Computer Science and Engineering (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE PHD)
Unit: Speed School of Engineering (GS)
Department: Computer Science and Engineering
Program Webpage:  louisville.edu/speed/computer

Program Information

General Information

The PhD degree program is intended for persons having an accredited master's and/or baccalaureate degree in computer engineering, computer science, or electrical engineering, but is available to those with other backgrounds. Applicants with other backgrounds should plan on taking some undergraduate background course work.

Students interested in the PhD degree program should consult the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science. 

Academic Performance

The J.B. Speed School of Engineering has established the following performance policies:

  1. The minimum grade point average requirement for good standing and satisfaction of degree requirements is 3.00 for all academic work completed while in graduate studies.
  2. Any student who does not satisfy the published performance criteria shall be placed in probationary status. Please review the Academic Standing section within this catalog in regard to Academic Probation.
  3. Students receiving graduate assistantships (teaching, research or service) shall be provided adequate training and shall be required to understand and adhere to University policies related to these areas. The performance of teaching, research and service duties by such students shall be periodically evaluated. Students with teaching assistantships shall be evaluated annually.
  4. Students who fail to meet performance goals or who do not meet other requirements as outlined in the admission letter, program requirements or the university catalog may be subject to academic dismissal from their programs.

All graduate students are expected to make steady and satisfactory progress toward the completion of degrees. Students who are not enrolled for a period of more than 12 months will be considered to have withdrawn from the program. Students who seek to return after such a period of time must contact the graduate program director. Students who seek to return after such a period of time must apply for readmission by completing a University of Louisville graduate application. If admitted, the student will be subject to catalog requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Degree Requirements

The award of a Doctor of Philosophy degree indicates that a student has attained mastery of a field and has demonstrated the capacity to perform independent scholarly research. The following degree requirements are mandatory of all doctoral candidates:

  1. The Program of Study must be completed with a 3.00 GPA or better for all academic work attempted in Graduate Studies.
  2. At least two years of study must be spent at the University of Louisville.
  3. One year must be spent in full-time residency (a minimum of 18 credit hours within a 12-month period or four terms of continuous part-time enrollment).
  4. The applicant for a Doctor of Philosophy degree must pass an oral and/or written qualifying examination.
  5. Admission to candidacy must not be later than the end of the ninth month prior to the awarding of the degree. Students enter Doctoral Candidacy upon completion of all course work, qualifying exams, required research credit hours and other co-curricular requirements. Students who are enrolled in Doctoral Candidacy are considered full-time students. Enrollment in Doctoral Candidacy status must be continuously maintained year round (i.e. Fall, Spring, and Summer) until the degree is awarded.
  6. A dissertation is required of all candidates.
  7. All candidates must pass a final oral examination. This is to be a defense of the dissertation and a demonstration of the candidate's mastery of his/her field.
  8. Ordinarily the equivalent of three years of full-time graduate study is a minimum. However, the candidate must complete all requirements for the degree within four calendar years after passing the qualifying examination.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are explained in more detail in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Admission Standards

The admission standards for the PhD program in Computer Science and Engineering are as follows:

  1. All admission applications for the program shall include:
    1. A completed application for the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies,
    2. An application fee,
    3. Results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE),
    4. At least two letters of recommendation, and
    5. Official transcript(s) for all previous post-secondary coursework.  All transcripts not in English must be certified as authentic and translated verbatim into English.
  2. The minimum requirement for admission is the baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution or current enrollment in an undergraduate Speed School program.
  3. The successful applicant will typically have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or above (on a 4.00 scale).
  4. The successful applicant will typically have a GRE combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning score of 295 or above.
  5. Admission in good standing shall be made only if all admission credentials have been received, evaluated and approved and all academic requirements met including demonstration of adequate background in foundational subject material. A student may be admitted provisionally if academic requirements are met but application materials are incomplete (usually missing letters of recommendation or official transcripts and/or official score reports). Students have one semester to furnish any credentials missing at the time of admission and may not enroll for a second consecutive term in provisional status.
  6. Any conditional acceptance shall be made on an individual basis and shall require a statement of the rationale for the exception, plans for monitoring progress and performance and stated success criteria. Such justification must be provided in writing and must be accepted by the program chair and the Speed School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  7. International students whose primary language is not English must show English language proficiency by either TOEFL/IELTS score or demonstration of a degree award from an acceptable English language institution.  The successful applicant will typically have a total TOEFL score of 80 or higher or overall IELTS score of 6.5 or higher.

Program Requirements

Normally, it is expected that the student will complete a master's degree before being admitted to the PhD Program. However, qualified applicants may be admitted directly to the doctoral program after receiving a baccalaureate degree. These students will be required to complete an additional 30 credit hours of coursework at the 500 and 600 level under an individual plan developed in conjunction with the department's Director of Graduate Studies.

Also, remedial work may be specified for any applicant who, in the opinion of the faculty, do not have a sufficient background.

The minimum curricular requirements for the doctoral program are:

Post-Baccalaureate Courses
Approved Master’s Level Course Work30
CECS Electives 118
CECS 799Dissertation Research9
CECS 795CECS Seminar2
Minimum Total Hours59

Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must have a minimum final cumulative grade point average of 3.00 for all academic work attempted in Graduate Studies.


Computer Software Engineering Core Courses

CECS 504Automata Theory3
CECS 516Fundamentals of Computer Communications and Networks3
CECS 530Design of Compilers3
CECS 545Artificial Intelligence3
CECS 550Software Engineering3
CECS 608Advanced Design of Operating Systems3
CECS 619Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms3
CECS 630Advanced Databases3

Computer Hardware Engineering Core Courses

CECS/ECE 510Computer Design3
CECS 525/ECE 516Microcomputer Design4
CECS 611Computer Architecture3
ECE 515Introduction to VLSI Systems3

Computationally Intensive Applications Core Courses

CECS 522Performance Evaluation of Computer Systems3
CECS 564Introduction to Cryptography3
CECS 609Multimedia Processing3
CECS 622Simulation and Modeling of Discrete Systems3
CECS 627Digital Image Processing3
CECS 628Computer Graphics3
CECS 660Introduction to Bioinformatics3
ECE 520Digital Signal Processing3
ECE 550Communication and Modulation3
ECE 560Control Systems Principles3
ECE 614Deep Learning3
ECE 619/CECS 633Computer Vision3
ECE 620Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence3
ECE 653Digital Communications3
ECE 661Sampled-Data Control Systems3

Advanced Mathematics Core Courses

IE/CECS 563Experimental Design in Engineering3
CECS 620Combinatorial Optimization and Modern Heuristics3
CECS 632Data Mining3
MATH 501Introduction to Analysis I 3
MATH 560Statistical Data Analysis 3
MATH 667Statistical Inference3
MATH 681Combinatorics and Graph Theory I3