Expectations and Quality Control for Ph.D. Students A Case Study The University of Michigan model Similar processes throughout most U.S. departments Admissions Quality control beings at the time of application Applicants must submit • Transcripts • GRE Scores • TOEFL Scores (International Students) • Essay describing research interests • 3 letters of recommendation Screening Application folders • First read by groups of faculty in each area (hardware, software, theory, AI, interactive systems) • Decisions made by a faculty committee (“Graduate Committee”, using recommendations from the areas Accept/Reject Rates Admit approximately 20-25% of Ph.D. applicants; 30-35% of those admitted enroll Nearly all are guaranteed 5 years of funding, assuming satisfactory progress (differs in different universities) • No fixed time-line for degree completion, though deadlines exist for milestones Quality Control #1 Demonstrate breadth of knowledge in computer science and engineering Pass (B- or better) 4 courses: • Hardware, software, theory, AI Observe an honor code for all work Quality Control #2 Demonstrate depth of knowledge in an area High pass (A or A-) in two selected courses in the major area Quality Control #3 Demonstrate research potential Complete an independent project and pass an oral preliminary exam on it • Preliminary exam committee consists of 3 faculty members , but not the project supervisor After completing requirements #1-3, the student becomes a “candidate” The “Real Test” Make an original research contribution in computer science and engineering Complete and defend a Ph.D. Disseration The Dissertation Process 1. Work with an advisor to define a research topic and do initial work 2. Form a dissertation committee • At least 3 (preferably 4) faculty members, including the research advisor. 1 must be from outside CSE. 3. Write and orally present a dissertation proposal (pass, conditional pass, fail). The Dissertation Process (cont’d.) 4. Conduct the approved research, under the supervision of the advisor. Meet at least annually with committee members. 5. [[Present the work to the community in conference and journal papers.]] 6. Complete a written dissertation, and defend it orally in a public forum. Dissertation committee grades it (pass, conditional pass, fail). Summary: Quality Control Quality control begins with admissions. Early in the program, many checks on quality (courses, exams). During the dissertation, checks at proposal and defense. Includes multiple faculty members in the evaluation process throughout. Summary: Expectations Ph.D. Student has • broad knowledge of computer science • deep knowledge of a subfield, and • a demonstrated capability to produce and present research results In short, is ready for a faculty or industrial research position—is someone we’ll be proud of!