Ph.D. in Computer Science

Operating Policy Approved by Graduate Faculty

CS PhD Entrance Requirements – Effective for Fall Semester 2008

Application is made to the Missouri S&T admissions office along with the required transcripts, etc.

Applicants who do not have a graduate degree will normally request admission to the M.S. program first.  Applicants must submit a letter outlining tentative research interests and career goals along with GRE verbal, quantitative and analytical writing test scores.  Admission into the Ph.D. program in Computer Science is granted by majority vote of the Computer Science Graduate Faculty, demonstration of supervisory interest by a faculty member, and approval of the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.

A student with only a B.S. interested in Ph.D. study may be admitted, at the discretion of the faculty, directly into the Ph.D. program.  The student will be expected to meet all requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.  Examination schedules for the Ph.D. program will apply.  Thus, the student must pass the Ph.D. academic programs/qualifier within the three semesters of admission, and continue to follow all Ph.D. timelines.  All M.S. minimums must apply for admission and a faculty member must demonstrate interest in admitting the candidate to the Ph.D. program.

Applicants are expected to have the following minimum qualifications before being admitted as a "regular" graduate student:

  • A minimum GRE verbal score of 370 - New system 144 effective November 2011
  • A minimum GRE Quantitative >= 750 - New system 159 effective November 2014
  • A minimum GRE AWA score >=4.0
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 570 (CBT >=230 OR IBT >=89 OR IELTS 7 or above), for those students not speaking English as their native language
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.2/4.0 or better over the last 2 years, or successful completion of 12 graduate Hours in Computer Science as a "conditional" graduate student at Missouri S&T with at least a 3.2 GPA.

Admission to the Ph.D. program has the same requirement as the MS program plus a MS in Computer Science or related field.  For direct Ph.D. admit outstanding performance in undergraduate program.

Knowledge of the following:

           1. Strong Math Skills
           2. Competency in a Modern Programming language
           3. Computer Science Core including:
                   * Algorithms & Data Structures
                   * Computer Organization/Architecture
                   * Database & File Structures
                   * Discrete Mathematics & Automata
                   * Operating Systems
                   * Software Engineering


Department Application Deadlines: Fall Semester Entrance: January 15
                                                          Spring Semester Entrance: September 15

 If you apply for departmental graduate assistantships, you should submit your complete applications by these deadlines. If you apply after the departmental deadlines, assistantships will be considered based on assistantship availability

 Campus Deadlines: Overseas Applicants- Fall: June 15, Spring: November 15 and Summer: May 1.
                                  Stateside applicants Fall – July 15, Spring – December 15 and Summer - May 1.

Financial assistance to graduate students generally takes this form (Application for Graduate Assistantship in Computer Science) for Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), or Graduate Fellowships.

Refer to the Graduate Catalog for current guidelines.

Assistantship Information

Graduate Assistant Application (department specific)

Federally Funded Fellowships for U.S. Graduate Students

GAANN Fellowships for U.S. Graduate Students (jointly with Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Nationally Physical Science Consortium Ph.D. Fellowship

Your estimated costs for attending Missouri S&T are outlined at: Estimated Student Budgets

Qualifying Examination

To pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination, a student must pass both a written and oral examination. The written and oral portions of the qualifying examination may each be taken no more than twice.

The Ph.D. Qualifier consists of 3 parts: Click Here

Given the fundamental nature of the exam areas, all chosen areas must be taken during the same exam administration - individual area examinations are not allowed. All Ph.D. students are required to take the first attempt of the written portion of the Ph.D. qualifier examination within one year of starting the program. If students fail the exam on the first attempt, they are required to retake it the following semester. If students pass any subjects, they will not need to take the same subjects again. The examination is scheduled regularly at the start of Fall and Spring Semesters. In lieu of the written portion of the qualifier, if the student scores above the 80th percentile on the Computer Science Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination, this will satisfy the qualifying examination.

The oral examination consists of a research readiness examination.  The Ph.D. research readiness exam should be finished in two years after Ph.D. admission.  A Ph.D. student has two options of taking it: (1) A Ph.D. student submits a referred paper (published or accepted for publication) and a summary of his/her research activities, including his/her contribution to the paper, with his/her advisor's approval, to the graduate committee for evaluation.  (2)The student will select a topic of personal interest in Computer Science and review recent literature on the subject.  Under the guidance of the advisor, an in-depth comparative paper will be prepared and presented to the departmental Graduate Policies and Procedures Committee.  The student may be questioned on the paper and other closely related topics.  It is not necessary that the subject have any bearing on the students proposed research, however, in the interest of efficiency, relevance is desired.

Ph.D. Advisory Committee

The Ph.D. advisory committee must be appointed and meet to outline the candidate's plan of study before the end of the next semester after the candidate passes the qualifying examination.  If this is not done, the candidate will not be permitted to register the following semester.  There will be a committee chair and a research advisor on the committee; this is normally the same person.  The plan of study must follow all university guidelines.  Additionally, the student's program of study must include at least 18 hours of 6000 (400) level computer science lecture courses.

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

The student's Ph.D. advisory committee will conduct the written and oral comprehensive examination.  The subject matter, conduct of the examination, and certification of success or failure are entirely under the authority of the student's Advisory Committee, subject to the rules of the Graduate School.  Refer to the Missouri S&T Graduate Bulletin for more information.

Research Proposal

The candidate must present and receive approval of his or her research proposal before beginning research for the dissertation.  An appropriate time for the presentation would be during the oral portion of the comprehensive exam.

Residence Requirement

Refer to the Graduate Catalog for information.

Dissertation Defense

Refer to the Graduate Catalog Bulletin for information.

Departmental Seminars

The Computer Science Department sponsors seminars presented by a combination of departmental faculty members, graduate students, and external speakers. Regular attendance is required by all graduate students. Specifically, Ph.D. students are required to take the graduate seminar course three times in their graduate studies. (See schedule)

Contact Information 

Graduate Coordinator
Computer Science Department
Missouri University of Science and Technology
500 West 15th Street
310 Computer Science Bldg.
Rolla, MO 65409-0350
phone: 573-341-6642

Dawn Davis, Senior Secretary for Graduate Studies
Computer Science Department
Missouri University of Science and Technology
500 West 15th Street
342 Computer Science Bldg.
Rolla, MO 65409-0350
phone: 573-341-6642

For additional information and requirements pertaining to graduate school, please consult the Graduate Catalog, which may be obtained by writing to the Admission's Office, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 106 Parker Hall, 1870 Miner Circle, Rolla, MO 65409-1060.

For general information concerning graduate school regulations, consult the Graduate Student Handbook, which is available from the Graduate Studies Office, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 118 Fulton Hall, 1870 Miner Circle, Rolla, MO 65409-1130.