VIII. Graduate Programs
Computing and Information Science
The Department of Computing and Information Science offers the PhD degree in Computer Science in the fields of applied modeling, data and knowledge management, distributed computing, and natural computation as detailed below:
Most spaces are filled in March for entry the following September, and in October for entry the following January. Students who are considering applying to the department should first check the departmental website for admission procedures and deadlines.
Admission to the PhD program in CIS will normally require a recognized Master's degree in Computer Science or a closely related discipline obtained with high academic standing. Students who are considering applying to the department should first check the departmental website for admission procedures and deadlines. Entrants are expected to have previously studied the following areas in Computer Science:
and the following areas in Mathematics and Statistics:
Students who lack sufficient breadth may be required to complete specific courses as a condition of admission. Students entering the program are expected to have demonstrated good research potential, an ability to critically evaluate experimental or theoretical results, and strong communication skills. Evidence for these are normally provided by scholarly publications during and immediately following their Master's degrees
The TOEFL is required of all applcants whose first language is not English. For the Internet-Based TOEFL the applicant's overall score should be at least 89, with no individual component less than 21. For the Computer-Based TOEFL the score should be at least 250, and for the Paper-Based TOEFL it should be at least 600. The TOEFL requirement can be waived in exceptional circumstances only (e.g., applicants who have studied full-time for two years in a country where English is the native language, and in a university where English is the language of instruction).
Students who have obtained a Masters degree from a university outside of Canada are required to supply GRE scores (GRE General and/or GRE Subject in CS). Applicants with high GRE scores will be considered favorably in the admission process.
Admission without an MSc Degree
A student who has achieved excellent standing in an honours Computer Science degree (or an equivalent 4-year CS degree) and who wishes to proceed to doctoral study may enroll, in the first instance, in the MSc program. If the student achieves a superior academic record and shows a particular aptitude for research, the student may be transferred into the PhD program without completing the MSc degree. The application for transfer must be made between the end of the second semester and the end of the fourth semester.
A student who has completed an honors Computer Science degree (or an equivalent 4-year CS degree) may apply for direct admission to the PhD program. The successful applicant must have an outstanding academic record, breadth of knowledge in Computer Science, demonstration of research promise, and strong letters of recommendation.
Transfer From Another PhD Program
A student who wishes to transfer from another closely related PhD program at the University of Guelph into the CIS PhD program should submit:
Transfer from a PhD program at another Canadian university will follow the same principles.
Students may not enter the CIS PhD program as part-time. A full-time PhD student may apply for part-time studies only after the minimum duration for the degree has been completed. The application will not be granted unless the candidate has completed the course requirements and the thesis research is well established.
Once a student has been admitted to the PhD program, the following components are required for the successful completion of the PhD degree:
Duration of the Program
At least 5 semesters of full-time study must be completed in the doctoral program following completion of a recognized master's degree in Computer Science or a related discipline. At least 7 semesters are required for those who are permitted to proceed from the honours baccalaureate without completing a master's degree. The actual length of the program depends on the academic preparation of the student and the choice of research topic. A typical PhD student (after an MSc) is expected to complete the program in 12 semesters.
Each PhD candidate conducts thesis research by working closely with a thesis advisor. The advisor is a member of the CIS graduate faculty who provides academic guidance and interacts regularly with the student. Moreover, the student is required to have an Advisory Committee containing no few than three members of the graduate faculty (in the selection of whom the student normally participates). The student's advisor chairs the committee. At least one of the committee members must be from another department.
A PhD student, following the completion of a recognized master's degree in Computer Science or related discipline, is required to take CIS*6890 (unless the student has taken an equivalent course in the MSc program) and at least four other graduate courses. Of these four courses, at most one may be co-listed (that is, a combined graduate/undergraduate course), at most one may be a reading course (CIS*6660), and at most one may be taken from departments other than CIS.
A PhD student admitted without an appropriate MSc is required to take CIS*6890, and at least eight graduate courses. Out of these eight courses, at most two may be co-listed, at most two may be reading courses (CIS*6660), and at most two may be taken from departments other than CIS.
A PhD student is required to satisfy the breadth requirement in 8 areas of Computing Science divided into 3 categories:
Systems (category S)
Mathematics of Computation (category M)
Applications (category A)
A student must have sufficient background in six of the eight areas, including at least one from each category. A student has gained sufficient background in an area if the student:
The table below show how current graduate courses in the curriculum are mapped into each area. Note that the area for a Topics in Computer Science course such as CIS*6650 or CIS*6660 varies depending on the need and the instructor.
A student must satisfy the breadth requirement no later than the fourth semester after entering the program, otherwise the student may be required to withdraw from the program. A student seeking the approval of the breadth requirement should submit an application to the CIS Graduate Implementation Committee, normally at the start of the third semester. The Graduate Committee approves whether a student has satisfied the breadth requirement and suggests necessary courses if the requirement has not been met.
A PhD student should give two publicly announced research seminars on his/her PhD thesis research. The first seminar must be presented before the semester when the Qualifying Examination is completed, and no earlier than the third semester after entering the program. The second seminar must be presented after the semester when the Qualifying Examination is completed, during the final year but before the final semester of the candidate. Each seminar should be attended by the student's advisor and at least one other CIS faculty member of the student's Advisory Committee. The quality of the presentation is graded on a pass/fail basis. The PhD seminar requirement is intended for candidates to practice presentation and communication skills and to participate in the process of knowledge dissemination as part of the academic life.
The student must satisfy the breadth requirement before the Qualifying Examination (QE). The QE must be completed no later than the final semester of the minimum duration for the degree (either 5 or 7 semesters). The focus of the examination is to assess the candidate's ability and promise in the selected research area.
Arrangements for the QE should be made at leaste 5 weeks prior to the anticipated date of the QE oral presentation (Day 0). The student must submit a research proposal to the Advisory Committee at least 3 weeks prior to Day 0, and to the Qualifying Examination Committee at least 2 weeks prior to Day 0. For the composition of the Examination Committee, see Graduate Calendar > Degree Regulations > Doctor of Philosophy > Qualifying Examination. The research proposal should contain the following items:
The examination consists of an oral presentation by the candidate followed by questions from the Examination Committee.
Arrangements for the PhD thesis defence should be made at least 8 weeks prior to the anticipated date of the defence (Day 0). The student must submit his/her PhD thesis to the Advisory Committee at least 6 weeks prior to Day 0, and to the Examination Committee at least 4 weeks prior to Day 0. For the composition of the Examination Committee, see Graduate Calendar > Degree Regulations > Doctor of Philosophy > Thesis. The examination consists of an oral presentation by the candidate followed by questions from the Examination Committee.