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Programming and Breadth Requirements

Effective September 2012

For Ph.D. Students beginning in Fall 2012

In addition to the general exam, two requirements must be satisfied: breadth and programming.

I. Programming

This requirement can be satisfied in either of two ways - through successful completion of a project that involves substantial programming (done under faculty supervision) or by taking a course and receiving a satisfactory grade (normally B+ or higher). Acceptable courses are 426, 429, 461, 518, 526, 561, or any approved graduate course. The requirement must be completed by the end of year 4.

II. Breadth

A total of 6 courses will be required. The first three constitute the core breadth requirement. You must take one course from each group -- AI, Systems, and Theory -- from the courses listed below. The remaining three courses can be any 400 or 500-level course from any department in the University, with approval required from your academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies for courses outside of Computer Science.

All courses must be taken for a grade. A grade of A- or higher will normally be expected. However, all grades will be reviewed by the faculty and a lower grade may be acceptable based on your total record.

Individual research areas may set additional requirements for their students; they may specify certain courses to be taken or may require that courses in excess of the departmental requirement be taken.

Core Course List

Artificial Intelligence

  • 402 Artificial Intelligence
  • 424 Fundamentals of Machine Learning
  • 495 Neural Networks 
  • 511 Theoretical Machine Learning
  • 513 Foundations of Probabilistic Modeling


  • 475 Computer Architecture (See ELE 475)
  • 518 Advanced Computer Systems
  • 561 Advanced Computer Networks


  • 510 Programming Languages
  • 516 Automated Reasoning About Software
  • 521 Advanced Algorithm Design
  • 522 Computational Complexity



To be readmitted you must satisfy the following schedule:

  • Year 1: Successful completion of 3 courses + research progress
  • Year 2: Successful completion of 4th course (including all three core breadth courses) + general exam
  • Year 4: Successful completion of last two courses, for a total of 6

The Master of Arts degree can be awarded after successfully completing all the year 2 requirements -- 3 core courses, one additional course, and passing the general exam.

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