complete all requirements for the degree, although most students finish within 4 to 5 years.

Dissertation Proposal

After passing the candidacy examination, the student will write a dissertation proposal and present it orally to the dissertation advisory committee for approval. The proposal must include a description of the research performed to date and research plans.

Dissertation and Oral Defense

Students must write a dissertation on their research that describes a significant original contribution to the field of computer science. The oral defense of the dissertation is reviewed by the research committee. The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements are approved by the student’s adviser and posted on the college’s website and the Events Calendar at the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks before the defense date. The dissertation must be approved by the dissertation adviser and committee, the school director or designee and the dean of the college or designee. Format approval from the Thesis and Dissertation Editor and final approval of satisfaction of degree requirements by the College of Graduate Studies is required.

Equipment Fee

Students in the Computer Science PhD program pay a $34 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $17 per semester.

Independent Learning

The Independent Learning requirement is met by successful completion of the student’s candidacy and dissertation defense examinations.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science strongly encourages prospective applicants to submit a free pre-screening () of their qualifications prior to submitting an online application for graduate admission. However, a pre-screening is not required; rather, it is offered as a courtesy to all prospective applicants before they commit to submitting a complete online application and paying the application processing fee.

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of a complete online application only, and not on the basis of any pre-screening. Prospective applicants who are encouraged to apply to their intended graduate program based on the information provided for their pre-screening are not assured of admission or financial assistance when they submit a complete online application. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that prospective applicants who are discouraged from formally applying to a graduate program at the pre-screening stage will be admitted if they elect to submit a complete online application anyway.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirement , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Outstanding students with a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply directly into the doctoral program. Admission to the PhD program is formalized by the university upon the recommendation of the Computer Science Graduate Coordinator.

An undergraduate degree in Computer Science is desirable but not required. Applicants without a strong undergraduate background in Computer Science must demonstrate an understanding of the material covered in upper-division undergraduate courses listed under the Articulation Section of the Curriculum Information. Applicants may choose to demonstrate their knowledge of these courses by taking these courses as non-degree seeking and scoring “B” or better in all of them.

Application Deadlines

Computer Science PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jul 1 Dec 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Liquang Wang PhD
Associate Professor
Telephone: 407-823-3187
HEC 437 E

Graduate Admissions

Ashley Rivera Mercado
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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