Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. in Computer Science at UNM is a research-intensive program, which trains students both for successful research careers in computer science proper and emphasizes the Department’s traditional strengths in interdisciplinary research. The program features quick-start introductory classes for students arriving from other disciplines, a small set of required courses covering core areas of computer science, and an intensive structured research experience with our internationally recognized faculty.

Doctor of Philosophy program

The five outcomes for the Ph.D. program are:

  1. Knowledge of Computer Science fundamentals appropriate for discipline and specialization.
  2. Depth of knowledge in specialization.
  3. Ability to conduct original and independent research.
  4. Ability to perform critical review of literature in Computer Science and area of specialization.
  5. Ability to communicate effectively.

PhD in computer science requirements and course work (PDF)

At a glance, the program consists of the following:

  • Computer science fundamentals (currently two courses) designed to help students without strong undergraduate backgrounds in computer science (or returning students who have been out of school for a number of years) integrate quickly into the program and succeed in the core courses.
  • Three core areas: Theoretical Foundations, Computer Systems, and Empirical Methods. Students are required to take at least two courses from each of the three core areas and achieve a 3.5 GPA in the core classes.
  • At least two additional regular CS courses.
  • At least one approved languages class, taken either as a core class or an elective.
  • Research practicum and milestone.
  • Colloquium.
    • Register for 4 semesters of Colloquium.
    • Give at least one department colloquium before graduation (replaces requirement for one talk each year).
  • One-semester teaching requirement, or equivalent.
  • Dissertation proposal.
  • Dissertation defense.
  • An annual evaluation by the department faculty.

It is intended that students will take the core courses and electives early in their career at UNM, which we will implement through advising. Core courses, however, must be completed at least one semester before the dissertation proposal is defended; they do not need to be completed before the Research Milestone is passed.

Dissertation information


Residency requirements

Core curriculum

Committee on studies

The Research Milestone