Undergraduate Preparation for Admission.
Typically, incoming students will have an undergraduate degree in computer science, though students may have an undergraduate degree in any field. Additionally they must have significant experience in software development. The ideal applicant is one who shows a considerable analytical depth in the practice of software development, typically gained from first-hand experience with large projects. Students admitted without a major in computer science, informatics, or equivalent will be expected to take undergraduate courses to fill any gaps.
Incoming students who already have a M.S. in Computer Science or closely related field may be exempted from (part of) the pre-candidacy course requirements by petition to the Graduate Dean, as filed by the student’s faculty advisor.
Pre-Candidacy Course Requirements
Students must complete the software engineering core courses (SWE 211), five elective courses and at least three quarters of individual study and/or thesis supervision courses. Students must take additional courses of their own choosing, or additional individual studies, so to fulfill 48 credits before advancement to candidacy. The selection of courses should form a coherent educational plan to be approved by the student’s faculty advisor.
All five elective courses must be regular, 4-unit courses from the School of ICS. At least three of the elective courses should be from the SWE 2xx series. Individual study, thesis supervision, and seminars do not qualify as electives.
Additionally, students are expected to attend at least 20 talks from within the several seminar series in ICS. Attendance bears no course credit, but it is required for advancement to candidacy. The student’s faculty advisor is responsible for ensuring this requirement is met.
|INF 211: Software Engineering
|5 Electives from the school of ICS – at least two from the SWE 2xx series
|Three quarters 299 (Independent study)
|Attend at least 20 talks/write summaries
Advancement (Year 3)
Students must find a faculty advisor and successfully complete a research project with that faculty member. The research project should be done over at least two quarters of independent study with that faculty member. The goal of this research assessment is to introduce the student to the practice of scientific publication.
Based on the project, the student must produce a research paper of publishable quality. This research paper must be reviewed by three faculty members in a peer-review process, revised by the student, and approved by the three faculty members.
The research assessment is graded Ph.D. PASS, M.S. PASS or FAIL. In case of M.S. PASS or FAIL, the student can re-submit the paper at most one more time within the maximum period of six months. A second M.S. PASS or FAIL results in disqualification from the doctoral program.
Advancement to Candidacy Examination
Each Ph.D. student must pass the oral advancement to candidacy exam, which assesses the student’s ability to conduct, present, and orally defend research work at the doctoral level. The research project and paper are the basis for the student’s oral advancement to candidacy exam. The oral candidacy exam consists of the research presentation by the student, followed by questions from the candidacy committee.
The student must complete the course requirements, and pass the research assessment prior to advancing to candidacy. The candidacy committee will consist of five faculty members, the majority of whom must be members of the student’s program, and is conducted in accordance with UCI Senate regulations.
Dissertation Proposal (Year 4–5)
Students are required to complete a doctoral dissertation in accordance with Academic Senate regulations. In addition, they must pass an oral thesis defense which consists of a public presentation of the student’s research followed by an oral examination by the student’s doctoral committee. The committee must approve the thesis unanimously.
The normative time for advancement to candidacy is three years. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is six years, and the maximum time permitted is seven years.
Dissertation Defense (Year 5–6)
The student must complete the course requirements, and pass the two qualifying examinations prior to advancing to candidacy. The candidacy committee will consist of five faculty members, the majority of whom must be members of the student’s program, and is conducted in accordance with UCI Senate regulations.
The Dissertation Topic Proposal and Dissertation Defense are fairly routine across the PhD programs available in the Department of Informatics. Please see the general pages for those topics, including the announcement policy for public exams.