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In the computer science department at Dartmouth, graduate students interact closely with world-class researchers in a tight-knit, collegial environment that provides abundant opportunities for both intra- and interdisciplinary research. We actively collaborate with researchers in engineering, business, mathematics, the arts, biology, sociology, and medicine. Our department also boasts small class sizes, award-winning instructors, and a lively departmental spirit. All students have access to state-of-art facilities and opportunities to start research the first year.
During the first year, students engage in research projects with faculty and start to take a set of core graduate courses and topics courses. In the second year and beyond, students become progressively more engaged in research while completing their course requirements. The requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science are as follows:
- Admission to the degree program by an admissions committee of the Computer Science faculty.
- Students should take a minimum of two terms of research in both their first and second years and be supervised by a tenure-track faculty member.
- By the beginning of the second year each student should write a high-quality paper that describes in detail his or her research efforts and results to date, including motivation, relation of the student’s work to the work of others, and specifics about results or obstacles faced in obtaining results.
- By the end of spring term of the second year, each student must have a Ph.D. advisor who is a member of the tenure-track faculty in Computer Science. Students may change advisors after this point, but they should not be without an advisor for more than a term.
- Completion of a course of study that includes the following:
- COSC 170 (Numerical and Computational Tools for Applied Science), COSC 231 (Advanced Algorithms), and COSC 258 (Advanced Operating Systems). These are the breadth courses . Note that these courses have prerequisites that are listed with the description of each course.
- All students must pass at least eight courses numbered between 100 and 199 or between 211 and 294, including the breadth courses listed in requirement (a) above. The special topics courses, numbered 149 (Topics in Algorithms and Complexity), 169 (Topics in Computer Systems), and 189 (Topics in Applied Computer Science), may be taken multiple times and will be counted as distinct courses for this purpose. At most one course from outside Computer Science may be substituted, with permission of the departmental advisor to Ph.D. students.
A student’s course of study is subject to the approval of the depart-mental advisor to Ph.D. students. Students normally take the breadth courses specified in requirement (a) above by the end of their second year.
- Students are expected to pass the Research Presentation Exam by the end of the winter term of their third year. An examining committee consisting of three faculty members, appointed by the departmental advisor to Ph.D. students, will select a paper for the student to present. The student will have a month to read the paper, and will then present the paper to the committee and will orally answer questions on the paper. The committee will evaluate the student’s presentation and performance answering questions, and will determine whether the student passes the examination. A student is allowed two attempts to pass the exam. In a second attempt, the student is assigned a new paper, but not necessarily a new committee. Passing the Research Presentation Exam is a prerequisite to thesis proposal (see requirement 8 below). For more details on this exam, consult the Computer Science department web page.
- At least one term of participation in undergraduate teaching. That is, the student must pass COSC 296 (Supervised Undergraduate Teaching).
- Each student must display readiness for research in one area by giving a written and a public oral presentation of his or her research plan. This thesis proposal will be judged by a faculty committee which shall be formed for the purpose of guiding the student's research; the rules used for the composition of this committee are the same as for a Ph.D. defense committee; this committee does not require the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, but must be approved by the departmental advisor to Ph.D. students. The presentation will be followed by a question period in which the student demonstrates mastery of the relevant area and defends the proposed thesis plan.
- Six terms in residence at Dartmouth. (This is a College requirement.)
- Preparation of a thesis acceptable to a faculty committee and a public defense of this thesis. The rules governing the composition of this committee are stated on the department's website. This committee must be approved by department advisor to Ph.D. students and the Dean of Graduate Studies. All members of the committee shall read and sign the thesis in its final form.
The required components of your application are:
- The online application form
- Three (3) letters of recommendation
- All applicants should upload a scanned copy of their transcripts. Applicants should not send an official transcript to the Graduate Office unless they are admitted and accept our offer of Admission.
- All applicants may self report GRE and TOEFL scores. However, official scores from ETS should be sent to our office for all applicants.
- TOEFL or IELTS scores (required for non-native English speakers, photocopy accepted, original required upon admission)
- The $40 application fee
Like many graduate programs, we base our admissions decisions primarily on the information requested above. We have no minimum test scores. We recognize that you may have talents and experience that do not shine through the forms and test scores.
Use the Application Essay section of the online application to give additional information. Do you have a specific reason for coming to Dartmouth? Specific goals for your study? Significant work experience? Why do you want to do advanced training in computer science? Include any publications you have authored.
In the Computer Science Supplement section of the online application, attach examples of your work. This is also the place where you can attach a resume.
At the discretion of the admissions committee, we award stipends as well as tuition grants without stipend. The stipend awards cover tuition waiver and a payment for living expenses for nine months of each year for five years, as long as satisfactory progress is made toward the Ph.D. The stipend for 2015-2016 will be set in early 2015 (the stipend for 2014-2015 is $2,310 per month). Health insurance cost for this academic year, 2012-2013, has been covered by the college for full-time students. Graduate students who receive support contribute to the program by teaching or grading undergraduate courses, assisting with advanced courses, and participating in research projects. Additional stipend is provided for the summer months if the student performs research or teaching assistance during that period.
There is no separate application for financial aid. Every applicant is considered for financial aid, unless you say that you do not need financial support. If you do not need support, please indicate this on the application form, and tell us how you expect to be supported.