Ph.D. Program Requirements

Each of our Ph.D. programs has a distinct set of curricula and requirements.

Ph.D. in CS (Pittsburgh)

As a Ph.D. student in computer science at CMU, you'll spend roughly five years acquiring a body of technical knowledge that includes a familiarity with the breadth of the field, as well as a deep understanding of your research area. From your second month in the program, you'll work closely with your faculty advisor, who is charged with guiding your education and monitoring your progress through the program. You'll take courses, teach and perform directed research — all to ensure that you leave Carnegie Mellon as an expert in your field. For a complete breakdown of our program requirements, read our Ph.D. Handbook.

Ph.D. in CS (Portugal)

Students in the CMU/Portgual Ph.D. program are co-advised by a CMU faculty member in Pittsburgh and a faculty member at the Portuguese institution they attend. The two co-advisors agree on a collaboration prior to the student's admission. The student is expected to spend a first period of three to four semesters at CMU, during which they'll take courses (as specified by CSD regulations) and begin their research. The Portuguese co-advisor will visit CMU while the student is in Pittsburgh.

After completing their work in Pittsburgh, students enrolled in the dual-degree program return to their Portuguese institution, where they'll continue their research. We expect students to spend approximately half of their time at CMU and the other half at the Portuguese institution.

For more on the CMU course curriculum and expectations for Ph.D. students, see the Ph.D. Handbook.

Interdisciplinary Ph.D Programs (Pittsburgh)

Ph.D. in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization (ACO)

Administered jointly by the Tepper School of Business (Operations Research group), the Computer Science Department (Algorithms and Complexity group), and the Department of Mathematical Sciences (Discrete Mathematics group) our unique interdisciplinary doctoral program in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization draws on Carnegie Mellon's strengths in all three areas.

The program brings together the study of the mathematical structure of discrete objects and the design and analysis of algorithms in areas such as Graph Theory, Combinatorial Optimization, Integer Programming, Polyhedral Theory, Computational Algebra, Geometry and Number Theory. This integration of the study of structure and its uses in computation theory is a central theme of the program.

Ph.D. in Computer Science/Neural Basis of Cognition 

Students interested in interdisciplinary programs in the Neural Basis of Cognition should apply to the Ph.D. in Computer Science program via the SCS Graduate Online Application, but must also apply to the CNBC Graduate Training Program. More information may be found on the CNBC website.

Ph.D. in Pure and Applied Logic (PAL)

Carnegie Mellon's Doctoral Program in Pure and Applied Logic is an interdisciplinary venture jointly sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Computer Science. Carnegie Mellon has a large and active group of faculty whose research and teaching interests span all aspects of logic, with a particularly strong concentration in foundational aspects of computing. This Logic Community has an established record of collaborations in pursuing theoretical research, conducting major implementation projects, and running colloquia and workshops.