Doctor of Philosophy - Computer Science

Spotlight on Our Graduate Computer Science Faculty


Tracy Camp


Joined CSM in 1998

Research Interests:

Computer network simulations studies and the use of wireless sensor networks in geosystems.

The PhD degree program is sufficiently flexible to prepare candidates for careers in industry, government, or academia. Course work provides a strong background in computer science. In many cases, individual research projects encompass more than one research area. Focus areas include:

  • Applied Algorithms and Data Structures is an interdisciplinary research area that is applied to areas such as VLSI design automation, cheminformatics, computational materials, computer-aided design, and cyber-physical systems.
  • Computer Graphics and Image Processing interests span scientific visualization, computer graphics, computational geometry and topology, data compression, and medical image analysis.
  • High Performance Computing is an area that spans parallel processing, fault tolerance and checkpointing, real number error/erasure correcting codes, random matrices, numerical linear algebra algorithms and software, and computational science and engineering. The goal of this research area is to develop techniques, design algorithms, and build software tools for computational science applications to achieve both high performance and high reliability on a wide range of computational platforms.
  • Wireless Networks includes research in mobile ad hoc networking, mobile and pervasive computing, and sensor networks. Focus areas include credible network simulation, cyber-physical systems, middleware, mobile social applications, and dynamic data management. Interdisciplinary research also exists, mainly in the use of wireless sensor networks for environmental monitoring and development of energy efficient buildings.

A course of study leading to the PhD degree can be designed either for the student who has completed the master's degree or for the student who has completed the bachelor's degree.

Following is a brief summary of the Doctor of Philosophy Program with an emphasis in Computer Science. Students who have been admitted should review:

Course Requirements

The following core courses are required of all students. Students who have taken equivalent courses at another instituition may satisfy these requirements by transfer.

Required Courses

Along with:

  • SYGN 502 - Introduction to Research Ethics

Course descriptions of both graduate level courses and senior level courses are available for you to review.

Qualifying Examination

Students desiring to take the PhD Qualifying Exam must have:

  1. (if required by your advisor) taken SYGN 501 The Art of Science (previously or concurrently),
  2. taken at least four CSCI 500-level courses at CSM, and
  3. maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher in all CSCI 500-level courses taken.

The PhD Qualifying Exam will be offered once a semester; see the timeline for the exam in the steps below. Each PhD Qualifying Exam comprises TWO research areas.

Step 1. A student indicates intention to take the CS PhD Qualifying Exam by choosing two research interest areas from the following list (which is subject to change based on the faculty research profile): algorithms, education, graphics, high-performance computing, and networks. Students must inform the CS Graduate Director of their intention no later than the first class day of the semester.

Step 2. The CS Graduate Director creates an exam committee of (at least) four appropriate faculty. The exam committee assigns the student deliverables for both research areas chosen. The deliverables will be some combination from the following list:

  • read a set of technical papers, make a presentation, and answer questions
  • complete a hands-on activity (e.g., develop research software) and write a report
  • complete a set of take-home problems
  • write a literature survey (i.e., track down references, separate relevant from irrelevant papers)
  • read a set of papers on research skills (e.g., ethics, reviewing) and answer questions

Note: The student does not need to be outstanding in all components of the exam to pass.

Step 3. The student must complete all deliverables no later than the Monday of Dead Week.

Step 4. Each member of the exam committee makes a recommendation on the deliverables from the following list:

  • strongly support
  • support
  • do not support

To pass the PhD Qualifying Exam, the student must have at least TWO "strongly supports" and at most ONE "do not support". The student is informed of the decision no later than the Monday after finals week. A student can only fail the exam one time. If a second failure occurs, the student has unsatisfactory academic performance that results in an immediate, mandatory dismissal of the graduate student.

Doctoral Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation, comprising original work in computer science, must be completed and defended in an oral examination.

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