Ph.D./M.S. Program Structure

Ph.D. Program Structure

Doctoral candidates are required to complete a total of 72 hours of graduate work for credit, of which a minimum of 36 hours in formal course work.  Formal coursework may include at most 6 hours of independent study. The remainder of the 72 hours, above the program requirements in formal course hours, should be in dissertation research hours. Some transfer credit from previous graduate studies may be applied toward the 72 hours if applicable. General requirements regarding Admission to Candidacy, Residence, the Qualifying Examination, and the Dissertation are set by the Graduate School and are described in the graduate catalog (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/catalogs/). Additional information can be found here, as well.

Outline of Ph.D. Course Requirements

  • 72.0 credit hours total
    • Minimum of 36.0 hours in formal coursework
      • Formal coursework may include at most 6.0 hours of independent study. 
      • The distribution of the formal coursework must contain at least one advanced graduate course (6000 +) in three of the four primary research areas - one of which must be Computing Foundations.
      • Please review your degree audit in YES to help you verify that you have satisfied or will satisfy all course distribution requirements.
    • The remainder of the 72.0 hours, above the program requirements of a minimum of 36.0 hours in formal course work, should be in dissertation research hours.
  • 3.5+ GPA expected for program; 3.0 GPA required for graduation
  • Additional requirements include:
  • Advanced Standing information is outlined here.

Requirements for the M.S. Degree in CS

Master of Science (M.S.)/Thesis Degree

Degree requirements: A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work and successful completion of a thesis defense.

  • Coursework - minimum of 24 hours
    • Four CS 6000+ courses, excluding CS 7999 and 8390, for at least 12 credit hours
    • Four additional courses approved by the DGS and advisor carrying graduate credit in CS or another department, at most one of which (3 credits) may be CS 8390, and excluding 7999, for at least 12 credit hours
  • Thesis and an oral thesis presentation which serves as the final examination.
    • 6 credit hours of research (CS 7999) may be associated with the M.Sc. thesis.
    • Arrangements should be made with the DGS to have at least one final, signed, and bound or electronic copy of the M.Sc. Thesis left with the Department.

Master of Science (M.S.)/Non-Thesis Degree

Degree requirements: A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work and successful completion of a portfolio.

  • Coursework - minimum of 30 hours
    • Four CS 6000+ courses, excluding CS 7999 and 8390, for at least 12 credit hours
    • Two additional CS courses carrying graduate credit, excluding CS 5250, 5270, 5281, 7999, and 8390, for at least 6 credit hours
    • Four courses approved by the DGS and advisor carrying graduate credit in CS or another department, at most one of which (3 credits) may be CS 8390, and excluding CS 7999, for at least 12 credit hours
  • Portfolio
    • Submit to advisor for review and signature.

Master of Science/Degree in Passing

The Master’s degree in Passing is available only to students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program. Ph.D. students may earn the M.S. degree upon satisfying all M.S. requirements (thesis or non-thesis). After passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam, Ph.D. students wishing to obtain the M.S. degree in passing should send a request to the DGS.

Accelerated Combined B.S./M.S. Degree

The accelerated combined B.S./M.S. degree is available only to Vanderbilt undergraduate students admitted to the accelerated combined B.S./M.S. degree program. Further information can be found in the Undergraduate catalog (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/catalogs/).