Jun 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Computing (PhD)

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The Computing PhD program is designed to address the growing needs of industries for scientific and engineering professionals with the advanced knowledge, technical skills, and abilities to conduct high-quality basic and applied research in computing.

Three types of students are eligible to apply for the Computing PhD program:

  • Those with a BS in computer science or closely related area but no master’s degree. Once admitted to the program, they will need to complete at least 38 credits of content coursework including 30 credits toward the completion of an MS degree, and at least 25 credits of research coursework.
  • Those with a relevant Rackham or UM-Flint master’s degree. Once admitted to the program, they will need to complete at least 8 credits of content coursework and at least 25 credits of research coursework.
  • Those with a different relevant master’s degree. Once admitted to the program, they will need to complete at least 24 credits of content coursework and at least 25 credits of research coursework

Students with insufficient backgrounds in computer science may be conditionally accepted into the program but must complete additional remedial courses which will not count directly towards program requirements.

Admission Information

The Graduate Programs Office serves as the primary source of information for all prospective graduate students, providing detailed guidance and resources to facilitate the application process.  Up-to-date and comprehensive details regarding admissions procedures, requirements and deadlines can be found on the program page on the Graduate Programs website.


A cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 is required for all graduate courses taken for credit.  At least 24 credits of graded coursework or directed study must be taken while in residence at UM-Flint. Courses elected as visit/audit do not meet this requirement, nor do CSC 801  and CSC 901 .  Students may use coursework completed in residence prior to enrollment in the PhD in Computing program to meet this requirement.

Content coursework includes: 

  • Mathematics-related coursework
  • Breadth coursework
  • Depth coursework
  • A cognate course

Research coursework provides doctoral students with the fundamental training for conducting high-level scholarly research used in the various fields of computing, and includes: 

  • Research methodology (CSC 700 ), required in the first year for the qualifying examinations
  • Advanced guided study (CSC 701 ), required for qualifying examinations
  • Research seminar (CSC 702 ), required each semester until graduation
  • Pre-candidacy dissertation research (CSC 801 )
  • Candidacy dissertation research (CSC 901 )

Program Processes

The PhD in Computing program has several components in addition to coursework.  For candidacy, two qualifying examinations must be passed:

Research Proficiency Examination

All students who aspire to receive a PhD must demonstrate potential for conducting original research. This is accomplished by completing preliminary coursework including research-oriented directed study in residence at UM-Flint.  Students must complete 4 credits of CSC 701  and have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher to sign up for the exam, which must be passed within the first four Fall and Winter semesters for progression in the program.

Dissertation Proposal Examination

The decision to admit a student to candidacy is based on successful completion of the dissertation proposal exam, within the first six Fall and Winter semesters. In addition to an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher, successful completion of the Research Proficiency Examination, and completion of Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCR) training, a commitment from an approved CIT faculty member to act as the student’s research advisor is required. Working with the advisor, the student will identify an appropriate topic and a doctoral committee, and submit and defend a proposal for research, consisting of a written proposal and an oral presentation by the student that is open to the public.


A student becomes a candidate in the PhD in Computing program after completing preliminary coursework, passing the qualifying and dissertation proposal examinations, and submitting the candidacy application form.  During candidacy, the student conducts research based on the dissertation proposal.  The dissertation defense is expected within two years of achieving candidacy.

Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation must contain research work completed by the Ph.D. in Programming candidate.  The student must submit a written paper containing research results and present an oral defense, which is open to the public.

Academic Rules and Regulations

See the College of Innovation and Technology (CIT) , College of Innovation and Technology Graduate Programs , and Graduate Study  sections for rules and regulations pertaining to all CIT graduate programs.


A minimum overall GPA of 3.5 is required.

Content Coursework (8 or 24 or 38 credits)

Students with a BS only complete all content requirements; those with a relevant master’s degree work with the advisor to select 8 credits of content coursework if the degree is from Rackham or UM-Flint, 24 credits otherwise.

Breadth Coursework

Grades of B+ (3.3) or higher in:

  • (4) , taken within the first year of enrollment
  • Courses from two different concentration areas below, completed with grades of B+ (3.3) or better, within the first three Fall and Winter semesters (1.5 years) for a full-time student with a relevant Master’s degree, or within the first four Fall and Winter semesters (2 years) for all other full-time students.

  • A student who does not complete this coursework within the required deadline can be placed on academic probation, unless the student petitions the PhD in Computing Committee to request additional time because of extenuating circumstances. Students placed on academic probation are given a new deadline by the PhD in Computing Committee to complete the coursework.

Depth Coursework (16 credits)

Grades of A- (3.7) or better in the following courses, which may not be completed via equivalency:

Cognate Coursework (0-4 credits)

One of the following:

  • At least 4 credits in graduate courses with prefixes other than CIS, CIT, CSC, CYB, DSC or SWE, with minimum grade(s) of B (3.0)
  • At least 3 credits of CIT cognate graduate courses from outside the computing division, with minimum grades(s) of B (3.0)
  • Completion of a University of Michigan master’s degree, which includes a cognate component, no more than 5 years before admission to the PhD in Computing program
  • Completion of a relevant master’s degree from another university, completed no more than 5 years before admission to the PhD in Computing program, which included coursework meeting the expectation of the cognate requirement. (These courses do not apply toward the minimum 24 or 36 credits in residence at UM-Flint required for the degree and do not appear on the University transcript.)

Research Coursework (25 credits)

Research Preparation (1 credit)

Research Seminar (0 credits)

Dissertation Research (24 credits)

A total of 24 credits from:

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