Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Program Requirements

All PhD students must complete the following program requirements:

1. Safety Training 06-608 Safety Issues in Science and Engineering Practice (3 units)

2. Graduate Seminar 06-800 Seminar (1 unit) each semester of residence (does not count toward numerical unit requirements)

3. Sufficient units of required and elective courses

3. Thesis Work 06-900 Doctoral Research (units variable)

4. TA Courses: We ask our PhD students to act as TA's for three courses during their residence at CMU. We try to limit the responsibility to 5 hours per week to afford maximum time for research related activity.

5. The Qualifying Exam: An oral exam administered after one year of residency and based on research accomplishments and potential to that point. Students work hard on their thesis topic during the first spring and summer, and then present and defend their knowledge and accomplishments in a one hour interview consisting of a presentation (30%) and questions (70%).

6. A Research Proposal: A two-hour oral exam/presentation of the proposed thesis topic with an update of accomplishments and a statement of the scope of the work. This exam is conducted by the PhD students thesis committee consisting of four faculty including the Advisor(s)

7. A PhD Thesis: This extensive document describes the context, methods, and findings of the doctoral work. 

8. A Public Defense of the PhD Thesis:  This is typically a two-hour presentation of the findings and meaning of the work before the thesis committee and any members of the public who wish to attend.