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PhD Program of Study Process

The Ph.D. Program of Study is designed to allow students some flexibility to develop their curriculum in accordance with the Ph.D. graduation requirements and with the expectations of their Program of Study committee.

Students are assigned three committee members during the month of September (first month of starting the Ph.D. program). The first member is assigned based on the suggestions by the student and the other two members (a faculty member from the student's area of interest and a faculty member outside the area of interest) are assigned by the academic office. Effective Fall 2020, the student's (prospective) advisor can serve as a committee member.

Students must prepare the Program of Study form in consultation with their Program of Study committee through individual meetings, a group meeting, or other forms of correspondence. Students will discuss their area of interests with their committee to determine what required courses must be completed and develop a strategies for meeting educational and career goals as well as the Ph.D. graduation requirements.

  1. Required Coursework: A minimum of three courses must be identified as required courses.
  2. Remaining Coursework: Enter the remaining courses you propose to take, to meet the minimum credit hours required for your degree.
  3. Strategy: brief explanation of the motivation for the choice of coursework.

Here is a "Sample" of a completed program of study to view. Students must have all three committee members sign off on the completed Program of Study form and return the signed copy to the Academic Office by December 15th. The Program of Study form may be altered by the student at any time, but a revised copy must be completed and approved by the Program of Study committee if any of the "Required Coursework" is changed. The revised Program of Study form, with signatures, must be turned into the Academic Office.

Requests for a change of a Program of Study committee member may be submitted to Viveka P. Kudaligama ( for consideration.

Note: Students' progress with respect to their Program of Study and the quality of the Program of Study itself are open to evaluation at the annual area meetings, where all Ph.D. students are evaluated. For a student who is not making satisfactory progress in terms of Qualifying Examination preparation, depth of coursework, breadth of coursework, and so on, will receive a warning indicating the requirements to be completed.

How to access the Program of Study Form

The Program of Study Form is an online form available through My.CS portal. (The Fall 2018 form will be made available soon. Students may use the sample form for initial development of their Program of Study coursework.) Students can "Save" the form and return to complete the form over multiple sessions. Once all data is entered, students must click "Submit" at the bottom of the form, which closes the form. After the form is submitted, please print out a hard copy of the form. Students must have their committee members sign off on the paper form and return it to the Academic Office by December 15th.  (First-year PhD students in the CS 591 PHD seminar may have an earlier deadline to submit the signed form.)

A few things to remember when completing this online form.

  1. When entering in a CS 598 and CS 591course, it is important that you start the course name off with the section number - RHC Special Topics or PHD Advanced Seminar. We need to know what section you plan to complete when entering in a 598 or 591. This also goes for any 498 courses as well.
  2. Two courses can be entered for one required course. Students should use this if the committee says that either course would be acceptable. To do this, enter in the first course and click "Add". Then under "Action" next to the course that was just added, click on the "OR". This will allow you to add the other course. This means that you must complete one of these two courses in order to meet that required course requirement.
  3. When entering in "Strategy", "General Comments", or any other comments in the text boxes, avoid using apostrophe.

Any problems with accessing or completing the online Program of Study form, please contact either Viveka P. Kudaligama ( or Engineering Tech Support (

Additional Recommendations and Information to Consider

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Graduate Advising

A Guiding Hand for Grads - Our Academic Office is available to assist Illinois CS graduate students every weekday.