PhD in Computer Science

The official policies for this program may be found in the CS Graduate Student Handbook Supplement. If there is any conflict between this webpage and the official policies, then the official policies have precedence.

Computer Science faculty actively seek interdisciplinary collaborations within Tufts School of Engineering and across the university. Funded research includes projects with civil, chemical, electrical, and biomedical engineering departments, Tufts School of Medicine,  Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Tufts Medical Center, and the departments of biology, chemistry, astrophysics, classics, child development, and psychology in Tufts School of Arts and Sciences.

Doctoral candidates are expected to plan a program of research under the direction of their dissertation supervisor and with the guidance of a faculty committee. Upon completion of this research, the candidate must prepare and publicly defend their dissertation.

Doctoral degrees require the fulfillment of the specific department requirements including the number of courses with grades of S (satisfactory) or at least a B-, as well as successful completion of the qualifying examination and doctoral dissertation.

  • Course requirement: Students earn credit for 60 SHUs for the PhD degree of which 6 SHUs must come from 100-200 level courses.
  • Community/residence requirement: Fulfilled by enrolling in CS 291 and attending and providing feedback for 7 of the designated seminars for 4 semesters. This is the minimal requirement.
  • Teaching requirement: Every doctoral student is expected to assist in the teaching of a course for at least one semester.
  • Qualifying requirements: A student qualifies to begin research on their selected topic by completing the following steps:
    • Obtaining core competence.
    • Passing the qualifying exam consisting of a research presentation and an oral exam.
  • Prospectus requirement: After successfully completing the qualifying examination, the student must submit a thesis prospectus within 6 months.
  • Dissertation committee: One year after the submission of the prospectus, the student will convene a meeting of the 3 Tufts CS members and the 1 Tufts member outside of CS to review the progress and plans. Six months before the defense, the full committee, including the member external to Tufts, shall meet to map out the expectations for the dissertation
  • Dissertation requirement: The student will perform research under the direction of the advisor, write a dissertation about that work, have the dissertation read by a committee, and defend the work in an oral presentation.
  • Defense requirement: The defense includes a 45-60 minute talk open to the public where the student presents their research and answers questions followed by a closed session with the committee.

For detailed information on PhD requirements, consult the Tufts Graduate Student Handbook and the Computer Science Graduate Student Handbook Supplement.