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PhD | Course Requirements

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A student should plan and successfully complete a coherent program of study covering the basic areas of Computer Science and related disciplines. The student's advisor has primary responsibility for the adequacy of the program. The University has two main requirements related to courses. First, each student must complete 135 course units (a total of 10 units of PE courses can be counted towards this) for graduation. 

  • CS PhD students take 8-10 units (8 is the minimum requirement and 10 units is maximum, tuition level for 8-10 is the same) a quarter. Credit for graduate work done elsewhere (up to a maximum of 45 course units) may be applied to graduation requirements. Second, students must take courses from at least 4 different faculty members who are Members of the Academic Council.
    • There are NO courses specifically required by the Computer Science Department, except for the 1-unit CS300 seminar and CS499 (Advanced Reading & Research), or equivalent (research units with your non-CS faculty advisor's home department). The CS300 seminar is only offered during Autumn quarter and is required of all first-year PhD students. Students are required to attend 2/3 of the total number of sessions in order to get credit for the class.
    • Important Note: All PhD students are required to enroll in at least 3-units of CS499 or equivalent (research units with your non-CS faculty advisor's home department) for all quarters. The University requires PhD students to maintain a 3.0 GPA overall for conferring their degree. 
  • International Students. The Computer Science Department allows only up to a maximum of 3 units (1 unit each Summer) of Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) in the entire academic career. CS390 A, B and C may each be taken once (full-time/part-time). Full-time internships are allowed only during Summer quarter. For more details, contact
    • Curriculum Practical Training (CPT). An authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum (learn more).

Questions regarding part-time CPT during academic quarters should be directed to Jay Subramanian (  The information and details vary by the student status, funding, visa and immigration rules, therefore, should be discussed with Jay prior to the quarter of CPT.