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What follows is a high-level visual of the phases of the doctoral process. Specific requirements and procedures for each phase are described below:

Overview of Ph.D. process

Quals Procedures

Creditable Passage of the Ph.D QUALIFYING EVALUATION: (See Quals Requirements for specific details.)

  • COURSES: Select the Quals courses you wish to take and complete these, remembering to consult with instructors if there is doubt about course progress.

  • PROJECT: Approximately TWO WEEKS before the oral presentation of the project: (1) determine a mutually agreeable time for the presentation with the two faculty advisors, (2) reserve a conference room on the web (the usual length for the oral presentation is about 45 minutes, with additional time for questions, so the room should be reserved for an adequate period), and  (3) notify the Graduate Advisor of the date/time/title and the two faculty advisor names for announcement.

  • At the beginning of each quarter except summer, an announcement will be made asking students who have completed or are in the process of completing the course and project requirements to sign up for passage of the Qualifying Evaluation in that quarter. The faculty will meet later in the quarter to make the decisions.

  • A Master's degree is usually earned upon passing the Qualifying Evaluation. To formally apply for the degree, submit a Master's Degree request to the Graduate School during the first seven weeks of the quarter in which the degree is to be completed. See the Graduate Advisor for details.

General Exam Procedures

Creditable Passage of the GENERAL EXAM: This oral exam is normally taken at the end of 3 years or 1.25 years after the Qualifying Evaluation, whichever is later. In this exam the student must demonstrate depth of knowledge on one principle subject. (See Generals Requirement for specific details.) NOTE: Before scheduling the exam, the Graduate School requirements for completion of 18 graded UW credits and a total of 60 credits must be met.

  • As early as possible before the exam you must select and officially set up your Ph.D. Supervisory Committee; choose a major advisor, and at least two additional Computer Science committee members; at least one member should be from outside the immediate area of research. You must also identify a Graduate School Representative (GSR); the Graduate School no longer makes this assignment. The GSR must be a UW graduate faculty member. The chair of the supervisory committee may have an adjunct appointment in the home department of the GSR. The GSR and the supervisory committee chair cannot have a budgetary relationship. You may consult the GSR Eligibility chart to verify eligiblity.

  • Notify the Graduate Advisor of the committee names and she will submit them to the Graduate School. Graduate School Memo 13 details the rules for membership on the Ph.D. Supervisory Committee. IMPORTANT: Keep your GSR apprised of your progress and of your expectations for your exam dates so that s/he can be sure to attend. The student is responsible for finding a substitute for the GSR should s/he not be able to attend the examination.

  • Your Ph.D. Supervisory Committee remains effective for the Ph.D. Final defense unless changes are required. A committee must have at least four members (including the GSR), who must be able to participate in the General or Final Examination. (Teleconference participation is permitted for all members of the committee except the GSR.) Once scheduled, the exam will be considered official if a minimum of four members attend or participate: the chairperson, the GSR, and two others. If there are co-chairs, both must participate in the exam; they count as two of the four members who must attend/participate. To make changes to the committee, see the Graduate Advisor.

  • Approximately two months before the exam, see your major faculty advisor to obtain/discuss the papers on which you prepare your written report. When you receive the papers, or "charge", be sure to notify the Graduate Advisor, who will note the beginning of the two-month study period.

  • Contact all committee members (including the GSR) and determine a mutually agreeable time. You may then schedule the General Examination directly with the Graduate School at MyGrad-Student View . Reserve a conference room on the web. Be sure to contact the Graduate Program Advisor so she can officially confirm the exam with the Graduate School.

  • At least two weeks before the exam submit your written review of the papers to your supervisory committee. IMPORTANT: Remind all committee members of the exam date, and make sure all committee members have a copy of your paper, including a courtesy copy to the GSR member.

  • After the exam: the warrant will be signed by the Supervisory Committee, the Graduate Advisor will place a copy of the warrant in your permanent file, and will deliver the result to the Graduate School. Electronic "signatures" will be requested by the Graduate Program Advisor from committee members who participate remotely.

Dissertation Procedures

Preparation of a DISSERTATION acceptable to your Supervisory Committee.

  • The Graduate School offers templates you can use to format your master's thesis or Ph.D. dissertation.

Final Examination Procedures

Creditable Passage of the FINAL EXAM: This is a public oral presentation and defense of your dissertation. In preparing for this exam you must:

  • Approximately 2 months before the exam, check the membership of your Supervisory Committee, clarify who plans to attend the exam, begin discussion of possible exam dates. Notify the Graduate Advisor of any changes to the committee so that she can notify the Graduate School.

  • Approximately one month before the Exam, appoint three faculty to the Dissertation Reading Committee. These faculty are a subset of the Supervisory Committee. In CSE the chair of the Supervisory Committee usually serves as the chair of the Reading Committee. Give the names to the Graduate Program Advisor who will notify the Graduate School. Begin to finalize discussions of the exam date with your committee.

  • Scheduling the final exam indicates that the Reading Committee agrees that the dissertation is ready to be defended. A couple of weeks before the Final Exam date, contact the members of the Supervisory Committee to work out the date and time of the exam and reserve a conference room on the web.

  • You must then officially schedule the exam with the Graduate School in MyGrad-Student View . Notify the Graduate Program Advisor that you have scheduled the exam with the Graduate School so she can officially confirm the exam schedule details. IMPORTANT: remind all committee members of the exam date, and make sure all committee members have a copy of your dissertation, including a courtesy copy to the GSR member.

  • After successfully completing the exam, the warrant will be signed by the faculty present at the exam. The signatures of a minimum of four members - chair(s), GSR, and two other member(s) - are required for the exam to be considered official by the Graduate School. Email "signatures" are acceptable from those members participating remotely; the Graduate Program Advisor will request the signatures. The Graduate Program Advisor will place the warrant in the permanent student file and deliver the result of the exam to the Graduate School.

  • Submit an electronic copy of your dissertation or a url to your dissertation to the Graduate Advisor for departmental records.

Deadlines to Graduate

  • You have 60 days after taking the final exam to turn in your dissertation.

  • To graduate in the quarter of the final examination, the dissertation must be turned in by the LAST DAY OF THAT QUARTER.

  • If you submit the dissertation within two weeks after the end of the quarter you defend, you may avoid registration by paying the late submission fee of $250. See Graduate Registration Waiver Fee. This option assumes you are within the 60-day submission period.

  • If you submit the dissertation after the two weeks following the quarter you defend, you must register for that subsequent quarter. This option assumes you are within the 60-day submission period.