Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Department of Computer Science

PhD Program in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science is a research-oriented department with a distinguished history of contributions in systems, theory, artificial intelligence, and HCI. There are 18 faculty members with primary appointments and 10 faculty members with secondary or adjunct appointments in Computer Science.  The are approximately 45 students in the PhD program, 10 in the MS program, and 100 undergraduate majors. We enjoy a collaborative culture and strong ties to cognitive science, linguistics, and electrical and computer engineering.  Over the past decade, a third of its PhD graduates have won tenure-track faculty positions, and its alumni include leaders at major research laboratories such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM.

The PhD Program

Applicants with an undergraduate degree (BS or BA) are admitted directly into the PhD program.  Students receive an MS degree during their second year, and typically complete their PhD in a total of 4 to 5 years from the time of initial entry into the program.  Admissions are decided by a faculty committee, rather than by individual professors.  PhD students in good academic standing are guaranteed financial support for tuition plus a living stipend.  Students serve as teaching assistants for two or three semesters, and as research assistants the rest of their time in the program.

During their first two years in the program, a student takes courses in all areas of computer science in order to ensure academic breadth, and completes the qualification requirements for one research area, in order to ensure technical depth.  A Dissertation Advisory Committee for the student is formed during the first term of the third year, and unless the committee grants an explicit exception, during the second term of the third year the student submits and defends a thesis proposal.   The Dissertation Advisory Committee conducts a formal review of the student's progress every six months.  The final step for the student is to write and defend a PhD thesis.

The program includes an option for a student to earn a joint PhD in Computer Science and either Linguistics or Brain & Cognitive Science.  Students must first be admitted into one of the departments, and then find a secondary advisor and complete a subset of the ordinary PhD requirements for the second department.  Potential students interested in this option are advised to discuss it with their primary department at the time of applying to the PhD program.

Many PhD students spend one or two summers interning at an industrial research laboratory.  In recent years our students have won internships at Google, Microsoft Research, Intel Research, Cadence, Nuance, and other leading research centers.  Internships can be found by responding to calls for interns distributed in the department, using faculty advisors' networks of personal contacts, and through the university's Career & Internship Center.

All US applicants to the program are urged to also apply to one or more national graduate fellowship programs.  Although all admitted students receive a departmental fellowship and stipend, winning an external fellowship will improve your chances of admission and increase the amount of your stipend.


Applications for fall admission must be complete, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, by January 15th. Students should initiate their application several weeks ahead of these deadlines in order to insure that all materials are received on time.  Students interested in earning a PhD should apply only to the PhD program, and not also to the Masters Program.  The Masters Program is for students who intend to complete their studies with an MS degree, and has different criteria for admission.  After initiating an application online, candidates will receive an email message with information about how to check the status of their application.

Applicants may request a waiver of the application fee in cases of financial hardship.  After completing the application except for payment, an applicant may email a request explaining their special circumstances to our graduate coordinator, Niki Pizzutelli.

Selection of students for admission is a two-stage process.  In the first stage, we select a group of applicants for interviews.  Applicants residing in the US are invited to visit the department for a specified three days in early March.  Candidates will be interviewed by faculty and current graduate students, learn more about our research, and enjoy social events for an exposure to the department's culture.  The department pays for transportation and lodging as will be detailed in the invitations.   Students residing outside of the US will be interviewed by telephone by both faculty and current graduate students.  In the second stage of admissions, a selected set of the interviewed students is offered admission on a rolling basis until the incoming class is filled.

General Information




Graduate Programs