PhD Course Requirements

Effective for all CS-PhD students: The CS-PhD program breadth requirements are simplified. Students are required to receive credit for at least six graduate-level courses, not necessarily at Duke and up to two of them can be approved by DGS as transfer credit, with a grade of B- or higher. The six courses are to include at least three designated "quals courses" in Computer Science, completed with a grade of B+ or higher. The three quals courses include at least one quals course from each of the three course groups listed in Appendix A. Qualifying exams are no longer offered. Students are expected to complete the three quals courses by the end of the fourth semester. Students are encouraged to complete the six courses as soon as possible. The courses other than the 3 qual courses can be any graduate courses. The student’s PhD supervisory committee may require additional courses beyond the six.

Appendix A

Group 1: We recommend students take either 531 or 532 as their first course; theory students are recommended to take 532 and not 531.
  • 531: Graduate Algorithms
  • 532: Advanced Algorithms
  • 534: Computational Complexity
  • 630: Randomized Algorithms
Group 2:
  • 510: Operating Systems
  • 512: Distributed Systems
  • 514: Computer Networks
  • 516: Database Systems
  • 550: Computer Architecture
  • 581: Computer Security
  • 586: Human Topics In Security And Privacy
Group 3:
  • 520: Numerical Analysis
  • 526: Data Science
  • 527: Computer Vision
  • 561: Computational Sequence Biology
  • 570: Artificial Intelligence
  • 572: Natural Language Processing
  • 574: Deep Learning Fundamentals
  • 671: Machine Learning

For more details on the requirements, see the Computer Science PhD Degree Requirements.