​Resources for Current PhD Students

The most important resource for doctoral students, is the CSE Doctoral Program Guide. This document outlines all doctoral requirements, expectations, and procedures.

Oral Qualifying Exam

The oral qualifying exam should ideally take place within the first three to four semesters of study. Students, with the help of their advisors, identify a topic for the exam and assemble a three person committee. The oral qualifying examination tests students ability to read deeply the literature in their research area, to synthesize and to critically evaluate existing research results, to present these results in a scholarly and professional oral presentation, and to answer orally questions from the faculty about the literature. Please contact Cheryl Newman at least two weeks in advance to schedule the exam.

Admission to Candidacy (Portfolio Review)

Students should be prepared to present their portfolios no later than the fifth semester of study. To be admitted to degree candidacy, students must pass the oral qualifying exam, satisfy all breadth requirements, and complete at least nine graded credits of course work while a graduate student at Washington University at least six of which are CSE courses. Submit completed portfolios to Michael Brent. (See also: Portfolio Review Sample Guide.)

Dissertation Proposal

After students select a dissertation research topic, they must describe their research plan in a dissertation proposal consisting of a written proposal and a public oral examination presented to a five person committee. The dissertation proposal should be completed before beginning the fifth year of study. Contact Cheryl Newman at least three weeks in advance to schedule the proposal defense.

Dissertation Defense

At the conclusion of doctoral research, students must produce a written dissertation describing the work performed. This must also be publicly defended before a five person committee. Please refer to the Doctoral Dissertation Guide for a full description of formatting requirements, submission details, and other required materials. Contact Cheryl Newman at least three weeks in advance to schedule a dissertation defense.

Please visit the Graduate School's Guides and Policies page for information on:

  • Detailed Policies
  • Dissertation Template
  • Doctoral Dissertation Guide