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A&S—Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science offers the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy through programs within the department as well as through joint programs with other departments.

Contact Information

Department Chair: Daniel Mosse
Main Office: 6117 Sennott Square
412-624-8495
Fax: 412-624-8854
E-mail: grad_info@cs.pitt.edu
www.cs.pitt.edu

Admissions

Students holding closely-related degrees may be admitted provisionally first, before joining the MS or PhD programs. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required to be admitted to either program. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit a Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Financial Assistance

A number of financial aid opportunities are available on a competitive basis. Some of these positions are teaching assistantships requiring approximately 20 hours of work per week in conjunction with the department’s curriculum. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper-based) or 100 (internet-based). Other opportunities include graduate research assistantships and special fellowships.

Requirements for the MS—Computer Science

For the MS, students must complete 30 credits of course work and either an MS project or an MS thesis. Of the 30 credits, coursework must include four courses, one from each of the following specialization areas: Architecture and Compilers (CS2410 or CS2210), Operating Systems and Networks (CS2510 or CS2520), Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems (CS 2710 or CS 2550), and Theory and Algorithms (CS 1511 or CS 1510).

Requirements for the MS—Computer Engineering

It is not the intention that students would be admitted to the program as terminal MS students. Instead, this degree is designed as a "milepost" in the program of study for a student pursuing a PhD. This degree requires 30 credits, including eight courses or project courses and 6 credits for a MS thesis. Each student must complete at least one course chosen from each or the following three areas, and one additional course from any one of these areas: Computer Architecture (CS 2541, ECE 2161), Software systems (CS 2210, CS 2510, CS 2310, ECE 2186), Hardware Systems (ECE 2160, ECE 2192, ECE 2120).  

Each student must write and defend a 6-credit master's thesis. This requirement also includes the submission of a paper to a refereed conference or journal.

Requirements for the Dual MA/MS

The total set of mathematics and computer science courses taken to satisfy the dual degree program must include a subset of the course requirements for an MA in mathematics and an MS in computer science, as specified by the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, respectively.

Requirements for the PhD—Computer Science

Credit Requirements: This degree requires at least 72 credits of formal course work, independent study, directed study, and dissertation research. Of the 72 credits required for the degree, 12 must come from core courses: CS 2210 or CS 2410, CS 2710 or CS 2550, CS 2510 or CS 2520, and CS 2110 or CS 2150; plus any additional eight graduate courses, including at least two 3000-level courses. Students who joined the department in the fall of 2000 or later are required to take CS 2001 and CS 2002 which will count as one of the eight additional courses.

PhD Preliminary Examinations: Students must pass a preliminary examination by the end of their third regular semester. The preliminary examination is based on taking courses. A student must receive an A- or higher in four courses at the 2000-level.  At least 2 of the 4 courses for the preliminary examination must be required foundation area courses. Furthermore, the 2 foundation courses must represent 2 of the 4 different foundation areas.

Four foundation areas:

Architecture and Compilers (CS2410 or CS2210),
Operating Systems and Networks (CS2510 or CS2520),
Artificial Intelligence and Database Systems (CS2710 or CS2550), and
Theory and Algorithms (CS2110 or CS2150).

Comprehensive Examination: This oral examination is designed to determine that a student has sufficient depth of knowledge in a specialized area of computer science to undertake dissertation research on a topic within that area.

A student must pass this exam within three calendar years of passing the last one of the preliminary exams. Normally this exam should be completed within one to two years of completing the preliminary exams.

Dissertation Proposal: After passing the PhD comprehensive examination, the student prepares a proposal for dissertation research, under the direction of a faculty advisor. After obtaining approval of the dissertation proposal from the dissertation committee, and the approval of the assistant dean of graduate studies, a student gains the official status of a PhD candidate.

Dissertation Defense: Upon the completion of the dissertation and subject to agreement from the dissertation committee, the candidate schedules and announces a presentation, open to the University community, at which the research results are presented and defended.

Requirements for the PhD—Computer Engineering

This degree requires at least 72 credits. These credits must include the following categories:

Four core courses required (12 credits minimum). Each student must complete at least one course chosen from each of the following three areas, and one additional course from any one of these areas: Computer Architecture (CS 2541, ECE 2162), Software Systems (CS 2210, CS 2510, CS 2310 and ECE 2186), Hardware Systems (ECE 2160, ECE 2192, ECE 2120).

Seven courses (21 credits minimum) are elective and may be CS or ECE courses, courses from other disciplines, or research project courses (2998).

The specific program of study should be approved in advance by the Student's Research Committee (described below).

Examinations: Each student must pass the following examinations:

Comprehensive Examination: To complete the comprehensive examination, a student must satisfy both the following requirements not later than two years after entering the program:

  • Complete a total of five courses with a grade of A- or better. These courses must be taken from either the Core Requirements listed above or the CoE Elective categories and
  • Complete the four courses that satisfy the Core Requirements category above with a grade of B or better.

The particular of mix of five courses in part a) can be any combination of core or elective courses. However, any core course requirement that is not included in the five must be completed with a B or better in order to satisfy part b).

Preliminary Examination: This is an oral examination conducted by the Student's Research Committee. The Master of Science Thesis Oral Examination will satisfy the Preliminary Examination requirements.

Dissertation Proposal: Each student must present a plan for dissertation research to be approved by the Student's Research Committee.

Dissertation Defense: Students must orally defend their dissertation research to be approved by the Student's Research Committee.


Faculty Research

The CS graduate degree has its basis on a solid research program. Faculty participate in several research centers, with many different research projects that cover several research areas that are funded by government and industry. The research interactions span other Departments and Schools at the University as well as research labs at other academic, governmental, and industrial locations.

Course Listing

Faculty

 
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