Ph.D. Minor for Non-CSC Majors

A PhD minor in computer science is available to any PhD student at the University of Arizona provided they have sufficient computer science background to tackle graduate-level course work in the discipline. A minor can complement work in related disciplines or help students’ far-reaching areas develop marketable analytic and problem-solving skills.

CSC PhD Minor Admission

Doctoral students intending to minor in Computer Science must seek out and identify a minor advisor whose research interests align with theirs (research areas/faculty), then apply for admission to the minor. The minor advisor must have a primary, shared, or joint (courtesy) tenure-track faculty appointment in the Department of Computer Science. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), Dr. Mihai Surdeanu, can help with the minor advisor selection process. The admission process is used to ensure that students are qualified to undertake graduate-level courses in Computer Science.

Applicants lacking one or more prerequisites in their proposed minor plan of study must either take the prerequisite(s) for a regular grade or obtain DGS approval to audit any of them.

To apply for the minor, complete the CSC PhD Minor for Non-CSC Major Application. Students are allowed to deviate from their proposed plan with the approval of their minor advisor and DGS. The student should have consulted their minor advisor prior to submitting their minor application.

The DGS will review minor applications and serve as a resource for questions, as needed.

Feel free to contact the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) at with questions.

CSC PhD Minor Course Requirements

A PhD minor for non-CSC students consists of thirteen units of CSC courses: three units in a Foundations of Theory course (CSC 545 or CSC 573), three units in a Foundations of Systems course (CSC 525, CSC 552, CSC 553, or CSC 576), and three units in an Applications of Computing course (see course list). The three elective units can be: either any Computer Science 5XX course or a graduate course approved by the student’s minor advisor. A grade of 'A' or 'B' ('Pass' for CSC 599) must be earned in all minor courses. There is a one unit 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.  Attendance can be counted across all semesters of minor coursework, not only the final semester.

Concerning the PhD split minor for non-CSC students, the only stated requirement is that it be six credits. Split minors in CSC are approved on a case-by-case basis and coursework is selected in consultation with the minor advisor, with the DGS ultimately approving the plan of study.

Students in other programs at the University of Arizona who wish to minor in CS must take at least one UA CSC core course (listed above, in theory, systems, or applications). The others can be transferred in (see transfer credit policy and process for approval, where the required Google Forms are given), with the proviso that the foundations of theory or foundations of systems requirement can be met by transferring an equivalent course taken in another computer science graduate program.

CSC PhD Minor Examinations

A student’s minor faculty advisor will serve on their comprehensive exam committee.

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 Computer Science Minor Written Comprehensive Examination requirement is waived. 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 or may waive attendance, unless the student requests attendance or the major department requires minor representation at the defense. Students should consult with the minor advisor prior to the Final Defense.