The University of Arizona

Graduate Info

PhD External Minor


Doctoral students intending to minor in Computer Science must apply for admission to the minor. The admission process is used to ensure that students are qualified to undertake graduate-level courses in Computer Science.

A well-prepared applicant should be proficient in a high-level programming language such as C or C++, and have a solid background in the following areas: (1) mathematics, including calculus and discrete mathematics; (2) machine architecture; (3) programming languages, including exposure of high-level languages (e.g., Java, LISP, Icon); (4) data structures; (5) algorithm analysis; (6) theory of computation; and (7) software systems, including compilers and operating systems. Applicants lacking preparation in one or two of these areas may qualify for the minor with the stipulation that they remedy these deficiencies, if such missing background would be prerequisite for courses in their proposed minor program. Deficiencies are normally remedied by auditing undergraduate courses in the department.

Applicatons will include a proposed plan of study. Feel free to contact regarding admissions requirements and a proposed minor program of studies prior to enrolling in courses or applying to the minor.

To apply for the minor, complete the form PhD Minor Application for Admission/Qualification (PDF).

Course Requirements

A PhD minor consists of twelve units of CSC courses. At least 9 units must be from courses among the Comprehensive Examination Core Topics in computer systems (CSc 525, 552, 553, 576), theory (CSc 545, 573), software systems (520, 522, 560) and applications (533, 537, 577). The remaining 3 units are an unrestricted Computer Science elective. More advanced courses can be substituted for courses covering the Comprehensive Exam Core Topics, as long as the student is adequately prepared for examination in three of the core course areas tested in the Minor Written Comprehensive Exam. A grade of `A' or `B' must be earned in all minor courses.


The faculty member that is designated as the Computer Science PhD minor faculty advisor (for non-CS students) each year will review minor applications and serve as a resource for questions, as needed. Each student admitted to the minor should seek out and identify a faculty advisor in Computer Science with whom they have taken multiple courses and/or aligns with their research interest for the major. This faculty advisor will serve on the student's exam committees.

The Qualifying Examination in Computer Science for the PhD minor is automatically waived provided a student has been admitted to the minor and has removed any admission deficiencies.

The Comprehensive Examination has written and oral components in both the major and minor fields of study; it is taken when all course work has been completed.


The Computer Science Minor Written Comprehensive Examination is given as a colloquium requirement (CSC 695A) to be taken during the last semester of minor coursework. The student must attend five research colloquia held in the Department of Computer Science to successfully pass this class.


CSC 695A must be completed prior to the Oral Comprehensive Exam being completed in the minor and major. Doctoral minor students are required to successfully answer questions from their Computer Science PhD minor faculty advisor in the Oral Comprehensive Exam based upon both core and elective courses in their minor program of study.

The Computer Science PhD minor faculty advisor may attend the Final Dissertation Defense Oral Exam or may wave attendance, unless the student requests attendance or the major department requires minor representation at the exam.