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Master's Degree Requirements

For students who entered the program before 2012, previous degree requirements can be found at http://cs.ucdavis.edu/graduate/grad-reqPRE2012.html.

Admissions requirements: Consideration for Masterís (M.S.) program admission requires completion of Graduate Studiesí online application, with fee payment, by the stated deadline. Admission requires a bachelorís degree, three letters of recommendation, and a complete application form, including official transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores or IELTS score (if applicable), a statement of purpose, and a personal history statement.

  1. Prerequisites: In addition to the admission requirements stated above, applicants are expected to demonstrate proficiency at the undergraduate level in four fundamental areas of computer science and mathematics. The specified UCD courses exemplify the material:
  2. Computer Architecture ECS 154A
    Operating Systems ECS 150
    Programming Languages ECS 140A
    Theoretical Foundations ECS120 (Theory of Computations) or ECS122A (Algorithm Design and Analysis)
    Mathematical Foundations ECS132 or MAT135A or STA131A, and one additional upper-division mathematics course

    These are referred to as the undergraduate proficiency requirements.

  3. Deficiencies: Students may be admitted with one or more deficiencies in the undergraduate proficiency requirements. It is expected that the student will complete the undergraduate proficiency requirements by the end of the first academic year of residence. This deadline may be extended by approval of the Graduate Advisors Committee of the Graduate Group.

1) M.S. Plan I and Plan II

The Graduate Program of Computer Science offers two plans for the M.S. Degree with respective capstone requirements. Plan I requires successful completion of a thesis, while Plan II requires successful completion of either a project or a masterís exam. Students should decide, in consultation with graduate-group faculty, which option best suits their individual goals.

All options require 36 units of upper division and graduate coursework. At most 6 of these units may be from undergraduate courses. The following table summarizes specific requirements for the thesis, project, and exam options.

Option Requires No. of graduate courses required No of ECS 299 units allowed Committee consists of
Thesis A written thesis 6 12 Thesis Advisor plus 2 more faculty members
Project A project deliverable 7 8 Project Advisor plus 1 faculty member
Exam Oral or written exam 9 0 Three faculty members

While ECS 299 units may be counted toward the required 36 units, up to the limits specified above, no other course numbered 290 or above may count towards the 36 units.

2) Course Requirements

The courses a student will use in satisfaction of the 36-unit course requirement must be approved by the studentís Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor, or by a Graduate Advisor.

A student must have a GPA of 3.0 for the M.S. degree to be awarded, and a B or better in all coursework used to satisfy the degree requirements.

Full-time students must enroll in a minimum of 12 units per quarter. As per UC regulations, students may not enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses, nor more than 16 units of combined undergraduate and graduate level courses.

The breadth requirement requires the demonstration of proficiency at the graduate level in three of four specified areas: Theory, Systems, Architecture, and Applications. For each area, the student can demonstrate satisfaction of the breadth requirement in any of the following four ways:

  • Completing a Core course in the area with a grade of ďBĒ or better.
  • After failing to get a ďBĒ in a Core course, passing the Core Exam for that specific course.
  • Demonstrating that one has taken a similar graduate course at another institution and earned a grade of B or better. A Graduate Advisor must approve this option.
  • Challenging the Core course (ďCredit by ExaminationĒ) as per UC procedures and receiving a grade of B or better. Information on this option can be found at http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/ucdwebcatalog/academicinfo/credit.html

The following list the Core classes in each of the four areas:

Architecture Core ECS 201A Advanced Computer Architecture
EEC 270 Computer Architecture
4 units
4 units
Systems Core ECS 240 Programming Languages
ECS 251 Operating Systems
ECS 260 Software Engineering
4 units
4 units
4 units
Theory Core ECS 222A Design and Analysis of Algorithms
ECS 220 Theory of Computation
4 units
4 units
Applications Core ECS 230 Applied Numerical Linear Algebra
ECS 231 Large Scale Scientific Computation
ECS 234   Computational Functional Genomics
ECS 235A Computer and Information Security
ECS 236 Computer Security: Intrusion Detection Based Approach
ECS 252 Computer Networks
ECS 256 Performance Evaluation
ECS 265 Database Systems
ECS 267 Wide-Area Distributed Information Systems
ECS 268 Scientific Data and Workflow Management
ECS 270 Artificial Intelligence
ECS 271 Machine Learning & Discovery
ECS 272   Information Visualization
ECS 274   Automated Deduction
ECS 275A Advanced Computer Graphics
ECS 276 Advanced Volume Visualization
ECS 277 Advanced Visualization
ECS 278 Computer Aided Geometric Design
ECS 279 Computer Animation
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units
4 units

3) Special requirements: N/A

4) Committees

  1. Admission Committee

    Completed applications are evaluated by the Admissions Committee, with the assistance of other faculty in the Graduate Group. The Admissions Committee consists of six Graduate Group faculty. Based on a review of the entire application, a recommendation is made to accept or decline the applicantís request for admission. The recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval of admission. Notification of admissions decisions will be sent by Graduate Studies. Applications are accepted from September (when the admission system opens) through January 15 for the next Fall-entering class.

  2. Graduate Advisors Committee

    The Graduate Advisors Committee is composed of GGCS faculty members appointed by Graduate Studies. Every student who does not have a Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor will be assigned a Graduate Advisor from the Graduate Advisors Committee. Until a student has a Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor, the assigned Graduate Advisor will monitor the progress of the student and provide guidance on his/her academic program. Each GGCS graduate student is responsible for meeting with his or her Graduate Advisor at least once per quarter.

  3. Thesis Committee

    The studentís Thesis Advisor, in consultation with the student, nominates two additional GGCS faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee. These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy. The Thesis Advisor serves as Chair of the Thesis Committee. At least two members of this committee must be members of the Academic Senate of the University of California, and a least two members of this committee must be GGCS members. The thesis must be approved by all three members of the Thesis Committee.

  4. Project Committee

    The studentís Project Advisor nominates one additional faculty member to serve on the Project Committee. This nomination is submitted to the Graduate Advisors Committee for approval. The responsibility of the Project Committee is to supervise and evaluate the studentís project. A project must be approved by both members of the committee.

  5. Master's Exam Committee

    For students taking the Masterís Exam, the Graduate Advisors Committee, after consultation with the student, nominates three faculty members to serve on the Masterís Exam Committee. The majority of this committee must be GGCS members. The responsibility of this committee is to give the Masterís Exam. The format of the exam is described in Section 8(c).

5) Advising Structure and Mentoring

A studentís Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor supervises his/her thesis or project, and serves as Chair of the corresponding committee. A studentís Graduate Advisor serves as a resource for information on academic requirements, policies, and procedures in the absence of a Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor. The Graduate Program Coordinator assists students with appointments, requirements, university policies, and in identifying a Thesis Advisor or Project Advisor. The Mentoring Guidelines can be found in the graduate student handbook at http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/graduate/currentgrads.html

6) Advancement to Candidacy

After completing at least one-half the course requirements for the degree, a student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy. A student must file for candidacy at least one full quarter before completion of all degree requirements and before going on filing fee status. The Candidacy for the Degree of Master form can be found online at: http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms. A completed form includes a list of courses the student will take to complete degree requirements. Students must have their Thesis Advisor, Project Advisor, or Graduate Advisor sign the candidacy form. If the candidacy is approved, the Office of Graduate Studies will send a copy to the student, his Thesis, Project, or Graduate Advisor, and the Graduate Program Coordinator. If the Office of Graduate Studies determines that a student is not eligible for advancement, the GGCS and the student will be told the reasons for the applicationís deferral. Some reasons for deferring an application include a grade point average below 3.0, outstanding ďIĒ grades in required courses, or insufficient units.

If changes must be made to the studentís course plan after s/he has advanced to candidacy, a Graduate Adviser must recommend these changes to Graduate Studies.

7) Requirements for the Thesis, Project, and Master's Examination

  1. Thesis

    Research for the Masterís thesis is to be carried out under the supervision of a GGCS faculty member of and must represent an original contribution to knowledge in the field. A Masterís thesis is usually based on 6 to 12 units of research carried out under the 299 course number. The thesis should demonstrate the studentís proficiency in research methods and scientific analysis, and a thorough knowledge of the state of the art in the studentís chosen area. A Masterís thesis is a description of an original technical or research contribution of limited scope, or an advanced design study. The thesis research must be conducted while the student is enrolled in the program. The thesis is submitted to the Thesis Committee at least one month before the student plans to make requested revisions. All Thesis Committee members must approve the thesis and sign the title page before the thesis is submitted to Graduate Studies for final approval. Should the committee determine that the thesis is unacceptable, even with substantial revisions, the program may recommend the student for disqualification from the program to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    The student and Thesis Advisor must meet at least once a quarter with the other two members of the Thesis Committee to discuss progress and any changes in research objectives.

    The thesis must be filed in a quarter in which the student is registered or on filing fee. Instructions on preparation of the thesis and a schedule of dates for filing the thesis in final form are available from Graduate Studies; the dates are also printed in the UC Davis General Catalog and in the Class Schedule and Registration Guide issued each quarter.

  2. Project

    A project is carried out under the supervision of the faculty member who serves as Project Advisor. The topic and extent of the project is determined by the faculty member in consultation with the student. A typical project involves the practical solution (implementation) of a software system or an experimental study of a computer hardware/software design. The Project Committee specifies the project requirements, which may include the delivery of a software prototype system, an interactive demonstration, a written report, and/or an oral presentation of the study. All committee members must approve the project. The Masterís Report Form is then signed by the Thesis Adviser and forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies. Should the Project Committee determine that the project outcome is unacceptable, the program may recommend the student for disqualification from the program to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Available project topics.

  3. Master's Examination

    The examination is used to ensure that the student has acquired proficient knowledge in core and applied CS areas. The examination may be oral, written, or a combination of both, designated by the Exam Committee, with the objective to strengthen the studentís knowledge in selected core or applied CS areas that can best prepare the student for his/her professional career

    The examination may be taken once the student has completed required courses and advanced to candidacy. However, it is important that the timing of the exam satisfy the regulations as noted in the CCGA handbook (Appendix K, page 34, of http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/committees/ccga/ccgahandbook.pdf), which indicates that the capstone requirement be completed at or near the end of the coursework for the Masterís degree. A student is allowed to repeat the Masterís Examination only once. After passing the examination, a copy of the Masterís Report Form (which can be found at http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms) is signed by a GGCS Graduate Adviser and then forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies. The deadlines for completing this requirement are listed each quarter in the campus General Catalog (available online at the website of the Office of the Registrar or from the Bookstore).

    If a student does not pass the exam on the first attempt, the Exam Committee may recommend that the student be reexamined one more time, but only if the Graduate Adviser Committee concurs with the Exam Committee. The examination may not be repeated more than once, and the student is not allowed to retake the exam on a different topic area or in a different category (i.e., switching to Project or Thesis). The Exam Committee provides information concerning the timing and format of a second exam if a student must retake the exam after failing part or the entire first exam. Please note that Graduate Studies requires the Exam Committeeís unanimous vote to pass a student on the exam. A student who does not pass on the second attempt will be recommended for disqualification from further graduate work in the program to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

    For either Project or Examination, a candidate must be a registered student or on filing fee status at the time the program submits the form, with the exception of the summer period between the end of the Spring Quarter and the beginning of Fall Quarter. The Graduate Group must file the Form with Graduate Studies within one week of the end of the quarter in which the studentís degree will be conferred.

8) Normative Time to Degree

Plan I It is expected that the student will complete the breadth requirements within the first four quarters of residence. It is expected that the student will complete the M.S. Degree by the end of the seventh (7) quarter of residence, including all course requirements and the approval of the thesis. These deadlines may be extended only by approval of the Graduate Advisors Committee of the Graduate Group.

Plan II It is expected that the student will complete the breadth requirements within the first four (4) quarters of residence. It is expected that the student will complete all course work and project/examinations by the end of the sixth (6th) quarter of residence.

These deadlines may be extended only by approval of the Graduate Advisors Committee of the Graduate Group.

9) Typical Timeline and Sequences of Events

THESIS Year 1 Year 2
Fall ECS201A, ECS235A, ECS299 ECS299 ; advancement to candidacy
Winter ECS222A, ECS240, ECS299 ECS299
Spring ECS265, ECS244, ECS299 ECS299; thesis completed

PROJECT Year 1 Year 2
Fall ECS201A, ECS275 ECS260 ; ECS299
Winter ECS222A, ECS272 ECS299 ; advance to candidacy; project completed
Spring ECS226, ECS277

EXAM Year 1 Year 2
Fall ECS201A; ECS260 ECS235A; ECS252
Winter ECS222A; ECS240 ECS299 ; advancement to candidacy; exam passed
Spring ECS265; ECS244

Note that these samples do not take into account the studentís possible need of fulfilling undergraduate proficiency requirements. Depending on the added workload, the student may need additional quarters to complete the exam/project/thesis.

10) Sources of Funding

Financial assistance for graduate study comes in the form of fellowships, Teaching Assistant (TA) and Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions.

11) PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee Status

Information about PELP (Planned Educational Leave), In Absentia (reduced fees when conducting research out of California), and Filing Fee status can be found in the Graduate Student Guide: http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/publications

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

1) Admission Requirements

Consideration for admission requires completion of Graduate Studiesí online application, with fee payment, by the stated deadline. Admission requires a bachelorís degree, three letters of recommendation, and a complete application form, including official transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores or IELTS score (if applicable), a statement of purpose, and a personal history statement.

  1. Prerequisites: In addition to the admission requirements stated above, applicants are expected to demonstrate proficiency at the undergraduate level in four fundamental areas of computer science and mathematics. The specified UCD courses exemplify the material:
  2. Computer Architecture ECS 154A
    Operating Systems ECS 150
    Programming Languages ECS 140A
    Theoretical Foundations ECS120 (Theory of Computations) and ECS122A (Algorithm Design and Analysis)
    Mathematical Foundations ECS132 or MAT135A or STA131A, and one additional upper-division mathematics course

    These are referred to as the undergraduate proficiency requirements.

  3. Deficiencies: Students may be admitted with one or more deficiencies in the undergraduate proficiency requirements. It is expected that the student will complete the undergraduate proficiency requirements by the end of the first academic year of residence. This deadline may be extended by approval of the Graduate Advisors Committee of the Graduate Group.

2) Dissertation Plan

GGCS offers Plan B as described under Section 520 in the Davis Division Academic Senate Regulations. Plan B specifies a three member (minimum) dissertation committee, an optional final oral examination (made on an individual student basis by the dissertation committee), and an exit seminar.

3) Advanced Proficiency Requirements

All students who are in the Ph.D. program, or who expect to work toward a doctorate in computer science at UC Davis, are required to complete the Advanced Proficiency requirement. A student passes this requirement by a high level of achievement in graduate coursework and demonstrating ďadvancedĒ proficiency in the graduate breadth requirements. The GGCS breadth requirement includes demonstrated proficiency in four areas of computer science at the graduate level: Theory, Systems, Architecture, and Applications. The student can satisfy the above requirements in one of the following ways:

  1. Core Courses (45 units) (Breadth Requirements)
  2. Architecture Core ECS 201A Advanced Computer Architecture
    EEC 270 Computer Architecture
    4 units
    4 units
    Systems Core ECS 240 Programming Languages
    ECS 251 Operating Systems
    ECS 260 Software Engineering
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    Theory Core ECS 222A Design and Analysis of Algorithms
    ECS 220 Theory of Computation
    4 units
    4 units
    Applications Core

    ECS 230 Applied Numerical Linear Algebra
    ECS 231 Large Scale Scientific Computation
    ECS 234   Computational Functional Genomics
    ECS 235A Computer and Information Security
    ECS 236 Computer Security: Intrusion Detection Based Approach
    ECS 252 Computer Networks
    ECS 256 Performance Evaluation
    ECS 265 Database Systems
    ECS 267 Wide-Area Distributed Information Systems
    ECS 268 Scientific Data and Workflow Management
    ECS 270 Artificial Intelligence
    ECS 271 Machine Learning & Discovery
    ECS 272   Information Visualization
    ECS 274   Automated Deduction
    ECS 275A Advanced Computer Graphics
    ECS 276 Advanced Volume Visualization
    ECS 277 Advanced Visualization
    ECS 278 Computer Aided Geometric Design
    ECS 279 Computer Animation

    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
    4 units
  3. Summary: 45 units of upper division and graduate coursework are required. Full-time students must enroll for 12 units per quarter including research, academic and seminar units. Per UC regulations students cannot enroll in more than 12 units of graduate level courses (200) or more than 16 units of combined undergraduate and graduate level (100, 200, 300) courses per quarter.
  4. Core Exam.

    Those students who do not receive a passing grade (A- or better for PhD students and B or better for MS students) for the Core Courses must take the corresponding Core Exam. To prepare for the Core Exam, please review:

    There are two possible outcomes of the Core Exam. 1) Pass 2) Fail. If the student fails the Core Exam, the student is not permitted to advance to candidacy and will be asked to leave the program. A second attempt at the Core Exam is not allowed. Core Exams are offered in the Winter and Spring Quarters.

    [back to Course Requirements] [back to Advanced Proficiency Requirements]

4) Special Requirements

The Graduate Group requires all Ph.D. candidates demonstrate at least one quarter of college level teaching experience. We strongly recommend that this includes lecturing or leading a discussion section. In addition, each student is required to participate in an exit seminar, in which the research is presented to the UC Davis academic community. This seminar will be administered by the dissertation committee and will take place after all committee members have approved the dissertation, but before the dissertation has been filed with the Office of Graduate Studies.

5) Committees

  1. Admissions Committee
    Completed applications are evaluated by the Admissions Committee, with the assistance of other faculty in the Graduate Group. The Admissions Committee consists of six Graduate Group faculty. Based on a review of the entire application, a recommendation is made to accept or decline the applicantís request for admission. The recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval of admission. Notification of admissions decisions will be sent by Graduate Studies. Applications are accepted from September (when the admission system opens) through January 15 for the next Fall-entering class.
  2. Graduate Advisors Committee
    The Graduate Advisors Committee is composed of GGCS faculty members appointed by Graduate Studies. Every student who does not have a Thesis Advisor will be assigned a Graduate Advisor from the Graduate Advisors Committee. Until a student has a Thesis Advisor, the assigned Graduate Advisor will monitor the progress of the student and provide guidance on his/her academic program. Each GGCS graduate student is responsible for meeting with his or her Graduate Advisor at least once per quarter.
  3. Qualifying Examination Committee
    The student, in consultation with his/her Thesis Advisor, nominate five faculty members to serve on the Examination Committee. The Thesis Advisor must be selected before the Qualifying Examination Committee is formed. The Thesis Advisor must be on the qualifying exam committee but cannot be chair of the committee. The membership of the Qualifying Exam Committee must satisfy the following conditions: The chair of the committee must be a member of the Academic Senate of UC Davis, and a GGCS member. At least three members of the committee must be members of the Academic Senate of the University of California and GGCS members. It is recommended (by the Academic Senate) that one member of the committee be a faculty member outside of the Graduate Group in Computer Science. These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy. The Qualifying Exam Committee conducts the exam and submits results to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  4. Dissertation Committee
    The Dissertation Committee consists of three members who will guide the student in research. Graduate Studies must approve this committee. Guidelines for choosing the members of the dissertation committee are as follows. At least two of the members must be members of the Academic Senate of the University of California. At least two of these members must be members of the Graduate Group in Computer Science. The Chair of this committee must be a member of the Graduate Group in Computer Science. The Chair of the Dissertation Committee is the studentís Thesis Advisor. The composition of the dissertation committee is entered on the Advancement to Candidacy Form.
    The role of the Dissertation Committee is to advise the doctoral student on the research topic and methods, and then to review the final completed dissertation for acceptance. The Committee Chairperson, the Thesis Advisor, should determine the desires of the individual members regarding assistance with the research and dissertation review at the time the Dissertation Committee is constituted. Students are expected to meet with their Thesis Advisor at least quarterly. Dissertation committee members are expected to read and comment on a dissertation within four weeks from its submission. This time limit policy does not apply to summer periods for faculty holding nine-month appointments. The student and faculty will coordinate a timeline for the student to present the thesis to the dissertation committee. This timeline must allow all dissertation committee members enough time to fulfill their responsibilities within the four-week deadline.

6) Advising Structure and Mentoring

A studentís Thesis Advisor supervises his/her thesis or project, and serves as Chair of the Dissertation Committee. A studentís Graduate Advisor serves as a resource for information on academic requirements, policies, and procedures in the absence of a Thesis Advisor. The Graduate Program Coordinator assists students with appointments, requirements, university policies, and in identifying a Thesis Advisor. Mentoring Guidelines can be found at http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/graduate/currentgrads.html

7) Advancement to Candidacy

Before advancing to candidacy for a doctoral degree, a student must have satisfied all requirements set by the graduate program, must have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all course work undertaken (except those courses graded S or U), and must have passed the Qualifying Examination before a committee appointed to administer it. Normally, students advance to candidacy by the end of their 9th quarter; students must pass their QE by the end of the ninth quarter in order to remain eligible for academic appointments (TA, GSR, AI, etc.). The student must file the appropriate paperwork with the Office of Graduate Studies and pay the candidacy fee in order to be officially promoted to Ph.D. Candidacy. Refer to the Graduate Council website for additional details regarding the Doctoral Qualifying Examination at http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/gradcouncil/policiesall.html

8) Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Requirements

  1. Qualifying Examination
    1. General Information
      To be eligible for the Qualifying Examination, the student must have satisfied all course requirements, have removed all undergraduate deficiencies, and must have at least a 3.5 GPA in courses taken in the program of study. Passing this exam makes the student eligible for advancement to candidacy. The Qualifying Exam should be taken by the ninth quarter and no later than the end of the fifteenth quarter after admission to the Ph.D. program.
      The primary purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to validate that the student is academically qualified to conceptualize a research topic, undertake scholarly research, and successfully produce the dissertation required for a doctoral degree. The Qualifying Exam must evaluate the studentís command of the field, ensuring that the student has both breadth and depth of knowledge. It must not focus solely on the proposed dissertation research. In addition, the Qualifying Exam provides an opportunity for the committee to provide important guidance to the student regarding his or her chosen research topic. The Qualifying Examination is a formal, oral examination to ascertain the studentís readiness to conduct Ph.D.-level research in the major area of study.
    2. Written portion of the qualifying exam: the Thesis Proposal
      Prior to the Qualifying Examination the student must prepare a Thesis Proposal containing a thorough discussion of a proposed thesis topic. This paper must be submitted to the Qualifying Examination Committee at least two weeks prior to the examination. The Thesis Proposal is an independently prepared proposal describing the studentís dissertation-specific research aims, hypotheses, progress to date, and experimental approach. Concepts within the research proposal can be discussed with others (such as the studentís Thesis Advisor and peers), but the writing of the proposal should be solely the studentís work, as the proposal will also serve as evidence of the studentís proficiency in scientific writing The Qualifying Exam Committee is responsible for assessing that the studentís scholarly preparation and writing proficiency are satisfactory before advancement to candidacy. Furthermore, the Thesis Proposal will provide information that may be discussed during the oral exam.
    3. Oral portion of the exam
      The oral portion of the qualifying exam will be 2-3 hours in length. The examinations differ in structure, depending on the area of research and the members of the examining committee. The student will be asked to give a formal presentation of the thesis proposal. The committee will question the student on this proposal, and will question the student to determine the studentís competence in both the major and minor areas of study.
      The committee will evaluate the studentís general qualifications for a position in academia or in industry, the studentís preparation in his/her specific area of study, the studentís previous academic record, performance on specific parts of the examination, and the studentís potential for scholarly research as indicated during the examination and in the studentís publication history.
    4. Outcome of the exam
      The committee can issue any of the following grades for the examination:

      Pass Ė In this case student can apply to the Graduate Studies for Advancement to Candidacy for the degree. At this time a dissertation committee is officially selected to direct the student in the research, and to guide the student in the preparation of the dissertation. The committee must be approved by Graduate Studies.

      Not Pass Ė In this case, the committee has two options:
      1. It can decide that the studentís Thesis Proposal is not sufficient and ask that it be re-thought or re-written. In this case, the committee will ask the student to remedy the problems in the proposal and retake the examination within a specified time frame.
      2. It can decide that the studentís knowledge within the major and minor areas is not sufficient for continued progress for the Ph.D. In this case, the committee can ask the student to take some additional coursework and retake the examination within a specified time frame.

      Fail Ė In this case, the student is not permitted to continue in the Ph.D. program. The student can only retake the Qualifying Examination once. If a passing grade is not achieved by the second attempt, the student cannot continue in the Ph.D. program.

      If a unanimous decision takes the form of ďNot PassĒ or ďFailĒ, the Chair of the Qualifying Exam Committee must include in its report a specific statement, agreed to by all members of the committee, explaining its decision, the Chair must inform the student of its decision. Having received a ďNot PassĒ the student may attempt the Qualifying Exam one additional time; the Qualifying Exam report must list the specific conditions and timing for the second exam. After a second examination, a vote of ďNot PassĒ is unacceptable; only ďPassĒ or ďFailĒ is recognized. Should the student receive a ďFailĒ on the first or second attempt at the exam, the student will be recommended for disqualification from the program to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  2. The Dissertation
    1. General requirements

      The Ph.D. dissertation demonstrates the ability of the student to carry out an independent original research project of high quality. It reflects a level of attainment in research, not the fulfillment of a list of requirements. An acceptable Ph.D. dissertation is not only an original contribution to the field, but is generally characterized by a broad scope of applicability. The dissertation must be submitted to each member of the dissertation committee at least one month before the student expects to make requested revisions; committee members are expected to respond within four weeks, not including summer months for nine-month faculty. Informing committee members of progress as writing proceeds helps the members to plan to read the dissertation and provide feedback within this timeframe. The dissertation must be approved and signed by all members of the Dissertation Committee before it is submitted to Graduate Studies for final approval.

      Filing of the Dissertation with the Office of Graduate Studies is normally the last requirement satisfied by the candidate. The deadlines for completing this requirement are listed each quarter in the campus General Catalog (available online at the website of the Office of the Registrar or from the Bookstore). A candidate must be a registered student or on Filing Fee status at the time of filing a dissertation, with the exception of the summer period between the end of the Spring Quarter and the beginning of Fall Quarter. The Dissertation will be prepared, submitted and filed according to regulations instituted by the Office of Graduate Studies http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/filing.html. Satisfaction of this requirement must be verified by the Dissertation Committee Chair.

    2. Exit Seminar

      Each student is required to participate in an Exit Seminar, in which the candidateís research is presented to the UC Davis academic community. This seminar will be administered by the Dissertation Committee and will take place after all committee members have approved the dissertation, but before the dissertation has been filed with the Office of Graduate Studies. Adequate scheduling of the Exit Seminar is the responsibility of the student.

9) Normative Time to Degree

It is expected that the student will complete the undergraduate proficiency requirements within the first four quarters of study, the Advanced Proficiency within the first six quarters of study, and the Qualifying Examination between the sixth and ninth quarters of study. Completion of all requirements is normally accomplished in fifteen quarters of study. The maximal time period allowed for completion of each requirement is as follows.

A studentís Program of Study must be submitted and approved by the end of four quarters of study. The student must complete the Advanced Proficiency Requirements by the end of the sixth quarter of study. The student must complete the Qualifying Examination by the end of the ninth quarter of study. The student should complete all requirements for the Ph.D. by the end of the 15th quarter of study.

Students who fail to complete all the requirements within the ďnormalĒ time period are referred to the Educational Policy Committee of the Graduate Group. The Committee considers the studentís entire record, including examination scores and letters of support, particularly from the studentís Thesis Advisor. The Committee exercises wide discretion: it may decide that no action is necessary; that the student should be allowed more time in which to complete the requirement; that certain of the requirements should be waived; that certain remedial actions should be taken; or that the student should be advised to leave the program. The committee attaches great weight to the Thesis Advisorís letter of support. It is therefore extremely important that students involve themselves in research under some faculty member early in the programópreferably by the end of their third quarter.

10) Typical Timeline

Year One Fall Winter Spring
  ECS 201A Advanced Computer Architecture ECS 259 Optical Networks ECS 252 Computer Networks
  ECS 235A Computers and Information Security ECS 222A Design and Analysis of Algorithms ECS 251 Operating System Models
  ECECS 299 Research ECS 299 Research ECS 299 Research
 
Year Two (Program of Study submitted and approved) (Advanced Proficiency Requirements completed) (Application for Qualifying Examination)
  ECS 256 Performance Evaluation ECS 240 Programming Languages ECS 299 Research
  ECS 289F Finite Model Theory ECS 244 Concurrent Programming  
  ECS 299 Research ECS 299 Research  
 
Year Three (advancement to PhD Candidacy)    
  ECS 299 Research ECS 299 Research ECS 299 Research
  Qualifying Examination    
 
Year Four - Six EC ECS Research Units. Dissertation Research Completion. Exit Seminar Completion.

11) Sources of Funding

Financial assistance for graduate study comes in the form of fellowships, Teaching Assistantships (TA), and Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions. The standard form of Ph.D. graduate student support in a 50% TA position for the first three quarters and either a 50% TA or 45% GSR position for the remainder of a studentís academic career. The amount and type of aid that the department can offer varies from year to year depending on the number of TA and GSR positions that are available, the fellowships that the department is authorized to award, and the number of students requesting financial assistance. We strongly encourage all qualified applicants to apply for many external fellowships offered by both government and private agencies.

12) PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee Status

Information about PELP (Planned Educational Leave), In Absentia (reduced fees when researching out of state), and Filing Fee status can be found in the Graduate Student Guide: http://www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/publications/

13) Leaving the Program Prior to Completion of the PhD Requirements

Should a student leave the program prior to completing the requirements for the Ph.D., he or she may still be eligible to receive the Masterís Degree if they have fulfilled all the requirements. Students use the Change of Degree Objective form available at http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/PDFFiles/D065PetitionForChangeOfGraduateMajor.pdf