Graduate Policy Manual: Information for Enrolled Students

 

 Graduate Policy Manual: Information for Enrolled Students

 

Contents

1. Introduction

This document contains information about degree requirements and other concerns of graduate study in the Computer Science Department, and is addressed to the graduate student. For further information, please contact:

Computer Science Graduate Office
Room 1151 A. V. Williams Building
tel: 301-405-2664
email: csgradof [at] cs.umd.edu


web: http://www.cs.umd.edu/Grad

Information about campus-wide graduate study requirements, policies, and deadlines is available from the UMCP Graduate School.

2. General Degree Requirements

All degrees have residence requirement, time limit requirement, graduate credit requirement (on minimum number of graduate credits), and qualifying coursework requirement (on breadth and depth of coursework).

Graduate students in CMPS doctoral programs are expected to develop a mastery of their field, and gain familiarity with their discipline from arrival to graduation. In particular, full-time doctoral students who arrive with a baccalaureate degree normally will:

  1. Become engaged in research no later than during their second year and often in their first year.
  2. Identify a thesis adviser by the end of their second year.
  3. Identify a thesis topic by the end of their third year.
  4. Secure admission to candidacy within 3-4 years.
  5. Publish at least one paper prior to advancing to candidacy, and several prior to graduating.
  6. Complete all requirements and graduate within 5-6 years.

Graduate students may expect:

  • A wide selection of courses.
  • Advice and mentoring by faculty in their program prior to the assignment of an adviser.
  • From their advisor:
    • Regular access and advice during the research and thesis writing process.
    • Training in the preparation of oral and written scholarly presentations; in particular the advice and support for the writing of at least one paper for publication.
    • Introduction, for example at conferences, to other members of the field.
    • Assistance and advice with job searches

You are expected to make satisfactory progress toward your degree, commensurate with your other responsibilities. You must maintain an overall B average in your course work exclusive of CMSC 799 (Thesis Research) and CMSC 899 (Dissertation Research), and you must either complete at least two courses per year or be actively engaged in thesis or dissertation work. Otherwise, your standing in the graduate program may be terminated.

If you receive a grade of I (incomplete) in any course, you must have this grade removed before you can be granted your degree. If you receive a grade of D or F in a graduate course, you may not complete your degree unless you raise your grade for that course to a C or higher by repeating the course.

You are responsible for being aware of and meeting all deadlines and requirements relevant to your progress through graduate school. Exact dates of examinations and application deadlines are posted by the Graduate School each academic year, and by the department each semester. The department will notify you of any changes in departmental policies either by sending you mail or by posting an announcement to the csd.grad.announce newsgroup.

You are responsible for notifying the Computer Science Graduate Office in writing of any circumstances that would prevent you from maintaining graduate standing or fulfilling the requirements for your degree.

3. Minimum course load per semester

Course load is measured in units, which are defined as follows:

Courses numbered 000-399 2 units/credit hour
Courses numbered 400-499 4 units/credit hour
Courses numbered 500-599 5 units/credit hour
Courses numbered 600-897 6 units/credit hour
Research courses 799 12 units/credit hour
Pre-Candidacy Research 898 18 units/credit hour
Post-Candidacy Research 899 Mandatory 6 credits /108 units tota

 

Audited courses do not generate graduate units. A part-time graduate student must complete at least 12 units per year. Afull-time graduate student is normally expected to successfully complete a combination of courses that totals at least 48 units each semester (excluding summer sessions). For graduate assistants, the minimum full-time requirement is reduced to 24 units, calculated as above (36 units for half-time appointments). Graduate assistants and International students must maintain full-time status.

4. Advising

Every graduate student has a faculty advisor. You should meet with your advisor at least once each semester to discuss your progress.

When you enter the graduate program, the department assigns you an initial advisor, but as your research interests become clearer you may want to switch advisors. Normally, when you begin your MS or PhD research, your advisor should be the person with whom you are doing that work.

If you accept a research assistantship with a professor and that person is not already your advisor, then he/she becomes your new advisor. If you switch advisors, you must let the Computer Science Graduate office know.

5. Registration

All Computer Science graduate students must register using Testudo (http://www.testudo.umd.edu/Registrar.html.) Each semester, your advisor must approve your registration as well as changes to it. The Computer Science Graduate Office helps students obtain permission to take restricted courses. Due to heavy demand for Computer Science courses, we strongly advise you to register early.

6. Areas and Courses

The graduate program coursework is organized into areas, each with associated faculty and courses. There are currently eight areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computer Systems
  • Database Systems
  • Software Engineering/Programming Languages/HCI
  • Scientific Computing
  • Algorithms and Computation Theory
  • Visual and Geometric Computing

Below are the courses by area:

  • Artificial Intelligence
    • CMSC 421 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
    • CMSC 721 - Non-Monotonic Reasoning
    • CMSC 722 - Artificial Intelligence Planning
    • CMSC 723 - Computational Linguistics I (Formerly: Natural Language Processing)
    • CMSC 726 - Machine Learning
    • CMSC 727 - Neural Modeling
    • CMSC 773 - Computational Linguistics II
  • Bioinformatics
    • CMSC423 - Bioinformatics
    • CMSC701 - Computational Genomics
    • CMSC702 - Computational Systems Biology
    • CMSC703 - Network Analysis and Modeling of Biological Systems
  • Computer Systems
    • CMSC 411 - Computer Systems Architecture
    • CMSC 412 - Operating Systems
    • CMSC 414 - Computer Security
    • CMSC 417 - Computer Networks
    • CMSC 711 - Computer Networks
    • CMSC 712 - Distributed Algorithms and Verification
    • CMSC 714 - High Performance Computing
  • Database Systems
    • CMSC 420 - Data Structures
    • CMSC 423 - Bioinformatic Algorithms, Databases and Tools
    • CMSC 424 - Database Design
    • CMSC 624 - Database Systems Implementation (Inactive Course)
    • CMSC 724 - Database Management Systems
    • CMSC 725 - Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Databases
  • Scientific Computing
    • CMSC 460 - Computational Methods
    • CMSC 462 - Computer Science for Scientific Computing
    • CMSC 466 - Introduction to Numerical Analysis I
    • CMSC 660 - Scientific Computing I
    • CMSC 661 - Scientific Computing II
    • CMSC 662 - Computer Organization and Programming for Scientific Computing (not valid for CS students)
    • CMSC 663 - Advanced Scientific Computing I
    • CMSC 664 - Advanced Scientific Computing II
    • CMSC 666 - Numerical Analysis I
    • CMSC 667 - Numerical Analysis II
    • CMSC 763 - Advanced Linear Numerical Analysis
    • CMSC 762 - Numerical Solution of Nonlinear Equations
    • CMSC 764 - Advanced Numerical Optimization
  • Software Engineering/Programming Languages/HCI
    • CMSC 430 - Theory of Language Translation
    • CMSC 433 - Programming Language Technologies and Paradigms
    • CMSC 434 - Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
    • CMSC 435 - Software Engineering
    • CMSC 436 - Programming Handheld Systems
    • CMSC 630 - Theory of Programming Languages
    • CMSC 631 - Program Analysis and Understanding
    • CMSC 632 - Software Product Assurance
    • CMSC 634 - Empirical Research Methods for Computer Science
    • CMSC 731 - Programming Language Implementation
    • CMSC 734 - Information Visualization
    • CMSC 735 - Quantitative Approach to Software Management and Engineering
    • CMSC 736 - Software Engineering Environments
    • CMSC 737 - Fundamentals of Software Testing
  • Algorithms and Computation Theory
    • CMSC 451 - Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
    • CMSC 452 - Elementary Theory of Computation
    • CMSC 456 - Cryptology
    • CMSC 475 - Combinatorics and Graph Theory
    • CMSC 651 - Analysis of Algorithms
    • CMSC 652 - Complexity Theory
    • CMSC 656 - Introduction to Cryptography
    • CMSC 751 - Parallel Algorithms
    • CMSC 752 - Concrete Complexity
    • CMSC 754 - Computational Geometry
  • Visual and Geometric Computing
    • CMSC 420 - Data Structures
    • CMSC 425 - Game Programming
    • CMSC 426 - Image Processing
    • CMSC 427 - Computer Graphics (Cannot get graduate credit for both CMSC 427 and CMSC 740)
    • CMSC 725 - Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Databases
    • CMSC 740 - Advanced Computer Graphics
    • CMSC 741 - Geometric and Solid Modeling
    • CMSC 733 - Computer Processing of Pictorial Information
    • CMSC 754 - Computational Geometry

Some courses may appear in more than one area. However, you cannot use a particular course to satisfy more than one area's requirement.

It is expected that courses at the 600-800 level will be offered on a rotating basis, roughly every three or four semesters.

In addition to the courses listed above, special topics courses are offered, under the course numbers CMSC 818, 828, 838, etc.

6.1 MS/PhD Qualifying Courses

MS/PhD qualifying courses must primarily (at least 75%) base the course grade on a combination of homework, programming assignments, research projects, and exams. Any of these components are optional, except the courses' written exam(s) which must account for at least 30% of the grade.

Note that therefore courses consisting primarily of paper readings and student presentations may not be MS/PhD qualifying courses. In addition, unless specific permission is granted by the Graduate Director, 600-800 level courses may be MS/PhD qualifying only if they are taught by faculty with regular or affiliate professor appointments in the CS department.

All the 600 and 700 level courses above count for graduate credit provided they are taken after you have been admitted to the graduate program. They also count as MS/PhD qualifying coursework, unless otherwise specified.

400 level courses are valid for MS coursework, but not MS qualifying coursework.

Special topics courses qualifying status - click the previous link to see if a special topics course (800-level) is MS/PhD qualifying.

 

6.2 Taking Courses from Other Departments

In certain cases, courses from other departments may be used for MS/Phd qualifying coursework. If you want to do this, you should submit to the Grad Office a request that:

  • identifies the course, gives info (syllabus, instructor, etc)
  • identifies the area in which you want the course to count
  • a letter of support from your advisor

The Grad Office forwards the request to the relevant area representative and asks for a decision on:

  • whether the course is acceptable as a Phd/MS course for the area
  • if so, at what level (400 or higher).

Please submit the request sufficiently prior to the start of the semester in which the course is to be done.

7. M.S. Degree Requirements

The department offers both thesis and non-thesis options for the Master of Science degree in computer science. The following requirements apply to both options.

  1. Graduate credits: You must complete at least 30 credit hours of approved course work, with a B average. These courses must be at the 400-level or higher, with at least 18 credit hours at the 600-800 level. At least 21 credit hours must be in computer science courses. Students completing the MS degree without thesis may count 6 credits of CMSC 798 (excluding 798E or 798F) toward the 30 credit requirement. Courses from other departments must be approved by your advisor;you must submit a written approval to the Graduate Office prior to the start of the semester in which the course is to be done.
  2. Qualifying coursework: You must complete at least four MS qualifying computer science courses at the 600-800 level in four out of the eight areas. You must complete two courses with at least A grades (A, A+) and two courses with at least B grades (B, B+, A-, A, A+). You must complete your qualifying coursework before the semester in which you apply for graduation.
  3. Residency: You must complete at least two full-time semesters, or the equivalent, at this university (four semesters part-time are considered equivalent to two semesters full-time).
  4. You must be registered for at least one credit in the semester in which you expect to receive your degree.
  5. Transferring graduate credits: You may transfer no more than six credit hours from another university or another program at the University of Maryland, College Park. If you wish to take these credits after you are admitted to the University of Maryland Graduate School, you may do this only with prior written approval of your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate School.
  6. Time limit: You must complete all requirements for your degree no later than five years after the date you were admitted to the program.

7.1. M.S. Degree with Thesis

You must complete six hours of CMSC 799 (Master's Thesis Research) and prepare a thesis. The thesis must present an independent accomplishment in a research, development, or application area of computer science. The required format is available from UMCP Graduate School. You may count the course credit for CMSC 799 toward the MS graduate credits requirement (in Section 7). To register for CMSC 799, you will need the permission of your thesis advisor.

At the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate, you should go to the Computer Science Graduate Office to get a packet of graduation materials. This packet will include the following forms:

  • Thesis Committee Nomination Form
  • Oral Exam Scheduling Form
  • Approved Program Form

You must apply for graduation through Testudo (http://www.testudo.umd.edu/Registrar.html) by the posted deadline, which is very early in the semester. Forms must be submitted to the Computer Science Graduate Office before their posted deadlines as well. The Grad Office will send reminders of upcoming deadlines.

Once your advisor is satisfied with your thesis, you will need to set up a thesis committee. The thesis committee must consist of at least three faculty, at least two of whom are regular CS faculty members, and its purpose is to give you an oral examination called the thesis defense. To request the formation of this committee, you and your advisor should fill out the thesis committee nomination form and return it to the Computer Science Graduate Office.

At least two weeks before the day on which you want to have your thesis defense, you must do two things:

  1. Schedule the defense, by submitting the oral examination scheduling form to the Computer Science Graduate Office
  2. Give a copy of the thesis to each member of the thesis committee.

You must pass the thesis defense, and make all changes to the thesis required by the thesis committee. You must then electronically submit the corrected thesis to the Graduate School (https://gradschool.umd.edu/students/academic-progress/thesis-and-dissert...). The Computer Science Graduate Office will remind you of the deadline for submission.

If you do not complete your degree in the semester in which you filed all of the required forms, they will remain on file in the Graduate School and will not be required to resubmit them if you graduate in a later semester.

Students Entering in Fall 2015 or Earlier: The qualifying coursework requirement is replaced by the following: You must complete at least four MS qualifying computer science courses at the 600-800 level in four out of the eight areas. For the four qualifying courses, you must have at least a B average.

7.2. MS Degree without Thesis

You must also complete a scholarly paper acceptable to a professor (who need not be your advisor) in an area approved by that professor. The paper must include an abstract and references to the relevant literature. You must electronically submit by the appropriate deadline one copy of the scholarly paper to the Computer Science Graduate Office. Your paper, along with your name, will be available for viewing on the Scholarly Paper Archive webpage.

At the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate, you should go to the Computer Science Graduate Office to get a packet of graduation materials. This packet will include the following forms:

  • Approved Program Form
  • Certification of Completion of Scholarly Paper
  • Certification of Completion of MS Degree Without Thesis

You must apply for graduation through Testudo (http://www.testudo.umd.edu/Registrar.html) by the posted deadline, which is very early in the semester. Forms must be submitted to the Computer Science Graduate Office before their posted deadlines as well. The Grad Office will send reminders of upcoming deadlines.

If you do not graduate in the semester in which you filed the required forms, they will remain on file in the Graduate School or in the Computer Science Graduate Office, and you are not required to resubmit them, if you finish in a later semester.

Students Entering in Fall 2015 or Earlier: For courses taken in Spring 2015 or earlier, your MS comprehensive exam grade will count in place of the qualifying course grade requirements above. For courses taken in Fall 2015 or later, you may opt to use an MS comprehensive exam grade in place of a qualifying course grade requirement. To do so, you must notify the graduate office, in writing, by the first day of the course, that you would like to take an MS comp exam for that course. (Note that this does not reduce the number of credits you need to take for the MS, so it is not likely a useful thing to do.)

8. Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The requirements for the PhD in Computer Science consists of the following:

  • Residence Requirement
  • Time Limitations Requirement
  • Graduate Credits Requirement
  • Qualifying Coursework Requirement
  • Preliminary Examination
  • Admission to Candidacy
  • Dissertation and Defense

These requirements are described in the following sections. You can find additional information in the current publications of the Graduate School.

8.1. Residence

You must complete at least three years, or the equivalent, of full-time graduate study and research. Of the three years, you must spend the equivalent of at least one year at this university.

8.2. Time Limitations

Students Admitted for Fall 2009 and Later

Advancement to Candidacy. You must advance to candidacy no later than four years after entering the graduate program.

Completing the Dissertation. It is expected that you complete your dissertation and final oral examination, and obtain the PhD degree, within two years after advancing to candidacy. You must meet these requirements within four years after advancing to candidacy.

Students Admitted for Fall 2008 and Earlier

The Graduate School imposes two time limitations. First, you must advance to candidacy no later than five years after entering the graduate program, and normally one academic year before you receive your PhD degree. Second, after you are admitted to candidacy, you must complete your PhD degree, including the dissertation and final oral examination, within four additional years.

8.3. Graduate Credits

Pre-Candidacy Research Credits

If you are doing research with your advisor but have not yet advanced to candidacy, you should register with CMSC 898. The section number for this course is directly related to the professor you are doing your research with. To find the section number for your professor, please go to the following webpage: https://www.cs.umd.edu/grad/section.

We recommend 898 be taken for a letter grade and at the following levels:

  • Students taking at least one 3-credit course - 1 credit, but do not sign up for more than 8 credits total (to avoid extra out-of-pocket fees).
  • Students not taking any 3-credit course, but with a TA or GRA - 2 credits
  • Students not taking any 3-credit course, and without a TA or GRA - 3 credits

Note: Alternatively, you may take CMSC 798 some semesters to earn additional credits toward the MS. 

Post-Candidacy Research Credits

After admission to candidacy, you will be automatically registered for six credits of CMSC 899 (Dissertation Resesarch) during each semester of the academic year, until you finish your degree.

8.4. Qualifying Coursework Requirement

Following are PhD coursework requirements for students starting the PhD program in Fall 2004 or later.

The current coursework requirements are as follows:

  1. You must take 6 600-800 level MS/PhD qualifying courses spread over at least 4 areas, with no more than 3 in any one area. You must obtain at least 4 A's and 2 B's (A includes A- and A+, B includes B- and B+). You are expected to complete this within the first four semesters of starting your PhD program and you must do it within five semesters. Extensions past the fifth semester will only be granted in highly exceptional cases. You may substitute a course in another department with appropriate approval. (You can take a 400-level course for background, but it will not count towards your PhD coursework requirements.)
  2. You must take a 1-credit course on How to Conduct Great Research, to be offered on a regular basis.
  3. You are required to take two additional 3-credit 600-800 level courses, with the approval of your advisor. You must receive a grade of B or higher. There is no time limit on taking these courses. The courses may be seminar courses, including those offered outside of the CS Department.
  4. Field Committees will determine a list of acceptable courses and sections to be offered.

Course waivers

Course waivers to the qualifying coursework requirements are granted in special conditions. For example, a student who already holds an MS in Computer Science from a peer institution may request one or more course waivers. No graduate courses taken while a student was an undergraduate will be waived. Course waivers will usually not reduce the number of As required in courses taken here. Waivers will not be considered for courses which are no longer being offered, or for non-CS courses.

Waivers are granted by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with area representatives. Requests for waivers should be submitted to the Graduate Office by October 1 if you started in the fall semester, and March 1 if you started in the spring semester.

Please submit the following to Tom Hurst, Graduate Coordinator, as an email attachment in a single PDF file for each course waiver requested:

  • Cover page listing (name and number) the CS courses that you want waived and, for each course, the relevant courses you took elsewhere.
  • For each CS course you want waived, a separate set of pages containing the following:
    • Institution where course was taken
    • Semester and year when course was taken
    • Name and number of course at institution where taken
    • Grade received in course
    • Syllabus for course, indicating text used, workload (exams, programming, projects, presentations), and weight of each part
    • Sample(s) of homework, exams, projects, as appropriate

Note:

  • Please keep material for different courses in separate PDF files.
  • Course waivers are processed after the submission deadline.

Grad Review

Every April, the Grad Review Committee reviews the progress of graduate students in the program. Findings are discussed at a faculty meeting. Students who are not making adequate progress will be contacted by their advisor or the Grad Director. Areas of concern include low grades in coursework, being in or beyond the fifth semester without completing qualifying coursework, nearing or passing the five-year mark without advancing to candidacy, and failing to defend within four years of advancing to candidacy.

In certain cases, a student who needs more time can apply to the Graduate School for an extension. Extension requests must include a timeline and plan of action and be accompanied by letters of support from the advisor and Grad Director.

8.5. Preliminary Examination

After (and only after) successfully completing the qualifying coursework, the next step is the PhD Preliminary Examination. This is an oral examination to review and appraise your proposed dissertation research, to test how well you have prepared for the research, and to discover whether or not you understand the subject matter sufficiently well to carry out the proposed research.

Prepare a dissertation proposal satisfactory to your advisor that describes your proposed research, surveys relevant literature, and includes reading lists for three areas of knowledge related to the proposal.

Form a preliminary examination committee consisting of the following people, at least two of whom are regular CS faculty members:

  1. Your dissertation advisor, who is the committee chair.
  2. A departmental representative, who is from outside your research area and is suggested by your advisor. The ultimate choice of the representative is made by the department.
  3. At least one additional faculty member, chosen by you and your advisor.

Get a packet of materials for the preliminary exam from the Computer Science Graduate Office. This packet includes the following forms:

  • Oral Exam Scheduling Form
  • Action of PhD Preliminary Examination Committee
  • Application for Admission to Candidacy

At least two weeks before the day you intend to take the exam, submit the oral exam scheduling form to the Computer Science Graduate Office, along with your abstract. The committee will not be appointed until you do this. You must also give your proposal to each member of the examination committee at least two weeks before the exam date.

External committee members: Requests to add external committee members (those from outside UMD or who are not members of the graduate faculty) must be made at least three weeks before the exam date (i.e., one week before teh oral exam scheduling form is due). Requests must include a brief justification, a list of the other members of the committee, and the proposed external committee member's CV.

The Examination. At least one week before the exam, the department distributes a notice of the examination, inviting all members of the department's graduate faculty to attend as non-voting participants. The examination committee chair may invite additional non-voting participants. Unless otherwise specified here or waived by the department, rules for attendance at the examine and remote participation follow the Graduate School's rules for the oral exam (http://apps.gradschool.umd.edu/Catalog/policy.php?doctoral-degrees#procedures-for-the-oral-dissertation-examination). 

The examination is oral, and is normally about two hours long and consists of three parts:

  1. Your presentation of the dissertation proposal (about 30 minutes).
  2. Questions and discussion of the proposal (about 30 minutes).
  3. An examination based on the related areas of knowledge (about one hour, and normally restricted to questions about material in the reading lists).

During this exam, you are expected to demonstrate a level of competence that is attainable in approximately one year of study beyond completion of the course-based qualifying sequence.

After the exam, the committee asks you to leave the room while they make their decision. The committee may decide that you have passed or failed the exam, or they may defer the decision. The distinction between failure and deferred decision is based on the committee's evaluation of your probability of success. Your dissertation advisor reports this decision to the department. If the committee defers the decision, your dissertation advisor's report to the department specifies how they intend to resolve the decision.

The committee member appointed by the department is responsible for making sure that the examination conforms to the guidelines given above.

8.7 Admission to Candidacy

After you have successfully completed the qualifying coursework and the preliminary examination, and have maintained an overall grade average of B or better, you can advance to candidacy.

Complete the application for admission to candidacy (from the preliminary examination packet), have your advisor sign it, and return it to the Computer Science Graduate Office. The Graduate Director then signs the form and forwards it to the Graduate School. You should allow about a month for your application to be approved, and take that time lapse into account if you are close to the 5-year time deadline.

8.8 Writing and Defending Your Dissertation

Your PhD research should represent an original contribution to the field of computer science. To describe and document your research, you must write a dissertation under the guidance of your advisor. The required format is available fromUMCP Graduate School.

Dissertation Committee. Once your advisor is satisfied with your dissertation, you and your advisor must set up a dissertation committee. The purpose of this committee is to give you an oral examination called the dissertation defense.

The dissertation committee must consist of at least five members, including your advisor. All must be regular, adjunct, or special members of the UMCP Graduate Faculty. At least three must be Regular Members of the Graduate Faculty, and at least two must be regular members of the CS faculty. One committee member, the Dean's Representative, must be a tenured Regular Member of the Graduate Faculty from a department other than Computer Science. (Unless your dissertation chair is an affiliate faculty member, in which case the Dean's Representative may be from Computer Science.) All regular (tenure-track and above) professors in the Computer Science Department are Regular Members of the Graduate Faculty.

One or more members of the committee may be distinguished scholars from other institutions or appointed as research faculty on this campus; these members fall under the category of "Special Members", and you should check with the Computer Science Graduate Office about the procedures to be followed. Requests for external commitee members (those from outside UMD or who are not members of the graduate faculty) should include a brief justification, a list of other members of the commitee, and the proposed external commitee member's CV. Requests should be made at least two weeks before the scheduling form is due. Currently the grad school asks to receive the scheduling form at least six weeks in advance of the exam. For further information about nominating faculty for dissertation committees and due dates for the nomination form, see the Graduate Faculty Policy.

To request creation of the dissertation committee, you should fill out the dissertation committee nomination form with the help of your advisor, have your advisor sign it, and submit the completed form to the Computer Science Graduate Office. You must do this by about the third week of the semester in which you expect to complete the requirements for your degree. Each semester, the deadline for filing the committee nomination is published by the Graduate School; the Grad Office will send a reminder. If you do not complete the degree in the semester in which you file the committee nomination, it will remain on file in the Graduate School and you are not required to re-submit the form.

Dissertation Defense. Once your advisor is satisfied with your dissertation, you must schedule your dissertation defense. To do this, you must submit the oral examination scheduling form to the Computer Science Graduate Office at least two weeks before the proposed examination date. At least two weeks before the oral examination, you must give a copy of the dissertation to each member of the dissertation committee.

One week before the exam, the department will distribute a notice of the defense, inviting all interested graduate faculty of the department to attend as non-voting participants. The examination committee chair may invite additional non-voting participants.

The defense is oral, and is normally no more than two hours long. All members of your committee must be present. It consists of an oral presentation of your dissertation research (normally no more than 45 minutes long), and questions by the committee about your research and your dissertation. Only your committee and members of the graduate faculty are allowed to remain after the presentation. At the end of the exam, the committee will ask you to leave the room while they confer in private, to decide whether your defense has been satisfactory. For further information on the dissertation defense, you can consult the relevant parts of the UMCP Graduate Catalog.

To complete your degree, you must pass the oral examination and make all changes in the dissertation required by the examination committee. You must then electronically submit one copy of the corrected dissertation to the Graduate School. The Grad Office will remind you of the deadline.

8.9 Graduating with the PhD

At the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate, you should go to the Computer Science Graduate Office and pick up a packet of graduate materials. This packet will include the following forms:

  • Dissertation Committee Nomination Form
  • Oral Exam Scheduling Form

You must apply for graduation through Testudo (http://www.testudo.umd.edu/Registrar.html) by the posted deadline, which is very early in the semester. Forms must be submitted to the Computer Science Graduate Office before their posted deadlines as well. The Grad Office will send reminders of upcoming deadlines.

9. Travel Grants for PhD Students

The Computer Science Department has travel grants for students to attend conferences. Grants are competitive and awards are decided by the Graduate Director. Students can apply for these travel grants at any time by submitting applications to the Graduate Office.

The maximum amount of a grant is $500. The conference should be well-recognized and the student's request should be supported by the advisor.

Applications should include:

  1. Email to Graduate Coordinator giving name of conference, title of paper to be presented, travel arrangements and costs.
  2. Copy of paper to be presented.
  3. Recommendation as required above, which should be emailed to the Graduate Coordinator.

10. Internships for PhD Students

PhD students may undertake paid internships during the summer months. International students should check with International Education Services (IES) for the procedures to be followed.

11. Clarification on MS Comps and Special Topics Courses

MS Comps (generally only applicable Spring 2015 and earlier):

  1. The MS comp must be based on exams. It cannot be based on projects, homework, term papers, etc.
  2. MS comp exams in the Department are administered as part of courses. It can be one or more of the regular exams in the course (e.g., final, midterm + final, etc). It can be a separate exam. It can be a regular exam augmented with additional questions. The choice is up to the professor, but it must be announced early in the semester.
  3. The MS comp grade given to the student is A, B, or F. The grade is independent of the grade the student gets in the course.

Special Topics Courses:

  1. A special topics course (typically with number 8x8) is by default not a MS/PhD qualifying.
  2. The professor teaching such a course must decide the area or areas for which the course is valid and get approval from the relevant area committee(s). Usually the area is the one in whose field committee the professor serves, and approval is not an issue. But if the professor wants the course to be valid for other areas, he/she must make a request to that field committee which then decides; this is not automatic.
  3. The professor teaching such a course must also decide whether the course is MS/PhD qualifying.
  4. The Graduate Office will ask the professor for this information and post it here before the start of the semester.