Ph.D. Program

The Department of Computer Science at UTSA offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Computer Science.

Ph.D. Program of Study

See a detailed program of study.

The progress of the students in the Ph.D. program is specified on the Milestones Agreement Form: UTSA Doctoral Program in Computer Science. Students admitted to the program are required to sign the form and submit it to the Department of Computer Science within the first year of the enrollment into the program.

Doctoral Process

  1. Transfer of Graduate Credits
    Transferring graduate credits from other institutions should be done EARLY in the program and no later than the first year. To transfer graduate credits earned from another institution, submit the following documents to the Graduate Advisor of Record for an initial review: If any transferred courses were taken more than six years ago, UTSA requires a "Petition to Waive the University-Wide Requirement" form be submitted. The Computer Science department will submit this petition, with all required documentation, to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.
  2. Selection of Doctoral Advisor
    At the beginning of the semester after passing the Qualifying Examination, submit the required departmental Selection/Change of Doctoral Advisor form to the Computer Science department. The selection of the Doctoral Advisor is required to register for Doctoral Research.
  3. Dissertation Proposal/Oral Exam
    At least one month before the student's dissertation proposal, the student must form a Dissertation Committee.
    If the external committee member of the dissertation committee is not a UTSA graduate faculty, this person must be accepted by the UTSA Graduate Council as a Special Member of the Graduate Faculty. The procedure requires the external member to submit an Academic Vita to the Computer Science department and the department votes for this person as a special member. The Computer Science department will then submit the "Special Graduate Faculty" form to the Graduate Council for approval. External member applications must be submitted to the Computer Science department at least six weeks prior to Dissertation Defense (four months for summer defense) to allow time for sufficient processing.
  4. Advancement to Candidacy
    Once the student passes the dissertation proposal, and no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to graduate, the student’s Doctoral Advisor initiates the "advancement to candidacy" process by completing and submitting the following to the Computer Science department:
    • Qualifying Exam form
    • Application for Candidacy form
  5. Program of Study, Change of Catalog, and Petitions
    At the beginning of the final semester, submit the final Program of Study form. It must show completion of the degree requirements as listed in the student's Graduate Catalog.
    The Program of Study lists all the course requirements listed in the Graduate Catalog. If the student wishes to substitute a course(s), the student may file a petition for approval of the substitution. Submit the following documents to the Graduate Advisor of Record:
    • Petition letter
    • Supporting documents
    Once approved by the Graduate Advisor of Record, the Computer Science department prepares the "Petition to Waive University-Wide Requirements" for for approval by the Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and the Dean of Graduate School.
  6. Final Dissertation Defense
    Students meet with their Supervising Professor and Dissertation Committee to decide upon a date for defense. One week before the defense, the department posts flyers and contacts Computer Science faculty and students announcing the date, time, location, and an abstract of the dissertation. At this time, the Computer Science department prepares a "Certification of Completion of Dissertation Requirements for Doctoral Degree" form, which is signed by members of the student's dissertation committee on the day after the student passes the oral defense exam. This form is routed to the Associate Dean and the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.

Ph.D. Change of Program

Students wishing to exit the Ph.D. program may apply to switch to the Master’s Degree program in computer science. The student may apply for a M.S. degree in Computer Science by satisfying all requirements of the M.S. degree. All the graduate courses taken as a doctoral student except Research Seminar, Doctoral Research, and Doctoral Dissertation may be counted towards a M.S. degree. The passing of the doctoral qualifying exam and dissertation proposal exam satisfies the comprehensive exam requirement for the M.S. degree.

Students wishing to switch to the Master’s Degree Program must petition for a change in status from "Ph.D. degree seeking" to "M.S. degree seeking." The petition must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee prior to the deadline for applying for graduation.

Students supported by a stipend, a teaching assistantship, or research assistantship automatically rescinds the financial support and any tuition waiver upon change of status to an M.S. seeking student. Students who apply for the interim M.S. degree after being admitted to Ph.D. candidacy retain the status of a Ph.D. seeking student. Students who have Ph.D. stipends automatically rescinds the stipend and any tuition waiver upon changing status to M.S. degree seeking. Students who apply for the M.S. degree after being admitted to Ph. D. candidacy retain the status of a Ph.D. seeking student.

Dissertation Templates

You may write your dissertation using MS Word, LaTeX, or LyX.

  • There is an official Word template on the UTSA Graduate School website.
  • If you are a LaTeX/LyX user, there is an unofficial package including a LaTeX style, a LyX layout, and a sample thesis for UTSA thesis/dissertation. You need to have a recent TeX/LaTeX distribution (and the LyX if you want to use LyX) installed on your system. The sample thesis serves as a template, a sample, and a user manual. Compared to earlier versions of LaTeX packages, this package provides commands to collect basic thesis information and does the detailed formatting of the preliminary pages automatically. This makes the main thesis file much cleaner and easier to read. Since the package is not officially endorsed by the UTSA Graduate School, you would need to check with the Graduate School before using this for your thesis/dissertation.