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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Applications to the Ph.D. program and all supporting documents must be submitted and received online by December 8, 2009. See for complete information. Changes or updates to the admission process are posted in September and October, 2009. The following are general department requirements; contact the Computer Science Ph.D. administrator for details.

  1. A student should plan and complete a coherent program of study covering the basic areas of computer science and related disciplines. The student's adviser has primary responsibility for the adequacy of the program, which is subject to review by the Ph.D. program committee.
  2. Each student, to remain in the Ph.D. program, must satisfy the breadth requirement covering introductory-level graduate material in major areas of computer science. A student who fulfills six of thirteen exams in the breadth requirement may apply for candidacy prior to the second year in the program. The student must completely satisfy the breadth requirement by the end of nine quarters (excluding Summer Quarters), and must pass a qualifying exam in the general area of the expected dissertation.
  3. As part of the training for the Ph.D., the student is required to complete at least 4 units (a unit is 10 hours per week for one quarter) as a course assistant or instructor for courses in Computer Science numbered 100 or above.
  4. The most important requirement is the dissertation. After passing the required qualifying examination, each student must secure the agreement of a member of the department faculty to act as the dissertation adviser. In some cases, the dissertation adviser may be in another department.
  5. The student must pass a University oral examination in the form of a defense of the dissertation. This is typically held after all or a substantial portion of the dissertation research has been completed.
  6. The student is expected to demonstrate the ability to present scholarly material orally, both in the dissertation defense and by a lecture in a department seminar.
  7. The dissertation must be accepted by a reading committee composed of the principal dissertation adviser, a second member from within the department, and a third member chosen from within the University. The principal adviser and at least one of the other committee members must be Academic Council members.

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