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Ph.D. Course Qualifying Requirements

The Ph.D. course qualifying requirements ensure that Ph.D. students have sufficient mastery of the core concepts of Computer Science.

To satisfy the qualifying requirements, students must earn a grade of B+ or better in the first 6 Computer Science graduate courses taken at Drexel, and must earn an overall GPA of 3.5 or better in these courses. Normally these courses comprise the 3 mandatory‐core and 3 flexible‐core courses taken as part of the Ph.D. program; however, they may in some cases include more advanced courses (e.g., if the student has received transfer credit for a core course). Undergraduate courses, independent studies, research credits, and courses from other departments cannot be counted toward the qualifying requirements.

Student progress toward these requirements will be assessed in the Annual Review following the student’s first year in the Ph.D. program. If the student has completed the above requirements in the first year, the student will have fulfilled the qualifying requirements, and no further action is needed.

If the requirements have not been met by the end of the first year, the Graduate Committee will prescribe a course of action to be followed in the student’s second year in the program. For example:

  • If a student has taken 6 courses with a 3.5 GPA, but earned less than a B+ in one of the courses, the committee may ask the student to re‐take this course or take another course in a related area for a grade of A– or better.

  • If a student has taken 6 courses but earned a GPA of less than 3.5, the committee may ask the student to take 1‐3 specific courses and earn an A– or better in these courses. The specified courses would normally be targeted for the area(s) in which the student’s performance was weakest in the original 6 courses.

  • If a student has taken 6 courses but earned a GPA significantly below 3.5, the committee may prescribe a full sequence of courses in the second year that addresses the problem areas identified in the first year.

The student’s progress will then be re‐evaluated in the Annual Review following the student’s second year in the Ph.D. program. Failure to satisfactorily complete the prescribed course of action by the end of the second year will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program.