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Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing

Ph.D. Degree General Requirements

To earn a Ph.D. degree, a student must satisfy a minimum of 90 graduate-level credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Up to 30 credits from a prior master's degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering taken either at the University of Florida or from another accredited institution may be transferred and counted towards the Ph.D. degree. Students must apply for the credit transfer during their first term of enrollment. Approval by the graduate school is necessary for the credit transfer. Beyond the first 30 credits counted toward the Ph.D. degree, students must complete at least 30 credits at the University of Florida campus. Additionally, students must satisfy the following requirements before earning the degree:

  • Satisfy the CISE graduate-level course and GPA requirements.
  • Pass the written and oral qualifying examinations.
  • Pass the admission to candidacy examination (defend a dissertation proposal).
  • Write and successfully defend a Ph.D. dissertation.

Ph.D. Supervision

Every entering Ph.D. graduate student must attend the New Graduate Student Orientation, usually given right before or at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters.

The student must form a supervisory committee no later than the end of the second semester of enrollment. The supervisory committee consists of at least four Graduate Faculty members. The chairperson of this committee must be a Graduate Faculty member in CISE. At least three members of the committee must be from CISE and at least one from outside CISE as an external member.

An annual evaluation of the research progress/potential of each Ph.D. student will be performed by the Graduate Affairs Committee in conjunction with the chair of the student's supervisory committee. This evaluation will be done at the end of the Spring semester. Copies of this evaluation and of the student comments are placed in the student's academic file. The student and the supervisory committee chair receives notice after the student has been in the CISE graduate program for 5 years without advancing to candidacy.  Proper actions and close monitoring will take place afterwards to ensure that the students are making progress towards the Ph. D. degree.

Ph.D. Course and GPA Requirement

  • 90 credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree. (May include 30 hours from Master’s program)
  • 4 supervisory committee members (1 member from outside CISE)
  • A Ph.D. qualifying exam
  • Ability to pursue research (typically demonstrated by a research publication)
  • A dissertation proposal and oral defense on a specific topic
  • A dissertation
  • A dissertation defense
  • 5 years limit for Ph.D. from admission to candidacy

Ph.D. Student with Prior Master’s Degree

Ph.D. Student without Master's Degree

 

Credit Hours

Credit Hours

Type

30

N/A

From prior Master’s Degree (Maximum allowed)

9

9

Program Core Couse:

  • CAP 5100 – Human-Computer Interaction
  • CEN 5728 – User Experience Design (UX Design)
  • CAP 5108 – Research Methods for Human-Centered Computing

9

9

CISE required graduate-level courses

  • May take up to 3 credit hours CIS 6905 for two Semesters
    • Excludes:
      • CIS 6910
      • CIS 7979
      • CIS 7980

9

9

Cognate Area:
Focused group of related graduate courses in a specific area and approved by the student’s committee

24-30

54-60

In addition to the courses listed below, other graduate-level courses excluding courses numbered 6971 or 7980. See cognate course listing for additional examples.

  • CIS 6905 Individual Study
  • CIS 6910 Supervised Research
  • CIS 6930 Special Topics in CISE
  • CIS 7979 Advanced Research

3

3

CIS 7980 – Research for doctoral dissertation and advanced research

90

90

TOTAL (minimum)

Sample:

Note: Courses within the HCC Ph.D. core are designated by HCC

Student without a Master’s Degree

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Fall Semester

  • CEN 5728 User Experience Design (UX Design)
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Qualifying Exams
  • CISE Electives
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Cognate Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (12 Hours)
  • Research Hours
  • Grad Electives (12 Hours)
  • Research Hours

Spring Semester

  • CAP 5100 Human-Computer Interaction
  • CAP 5108 Research Methods for Human-Centered Computing
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • CISE Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Cognate Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (12 Hours)
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation Defense

Summer

 

 

 

 

 


Student with a Master’s Degree (30 Credit hours credit for Master’s Degree)

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Fall Semester

  • CEN 5728 User Experience Design (UX Design)
  • Grad Electives (9 Hours)
  • Qualifying Exams
  • CISE Electives
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Cognate Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (3 Hours)
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation Defense

 

Spring Semester

  • CAP 5100 Human-Computer Interaction
  • CAP 5108 Research Methods for Human-Centered Computing
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • CISE Electives (6 Hours)
  • Grad Electives (6 Hours)
  • Cognate Electives (6 Hours)
  • Research Hours
 

 

Summer

 

 

 

 

 

Cognate Core

Students have the option of designing their own cognate area or selecting from a list of pre-approved cognate courses.

List of Approved Cognate Areas

For courses that have not been pre-approved, the student's committee (excluding external members) must approve. To receive approval, a short description of the area, a list of courses, and syllabi for the courses must be submitted by email to the entire committee. Once approved, the student can submit the form below with the committee's signature.

For courses that have been approved, the form below can be submitted with only the committee chair's signature.

Cognate Area Approval Form

HCC Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

The exam uses a survey covering the literature of an area in computing. This could be in the student’s dissertation area or a general area of computing. The student, advisor, and the student's Ph.D. committee members determine (and approve) the set of papers. The external Ph.D. committee member is not required to participate in this process. The student should be aware that merely summarizing a set of papers is not enough to count as a Ph.D. survey. Rather, the write-up should include clear identification of the main research problems in the field and the main suggested solutions (with their advantages and disadvantages). In the process, the student needs to also compare/contrast his/her survey with existing surveys in the field (if such surveys exist in a similar format).   

**Please see link for Qualifying Exam Supervisory Committee Form**

Steps to Completing Qualifying Exam Report Form:

Note: This is a writable PDF - Please type all information

  1. Student needs to complete: Last Name, First Name, M.I., UFID and Term of First Enrollment
  2. Student enters the faculty information; Chair, Co-Chair, Members, etc.

** For Term of First Enrollment, if you are unsure review your profile in GIMS or contact Adrienne Cook at alcook@ufl.edu**

Process Details:

1.The student must get the approval of the advisor and the advisory committee to take the exam. Once that is done, the student must inform the graduate affairs committee of the intent to take the qualifiers exam no later than one month before the actual proposed survey submission date. This is to give the committee adequate time to discuss the list of papers, and other procedures. Please refer to the Qualifying Exam Flowchart

2. The student will be assigned a list of papers and topics for the area survey paper under the direction of the student's advisor. The advisor may construct the list, or may require the student to propose the list. The list must be approved (in writing or via email) by all participating members of the committee. The list cannot include papers by the student (such papers can be included as supporting documents along with the student’s CV).

The number of papers can vary depending on the student's research area. The vast majority (if not all) of the papers must be peer-reviewed reputable publications (e.g., IEEE or ACM conferences or journals, or similar quality). Suggested number of papers is between 30 – 100.

3. The student will write an original area survey paper under the direction of their advisor and Ph.D. committee..

a. None of the advising committee members (including the advisor) can add text. They can only recommend modifications/edits.

b. The survey should be prepared in IEEE Journal format.

c. The suggested length of the paper, not including references, is 15 to 20 pages. The decision as to appropriate length is left up to each committee 

d. Unless direct quotations of cited sources are used and properly attributed, the entire paper must be in the student's own words. Plagiarism will be grounds for dismissal from the Ph.D. program. 


4. Submission of materials: The following materials must be submitted to the CISE committee members for review/evaluation, during (and no later than) the time window agreed upon earlier (as explained above in the first step):

a. Area survey paper

b. Student's CV. Optionally, additional supporting documents can be provided, such as published or submitted papers by the student. 

c. Student's Academic Transcripts

5. Evaluation Process

a. The student’s Ph.D. supervisory committee will serve as the committee for the exam (without requiring the external member to serve). The supervisory committee chair will also serve as the student's qualifying exam chair.

b. From the submission date (in step 3 above), the committee has 2 weeks to evaluate the survey. The committee will then decide to: I. compile a list of questions, II. ask for a ‘major revision’ (which may also be accompanied by a set of questions), or III. fail.

The committee will send any questions back to the student via email at or before the end of this 2 week period. Any participating committee member can request a meeting with the student to discuss any issues at this time. Any meeting minutes should be kept and used later to aid evaluation

In case of I (questions): The student has 1 week to respond to these questions. The committee then has 1 week to review the submitted answers and reach a pass/fail decision. The committee may request minor revisions to the answers or another round of questions if needed. Only two total rounds of questions/answers are permitted. If the committee does not feel that the student’s survey paper and answers are passing after two rounds of questions then the student must submit a substantially revised paper (and updated materials) in a subsequent semester.

In case of II (major revision): The student has 2 weeks to address the committee’s questions and resubmit the revised survey paper. The committee then has two weeks to review the revised paper and reach a pass/fail decision. Only one round of major revision is permitted. If the committee does not feel that the student’s survey paper is passing after one round of revisions then the student must submit a substantially revised paper (and updated materials) in a subsequent semester.

The student should setup a meeting with the committee members (as a group or in individual meetings). The committee should use such meeting(s) to validate the originality of the work and clarify any issues, before making their decisions.

The committee members make their decisions to of pass, fail, or major revision, using the submitted material (i.e., area survey, CV, and transcripts), the answers to the committee’s questions, and revised survey (if requested).

c. A majority of committee members (two out of three, or three out of four) must agree to pass in order to pass the student.

d. The grades and comments (if any) given by the committee members shall be kept anonymous. The student can see the overall grade and individual comments. The student however cannot see individual pass/fail grades or the mapping of the questions to the specific committee members.

Note: The student has 2 attempts to pass the qualifying exam:

a. After 2 failures, the student will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program.

b. The student can appeal dismissal in the event of a second failure through the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Admission to Candidacy

A student may apply for advancement to Ph.D. candidacy by scheduling an oral examination after having passed the Written Qualifying Examination. The decision to advance a student to Ph.D. candidacy is made by the student's Supervisory Committee. This decision is based on the following:

  • Performance in course work
  • The opinion of the Supervisory Committee concerning the overall fitness for candidacy
  • An approved Ph.D. dissertation topic

The purpose of the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination is to certify the scope and validity of the student's proposed research, and the student's ability to perform the work. A document including a concise introduction to the area of research, relevant work by others, preliminary results by the student, an outline of proposed work, and a bibliography must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the examination. The student will receive a grade of pass or fail. A failing mark will require another examination when the student is better prepared, at least one semester after the first attempt. A passing mark will often be accompanied by useful comments (to be made in writing by the student's committee chairman) so the student can better refine future efforts and goals.

After passing the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, the student is admitted to candidacy. The student may register for Research for Doctoral Dissertation (CIS 7980) only after admission to candidacy. Prior to passing the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, research must be conducted under the Advanced Research course (CIS 7979).

The Graduate School States: Time Lapse:  Between the admission to Candidacy/Proposal be at least 2 terms. The term the qualifying examination is passed is counted, if the examination occurs before the midpoint of the term.

Ph.D. Students Earning a Master's Degree

Ph.D. students may apply for a Master's degree after advancing to Ph.D. candidacy, assuming completion of all Master's degree requirements and continued pursuit of the Ph.D. degree in the CISE Department. The link below contains information for pursuing this option. Please check with Adrienne Cook for more information and review the Master's En Route options.

Performance Evaluation and Termination of Ph.D. Students

All Ph.D. students must make proper progress towards the Ph.D. degree. This includes maintaining a good GPA, passing the Ph.D. qualifing exam within the allowable time limit, advancing to candidacy, and defending the Ph.D. thesis promptly. Ph.D. students are evaluated annually by the Graduate Affairs Committee in conjunction with students' Supervisory Committees. The completed evaluation is sent to the student and the Supervisory Committee chair. Students who repeatedly fail to make proper progress may be terminated from the Ph.D. program. Students already having advanced to Ph.D. candidacy status may be terminated by a vote of the faculty. Such a decision will also be based on the student's annual evaluations, and a recommendation of the student's Supervisory Committee.

Communication Skills

The Graduate School requires all Ph.D. candidates to be able to use the English language correctly and effectively. This requirement directly addresses the need for candidates to demonstrate oral and written communication skills.

Ph.D. Final Examination

All Ph.D. students are required to complete and defend a dissertation of publishable quality. This must be an independent investigation, including a basic research component that constitutes an original contribution to the engineering aspects of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Projects that solely demonstrate an application of computer technology to a new problem area will not be acceptable. The format of the dissertation must conform to the requirements of the Graduate School. To facilitate this, the Graduate School Editorial Office provides the Guide for Preparing Theses and Dissertations and various seminars. The dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School in electronic form.

The defense is the final examination in which the student defends his/her research. It must occur after the dissertation has been submitted to the Graduate School and all other prescribed work is done, but no more than six months before the conferring of the degree. The student must be registered for at least three hours (two hours in summer term) of CIS 7980 during the term in which the final examination is given and the term in which the degree is conferred.

The dissertation title, along with an abstract, should be posted on electronic and standard bulletin boards at least two weeks in advance so that interested students and faculty may attend. A general-audience abstract must be submitted along with the announcement to the CISE Student Services Center for posting. The dissertation must be submitted to all Supervisory Committee members at least two weeks in advance of the defense.

The defense consists of two parts: an open part and a closed part. During the open part, the student gives a one-hour presentation on the dissertation work. During this presentation, members of the audience may ask questions. Then the student's Supervisory Committee chairperson will ask the audience to leave the room to begin the closed section of the defense. The student's Supervisory Committee members and other faculty may ask the student more detailed questions during the closed section. The student will then leave the room while the Supervisory Committee prepares its decision. The defense may be attempted at most two times.

Time Limitation - All work for the doctorate must be completed within 5 years after the Qualifying Examination, or the examination must be repeated and passed.

Checklist for Ph.D. Degree

First Semester:

  • Apply for credit transfer up to 30 hours from a prior master degree in computer science or computer engineering from an accredited institution.
  • Apply for credit transfer for up to 15 credits beyond the master's degree earned from a computer science doctoral program at other accredited institutions.
  • Apply for equivalency for any core course to satisfy the corecourse requirement.

Second Semester:

  • Select Supervisory Committee Chair and form the Supervisory Committee before the end of the semester.

Third and Fourth Semesters:

  • Prepare for and take the Ph.D. written Qualifying Exam. Students can take the first attempt after satisfying the core GPA requirements.

Semester for Admission to Candidacy:

  • Discuss with Supervisory Committee Chair the plan to take the candidacy exams; inform the committee and set up the oral exam date.
  • Inform Graduate Academic Advisor of the planned date of the exam.
  • Prepare the dissertation proposal and deliver to the committee 2 weeks before the exam.
  • After admittance to candidacy, apply for the master's degree (for those without a prior master's degree who have satisfied all master's requirements).

Semester Before Graduation:

  • Discuss your plan for graduation with the Supervisory Committee Chair.
  • Check with the Graduate Academic Advisor to see if all graduation requirements have been satisfied.

Semester of Graduation:

  • Submit degree application online via Student Self Service.
  • Complete departmental exit interview process (watch for applicable emailed notifications).
  • Be registered for at least the minimum number of credits required for completion of the degree.

For a Dissertation Defense:

  • Schedule dissertation defense with supervisory committee.
  • Inform Student Services of scheduled plans and reserve a room for the defense.
  • At least a week before the defense, provide each member of the supervisory committee an advance copy of your dissertation.
  • Ask your supervisory chair to pick up your file at Student Services on the day of your defense.
  • After defending, verify with your supervisory chair that all final exam forms have been correctly signed.
  • Submit all dissertation forms/copies to the Graduate School by published deadlines.

For additional information contact a CISE Graduate Academic Advisor.