Although different institutions have their own set of rules and procedures for the successful attainment of a PhD in Computer Science, they all normally revolve around some similar elements. Not wanting to zoom in on any specifics, you must first be able to get a foot in the door. By this, we don’t mean the actual sticking of your foot at the main door of the Computer Science department nor the door of its department head. Still along this slant, being a familiar face in the department helps. If you formerly obtained your Bachelor or Master’s degree from the same institution, it certainly counts as points in your favor. Some institutions may practice certain archaic rules of PhD course requirements whereby you had to have taken courses under a defined list of faculty members as each course carries weight in terms of credits or units. Wherever the logic may lie, perhaps it’s just a ruse to maintain job security.
To promote sharing of information as well as no stepping over boundaries into other people’s areas, students pursuing their PhD in Computer Science are expected to attend sessions whereby faculty members present their research and findings. In so doing, it also gives these students an idea on which areas to go into or avoid altogether for their thesis. This is also a great opportunity to zero in on worthy candidates as thesis advisors or mentors as you certainly don’t want Professor Deadwood as your beacon. In addition to an advisor, there will be occasions to present your topic to a select group or committee for approval. It is also their responsibility to monitor your progress, and finally give their stamp of approval on your completed thesis.
In addition to various exams to test your understanding of core principles of the subject, some institutions may insist on qualifying exams to ensure you are suitable material to produce a thesis on your topic of choice. Once again, a logical move to ensure eagles and sparrows maintain their separate flight paths. Extra PhD course requirements may require you to carry out some teaching work, either as an instructor or assistant to senior faculty members. Only by teaching, can one fully understand the information gathered and turn it into useful knowledge.