The PhD in Computer Science prepares graduate students for careers in academia or industry—from conducting research to writing code to developing systems and applications. Rigorous curriculum provides a broad background in the fundamentals of computer science, advanced courses in your focus area, and an intensive research experience that culminates in the writing of a dissertation. As a PhD student, you’ll work with our rapidly growing faculty on engaging research projects with the benefit of our location in Boston, and access to collaborations with at researchers at innovative companies, tech startups, state-of-the-art labs, and dynamic universities.
PhD programs are highly individualized, so we have created a sample curriculum and course schedule, along with brief descriptions of each year’s major activities. The hypothetical student has a Computer Science BS and plans to pursue a PhD. Your program may vary.
CS7400 Intensive Principles of Programming Languages
The student takes one intensive core course each semester and one or two courses in her specialization, if selected. She works towards identifying a research area and faculty advisor. (A student with a Computer Science MS works towards completing her research paper and consults with her mentor about any core courses needed to fill in background gaps.)
The student takes one core course each semester and supervised reading and research courses in her proposed study area. She may choose to obtain the Computer Science MS degree [Link to 10] provided all requirements are completed.
The student devotes almost all of her time to research. Continuing the work from Year 2, she undertakes a series of increasingly challenging research problems and completes her paper by the end of Year 3, if not earlier. By the end of Year 4, the student isolates a thesis problem and completes the Comprehensive Examination requirement.
The student works on the dissertation problem. By the end of Year 5, she is ready to write—or is already writing—her thesis and can defend her dissertation in theoretical areas. The thesis work extends to Year 6 in systems areas.
Admission and application requirements
Computer Science PhD degree candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or equivalent from an accredited college or university.