To ensure sufficient breadth at the graduate level, PhD students must complete at least 8 graduate courses offered by the Computer Science department (four by the end of their first year) with a GPA of at least 3.5, and a grade in each course of at least 3.0. The 8 courses must include at least two courses each in two of the three areas (Systems, Applications, Foundations/Theory) and one course in the third area. The remaining three courses can be selected from other graduate courses offered by the department, and in some cases, from other departments as needed to advance research. The Course Classification list is below.
The set of courses that students plan to take must be endorsed by their research advisor and the faculty Graduate Advisor. An approved study plan must be on file as part of completing the PhD degree requirements and advancing to candidacy. Please submit a PhD Study Plan to the Staff Graduate Program Advisor (SGPA) for review, or schedule an appointment with the SGPA to review your PhD Study Plan.
For complete details on the PhD program, see the Graduate Student Handbook linked from this page: https://www.cs.ucsb.edu/
With the approval of the Computer Science department's Graduate Advising and Affairs Committee (GAC), a PhD student may petition for exceptions for up to 3 of their 8 required Computer Science 200-level courses. These may be courses taken at another university, or from another department at UCSB. It is strongly preferred that you request exceptions for courses to fulfill electives over area requirements. This is an internal process and does not require approval from the Graduate Division.
To begin the process, you should write a paragraph explaining why this particular course is essential to your PhD studies. If it is a non-UCSB course, please provide a syllabus and/or course description to a faculty member in the department who teaches a course of similar material. The course need not be an exact equivalent of a course at UCSB but must be found to be comparable to graduate level courses in the department. The course exception must then be approved by 1) the “owner” of the course at UCSB, 2) your faculty advisor, and 3) the GAC. If the course is a UCSB course from another department, you make skip getting approval from the course “owner” but steps 2 and 3 still apply. Once you have the agreement of the course “owner” at UCSB (if applicable) and your faculty advisor, send the corresponding materials and approvals to the Graduate Student Advisor in the CS office, where it will then be sent to the GAC for review. A grade of B or equivalent must have been obtained in the excepted course in order for it to be considered for fulfilling one of your course requirements. Verification of course grade must be submitted to the GAC. Please also make sure you have an up-to-date PhD Study Plan on file, indicating how this course will be used to fulfill your course requirements.
All PhD students must enroll in CS 595N Faculty Research Seminar in the Winter quarter of their first year. In this seminar the Faculty will present their research focus to introduce students to the breadth of research within the department and to help students in identifying potential advisors. In addition to completing CS 595N, a PhD student must complete at least 4 units of CS 596, Directed Reading and Research, in their first year. PhD students are encouraged to get in the habit of registering for a minimum of four (4.0) 596 units every quarter. Once you complete your course requirements, you will register for a minimum of eight (8.0) 596 units every quarter until you graduate. Furthermore, all new graduate students must establish a GPA in their first quarter at UCSB. For CS students, this means completing at least one CS 2xx numbered course in your first quarter with a grade of B or better.
Graduate Courses & Their Area Classifications (Foundations/Theory, Systems, or Applications).