Graduate Student Handbook
This document has been prepared to answer common questions about the graduate programs offered by the UCLA Computer Science Department. It supplements the UCLA General Catalog.
The Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, which frequently is cited in this handbook, provides detailed information and sets forth general policies, many of which come from the Academic Senate and its Graduate Council, regarding completion of degree requirements, master’s and doctoral committees, examinations and foreign language requirements. Also included are general regulations concerning graduate courses, standards of scholarship, leaves of absence, normal progress toward degree, and a number of other matters.
The content of this handbook is subject to revision. Students should regularly check their CS email account, as most changes in regulations will be sent via email. However, courses, course descriptions, instructor designations, curricular degree requirements, and fees described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. In all matters, the rules and regulations of the UCLA General Catalog and the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA shall supersede this handbook.
We invite you to read and familiarize yourself with the contents of this handbook, and hope it allows you to make your journey at UCLA both smooth and successful.
Handouts for the CS PhD Orientation can be found HERE.
Handouts for the CS MS Orientation can be found HERE.
Master of Science Program
Fields of Study
M.S. students are not required to select a major field. They may choose a broad selection of courses or any combination of courses from the following fields:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Computational Systems Biology
- Computer Science Theory
- Computer System Architecture
- Graphics and Vision
- Information and Data Management
- Network Systems
- Software Systems
There are no specific courses required for any major field.
M.S. students must complete the computer science breadth requirements by the end of their 1st year (3rd quarter) of enrollment at UCLA. Students may submit the breadth requirement form to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office with coursework in progress, or planned for the subsequent quarter. The most in demand Breadth Requirement courses are offered Fall, Winter Spring as well as during summer. If you wait until your last quarter or when you are close to finishing and there are no spots available, you might need to stay in the program for another quarter or two until there is space available, hence students must enroll when there is space available or able to audit the course for breadth requirement credit and finish these requirements within the first year (no exceptions). In addition to the five undergrad course requirements listed below, you will need to complete three CS 201 courses and receive an “S” grade for it to count. You may only take one CS 201 course per quarter (CS 201 is not offered in Summer so please plan accordingly).
The requirement is satisfied by mastering the contents of five undergraduate courses: Computer Science 180, two courses from 111, 118, and M151B, one course from 130, 131, or 132, and one course from 143, 161, or 174A. Students may select one or more of the following methods to meet the requirements for the 5 upper-division undergraduate courses:
- UCLA COURSE: Take the required UCLA course and receive a grade of B-minus or better. Indicate academic term of course completion and grade received. (CS Graduate Student Affairs Office staff will verify grades.) If you were an ESAP student and/or were an undergraduate student at UCLA, you must have received a letter grade of B- or higher for the course to count towards your Breadth Requirement. UCLA undergrad students who took a Breadth Requirement course for “Pass/No Pass” and receiving a “Pass” or “P” will not count towards Breadth Requirement credit (and will either need to take the course again or audit the course for breadth requirement credit – provided the instructor gives their consent while in the M.S. program) as a “Pass” is equivalent to a “C” and the lowest passing grade in Grad School is a B-.
- EXAM: The certifying instructor waives the need to take the course based on one or more exams, typically the midterm and final exam for the course offered at UCLA. In order to do this you will need to audit the course provided that the instructor teaching that course consents to the student auditing the course for breadth requirement credit. If the student passes the exam(s) with an equivalent of B- or higher the student should ask the instructor to sign off on the Breadth Requirement form in the third column.
- EQUIVALENT COURSE: The link to a list of approved equivalent courses at other universities across the globe can be found on the Breadth Requirement pdf under “Equivalent Course”. If a course you took is listed in the equivalent course link then you can fill in the Breadth Requirement form (please include the row number).
- PETITIONING A BREADTH REQUIREMENT COURSE: If a course is not listed on the equivalent list but you think it is equivalent, you may submit a petition to have it considered as an equivalent course. Please note petitions for equivalent courses can only be done in your first academic year in the program while the quarter is in session (i.e. Fall-Spring; petitions during summer are not accepted). Please be sure to submit your breadth requirement equivalent petition while the quarter is in session (do not submit petitions after a quarter has ended, before a quarter starts or during summer). To petition to apply an equivalent course taken at another college/university in which a grade of B-minus or better was earned (please note petitioning is not guaranteed the course will be waived) please indicate on the Breadth Requirement Form:
- Course name and number (please note you can only submit one course for petition per breadth requirement course; you cannot submit 2 courses you took as a petition to count as one breadth requirement. It is up to the student to determine which course best matches the equivalent to UCLA’s breadth requirement course to select to petition).
- Grade received
- Please provide a copy of the syllabus (the textbook/reading materials/list of assignments should be listed on the syllabus). If you do not provide a syllabus with this information, the petition will not be reviewed.
- The Breadth Requirements form is available at here.
- An example of a Breadth Requirement Petition Packet (when submitting the packet it should be a pdf – zip files will not be accepted) for a course not listed on the “equivalent list” that should be submitted in your first academic year in the M.S. program to firstname.lastname@example.org may be found HERE.
The Computer Science course descriptions are available at: http://www.seasoasa.ucla.edu/hsseas-announcements/
Tentative schedules of classes are available at: http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/schedule/schedulehome.aspx
Proposed M.S. Program Of Study - Plan I: Thesis
M.S. students should submit the M.S. Proposed Program of Study by the end of their 1st term in enrollment at UCLA. Students may submit the form to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office with coursework in progress or planned for a future quarter. A total of nine courses (each course must be taken for 4 units max and a receive a final passing letter grade of B- or higher) are required for the M.S. degree, including a minimum of five graduate courses. No specific courses are required, but a majority of both the total number of regular graded courses and the total number of graduate courses must consist of courses offered by the Computer Science Department. No lower-division courses may be applied toward the M.S. degree. M.S. students should confer with their faculty advisor to select which academic plan best fits their academic, research, and career goals. For both plans, all courses used must have been registered, enrolled and received a final grade of B-minus or higher (S/U will not count). Please be sure to fulfill the breadth requirements first (including the three CS 201s) before finishing the Program of Study.
PLAN I – THESIS: In the thesis plan, seven (7) 4-unit courses must be formal courses (taken for letter grades), and at least 4 of the 7 must be 200-level courses in Computer Science. 2 courses (or 8 units) must be CS 598, which involves work on the thesis. The remaining three (3) 4-unit courses are elective courses, which may be 100- or 200-level courses in Computer Science or 200-level courses in a related discipline, i.e. Electrical Engineering, Statistics, Bioinformatics, etc. DO NOT include CS 201 seminars. You must also take CS 598 for 4 units twice or sign up for CS 598 for 8 units total. Prior to signing up for CS 598 please obtain the consent of your faculty advisor that you are signing up under them for this course.
MASTER’S THESIS COMMITTEE: A Master’s Thesis Committee must be approved by the Graduate Division before the submission of the Petition for Advancement to Candidacy. The committee consists of a minimum of three members. Two members, including the chair, must hold appointments in the UCLA Computer Science Department (your Chair or Advisor for your thesis must be CS faculty). The remaining member may be a faculty member from either Computer Science, another UCLA department, or another UC campus department. The Master’s Thesis committee regulations and the nomination form are available at: www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/library/masnomin.pdf
MASTER’S THESIS: The thesis is a report on the results of student investigation of a problem in the major field of study under the supervision of the thesis committee, which approves the subject and plan of the thesis and reads and approves the complete manuscript. While the problem may be one of only limited scope, the thesis must exhibit a satisfactory style, organization, and depth of understanding of the subject. Students should normally start to plan the thesis at least one year before the award of the M.S. degree. There is no examination under the thesis plan. The official UCLA manuscript preparation guide, “Policies and Procedures for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Filing,” can be found at Graduate Student Handbook – Doctoral Dissertation and Filing Fee. All M.S. thesis students are strongly encouraged to attend a thesis meeting scheduled at the beginning of each quarter at the Young Research Library. For more information, students should visit the library website noted immediately above. On the day students file their Master’s thesis, they first must submit a copy of the title and signature pages of their thesis to the CS Graduate Students Affairs Office, then submit documents to the Graduate Division in 1255 Murphy Hall, and finally submit documents and the thesis to 21560 Young Research Library. Documents and office hours are available in the “Policies and Procedures for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Filing”. In approximately 10 business days, students should review their Billing and Accounts Receivable (BAR) account for a posting of a charge of $170.00 for the Master’s Filing Fee. Approximately5 business days after fee payment, the filing date in posted on the transcript. If filed by the term’s thesis deadline, the “degree awarded” date will be the graduation date of that term.
Proposed M.S. Program Of Study - Plan II: Capstone Project (M.S. Project)
For both plans (, all courses used must have been registered, enrolled and received a final grade of B-minus or higher (S/U will not count). Please be sure to fulfill the breadth requirements first (including the three CS 201s) before finishing the Program of Study.
PLAN II – CAPSTONE PLAN: In the Capstone Plan, 9 formal courses must be taken for letter grade and receive a final passing letter grade (B- or higher). Each course must be taken for 4 units each (no exceptions). At least five (5) 4-unit courses must be 200-level courses in Computer Science. (Taken for letter grades). 500-level courses cannot be applied. The remaining four (4) 4-unit courses are elective courses, which may be 100- or 200-level courses in Computer Science or 200-level courses in a related discipline, i.e. Electrical Engineering, Statistics, Bioinformatics, etc. DO NOT include CS 201 seminars. Students should fulfill the breadth requirements first (including CS 201s) prior to finishing the Program of Study requirements.
CAPSTONE PROJECT: Students explore the scope and work out the expectations of the Capstone Project with their CS Faculty Advisor (it is up to the student to find their Capstone Faculty Advisor – must be CS faculty). The Capstone Project is presented for review by a three-person committee (the student must find two other committee members) . Two members, including the chair, must hold appointments in the UCLA Computer Science Department. The remaining member may be a faculty member from either Computer Science, another UCLA department,or another UC campus department.
M.S. CAPSTONE PROJECT RESULTS: The Capstone Results Form can only be submitted if you have successfully Advanced to Candidacy (i.e. received an email from Academic Services stating you have Advanced to Candidacy). Results must be submitted to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office no later than Friday of finals week of the quarter in which the M.S. degree is to be awarded. See the Graduate Program Deadlines (found here) for specific dates. Requirements for the Capstone Plan II results form is available at here.
M.S. Advancement To Candidacy (ATC) and Filing Fee
The Petition for Advancement to Master’s Candidacy (ATC form which is included in the ATC packet) must be submitted to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office (GSAO) in the quarter prior (you must be registered and enrolled and in good academic standing, i.e., GPA 3.0 and above in the quarter you are submitting the ATC packet) to when the student plans to be either on Filing Fee, or be registered and enrolled, and submitting the Capstone Project or M.S. Thesis. Please submit the ATC packet to the CS Grad Office no later than the end of 2nd week of the quarter you plan to Advance to Candidacy. Students must have completed or about to complete the Breadth Requirements (i.e. one course left) and about to finish the Program of Study when they Advance to Candidacy.
Instructions on submitting the ATC packet can be found on the CS Grad Newsletter MS section.
A student must file the applicable Master’s Advancement to Candidacy packet with their major department no later than the Friday of second week of the quarter in which they plan to Advance to Candidacy (ATC).
If you are planning to ATC in the Summer you must be registered and enrolled in a course for 4 units during a summer session (A, B or C). You cannot drop this course at anytime.
GSAO staff will verify course completion and grades at the end of the quarter. M.S. candidates have one calendar year from the date of advancement to candidacy in which to complete all requirements for the degree. If additional time is required, the student is responsible to resubmit their ATC packet by the deadline. Sample for the Advancement to Candidacy form can be found on the CS Grad Newsletter MS section.
Master’s Filing Fee
When students have completed all requirements for the M.S. degree (except the filing of either the Thesis or Capstone Project) and have Advanced to Candidacy, they are eligible to pay a Filing Fee during the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded instead of registering. Filing Fee is entirely optional. You must be registered and enrolled the quarter you plan to submit your Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) packet (hence most students submit the ATC packet the quarter prior to the one they plan to be on Filing fee). You cannot ATC nor take classes while on filing fee.
Students may only use Filing Fee for one quarter. If students on Filing Fee fail to complete their thesis or Capstone Project by Friday at the end of finals week, they must retroactively enroll and pay fees for that quarter or they will need to apply for readmission into the CS MS program (no exceptions).
The Master’s Filing Fee application can be found on the HERE. For Summer and Fall, the deadline is 10 business days prior to the last day of Summer Session C (except if the deadline falls on Labor Day; in these cases the deadline will be 9 business days). For Winter and Spring, the deadline is the Monday of the 10th week. Information and instructions for completing the Master’s Filing Fee application for the current quarter are available at https://www.cs.ucla.edu/graduate-office-newsletter/
M.S. Progress Requirements (Time To Degree)
To maintain satisfactory academic progress, M.S. students must reach the milestones as established in the degree requirements outlined above, namely:
- Breadth Requirement: The end of the 1st year (3rd quarter)
- Program of Study: The end of the 1st quarter
- Petition for ATC: 2nd week of the quarter the comprehensive examination or thesis is being submitted
The maximum time to satisfactorily complete all M.S. requirements is 2 years or 6 quarters. Each quarter, the HSSEAS Dean’s Office evaluates the academic progress of all M.S. students. The majority of students are making satisfactory academic progress. Students not making satisfactory academic progress are notified and given corrective steps and time frames which will enable them to attain satisfactory academic progress.
Students who fail to meet requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. Graduate students may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing. Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree, and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing the termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA (found here). In addition to the standard reasons noted above, M.S. students may be recommended for termination for the following:
- Failure to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree within the two-year time limit for completing all degree requirements.
- Failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in all courses and in those in the 200 series.
- Failure to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in any two consecutive terms.
- Failure of the comprehensive examination.
- Failure to complete the thesis to the satisfaction of the committee members.
- Failure to satisfy the Computer Science breadth requirement.
M.S. Students Applying To Ph.D. Program
The selection of M.S. students who apply for admission into the Ph.D. program is a rigorous, internal process that identifies candidates who have demonstrated academic and research potential and achievement. The following application material must be submitted to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office during the last term of full-time enrollment:
Statement of purpose: Due no later than Week 2 of the last term of full-time enrollment.
Application for Admission to Ph.D. Program: Due no later than Week 2 of the last term of full-time enrollment.
Letter of Recommendation: Statement from faculty advisor recommending admission and guaranteeing funding support for duration of graduate study and research. Due no later than Week 7 of the last term of full-time enrollment. Without the CS Faculty Advisor putting this in writing and giving it to the CS Student Grad Office, the student is unable to transition into the Ph.D. program.
Letter of Recommendation Forms from faculty advisor and two other CS faculty. All must have evaluated either the student’s Capstone Project or Thesis. Due no later than Week 7 of the last term of full-time enrollment. The deadline for filing the M.S. thesis with the Young Research Library is Week 7 of the quarter. The deadline for filing the Capstone Project results with the CS Graduate Student Affair Office is also Week 7 of the quarter, which is 3 weeks earlier than the regular due date, to accommodate the processing and review of the application to the Ph.D. program. If all documents are submitted on or before the deadlines noted above and admission is offered, the effective term for classification as a Ph.D. student would be the term following the completion of all requirements for the M.S. degree, which includes submission of the M.S. thesis or Capstone Project.
NOTE: Failure to submit each document by the deadline will cancel consideration of the internal M.S. to Ph.D. application. Students would then need to apply through the regular Graduate Division online application.
Fields of Study
Computational Systems Biology
Computer Network Systems
Computer Science Theory
Computer System Architecture
Data Science Computing
Graphics and Vision
Normally, Ph.D. students take courses to acquire the knowledge needed to prepare for the written and oral preliminary examinations and for conducting research. The basic program of study is built around the following:
- Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) – F22
- Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) – S23
- Breadth Requirements
- Proposal of Fields (POF)
- Ad-hoc Checklist
- Oral Qualifying Examination (OQE) and Advancement to Candidacy (ATC)
- Final Oral Examination on the Dissertation (Final Defense)
- Filing the Doctoral Dissertation
Written Qualifying Exam (WQE)
The written qualifying examination (WQE) is the preliminary written examination for all Computer Science Ph.D. students. The WQE consists of a high-quality paper, solely written by the student. The paper can be either a research paper containing an original contribution, or a focused critical survey paper. The paper should demonstrate the student’s understanding of the subject area, as well as their ability to integrate and communicate ideas clearly and concisely. To make satisfactory academic progress, students should take and pass the WQE no later than their 2nd year (6th quarter) of enrollment. Students must be enrolled during the quarter they take the WQE.
LENGTH: Maximum of 10 single-spaced pages.
STYLE: Suitable for submission to a first-rate technical conference or journal.
CONTENT RESTRICTIONS: The paper must represent work that the student did as a graduate student at UCLA. Students must explicitly acknowledge in detail any contributions, including those of their faculty advisor, that are not their own.
PREPARATION: An individual studies class, CS597B: Preparation for Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, is offered for variable units (2-12) and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter.
SUBMISSION PROCESS: The paper must first be approved for submission by the student’s faculty advisor. Their signature on the WQE Cover Page is proof of approval. The WQE Cover Page then must be turned in to the GRADUATE STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICE in 290 Engineering VI by the posted deadline. There are two deadlines a year for submission of papers, one in the fall quarter and the other in the spring quarter. Students are emailed a WQE announcement including dates and instructions after the start of the fall and the winter quarters.
REVIEW PROCESS: After submission, the WQE will be reviewed by at least two other members of the faculty. Students will receive via email an evaluation and whether or not they have passed the WQE.
NOTE: Ph.D. students who want to receive a master’s degree along the way may substitute a passing WQE for the master’s comprehensive examination.
Doctoral students must satisfy the Computer Science Breadth Requirement by the end of their 3rd year (9th quarter) of enrollment at UCLA, and before taking the Oral Qualifying Examination. Students may submit this form to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office with coursework in progress, or to be completed the subsequent quarter. The office staff will verify grade/s and completion at the end of the quarter. The requirement is satisfied by mastering the contents of five undergraduate courses: Computer Science 180, two courses from 111, 118, and M151B, one course from 130, 131, or 132, and one course from 143, 161, or 174A.
Students may select one or more of the following methods to meet the requirements for the 5 upper-division undergraduate courses:
- UCLA COURSE: Take the required UCLA course and receive a grade of B-mor better. Indicate the academic term of course completion and the grade received. (CS Graduate Student Affairs Office staff will verify grades.)
- EXAM: The certifying instructor waives the need to take the course based on one or more exams, typically the midterm and final exam for the course offered at UCLA. The certifying instructor must sign the breadth requirement form to certify completion of the course requirement.
- EQUIVALENT COURSE: Apply an equivalent course taken at another college/university in which a grade of B-minus or better was earned. Indicate:
- Course name and number
- Grade received (CS Graduate Student Affairs Office staff will verify grades on transcripts.)
- Signature of instructor certifying equivalence
For the Ph.D. degree, students must also complete at least three terms of CS201 with grades of Satisfactory (in addition to the three terms of CS201 that may have been completed for the M.S. degree). The Breadth Requirements form and instructions are available here.
The Computer Science course descriptions are available at: http://www.seasoasa.ucla.edu/hsseas-announcements/
Tentative schedules of classes are available at: http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/schedule/schedulehome.aspx
Proposal of Fields (POF)
The Proposal of Fields (POF) consists of one major field and two minor fields. The major field and at least one minor field must be in computer science. All major and minor field courses must be taken for a letter grade. To satisfy the major field requirement, students are expected to attain a body of knowledge contained in five courses, as well as the current literature in the area of specialization. In particular, students are required to take a minimum of three graduate courses in the major field of Ph.D. research, selecting these courses in accordance with guidelines specific to the major field. Grades of B-minus or better, with a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all courses used to satisfy the major field requirement, are required. Students are required to satisfy the major field requirement by the end of their 3rd year (9th quarter) of enrollment and before taking the Oral Qualifying Examination (OQE). Each minor field normally embraces a body of knowledge equivalent to two courses, at least one of which is a graduate course. Grades of B-minus or better, with a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all courses included in the minor field, are required. At least one minor field must be in computer science. Both minors must be completed prior to the OQE.
STANDARD PROPOSALS: Refer to the Proposal of Fields Guidelines for composing major and minor proposals in established fields. If the courses in a major or a minor field proposal adhere to these guidelines, the field will not require the signature of the corresponding field chair. The established fields are as follows: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Systems Biology, Computer System Architecture, Computer Science Theory, Information and Data Management, Graphics and Vision, Network Systems, and Software Systems.
PROPOSALS WITH ONE OR MORE COURSE SUBSTITUTIONS: A major or a minor field proposal in an established field that deviates from the standard guidelines by one or more course substitutions must be approved by the corresponding field chair (who may consult with faculty in the field). The list of current Field Chairs is available in the Proposal of Fields Guidelines.
COURSE WORK TAKEN AT OTHER INSTITUTIONS: No more than three equivalent or related graduate courses taken at other institutions may be applied to the major or minor field requirements, subject to the following:
- If a course taken at another institution is included in a major or minor field proposal, and falls within an established field, the proposal will be considered a deviation from the standard guidelines and must be approved by the corresponding field chair.
- The graduate course must be taken while a graduate student.
- The graduate course cannot have been applied toward an undergraduate degree.
AD-HOC PROPOSAL: A major or minor field proposal that does not fall in one of the established fields is considered an ad-hoc field proposal. Guidelines for consideration follow:
- The department must approve all proposals for an ad-hoc field. Students are strongly encouraged to submit their ad-hoc proposal for approval BEFORE taking any of the proposed courses.
- The ad-hoc field should be a coherent set of courses in an identifiable area (body of knowledge) that is not a subfield of the area of the major or the minors. The ad-hoc field should provide a perspective that is different from the other fields. It cannot merely be a collection of three useful classes.
- If the ad-hoc field presents some overlap with topics that are generally associated with the other fields, the student must provide a justification that carefully explains why this overlap does not impinge on the value of the minor to broadening the academic experience. (If the Academic Policy Committee [APC] finds such an overlap, the students may be required to provide more information.)
- Ad-hoc minor cannot include courses that are listed either as core or ancillary of other proposed major and minor. For example, a proposal with the DSC major cannot include any courses listed in the DSC core and ancillary lists in the ad-hoc minor.
AD-HOC PROPOSAL SUBMISSION &APPROVAL PROCEDURES: The proposal for an ad-hoc field must be included in a completed Proposal of Fields and must be submitted together with a detailed, written justification explaining how the proposed ad-hoc field meets the requirements above and supports a research area. Include details on the proposed classes for the field (course description and/or course syllabus for each class). Email a scanned copy of the completed Proposal of Fields to the Chair of the Academic Policy Committee (APC). Refer to list of current Field Chairs. The subject line should read “Proposal for Ad-Hoc Field”. Copy the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office. Approval of an ad-hoc field proposal requires a majority vote of the Academic Policy Committee (APC). The APC Chair, on behalf of the committee, will inform students and the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office by email when a decision is reached. The POF form, guidelines, and procedures are available here: Proposal of Fields.
Oral Qualifying Exam (OQE) And Advancement To Candidacy (ATC)
After passing the WQE, students should form a doctoral committee and prepare to take the Oral Qualifying Examination (OQE). To make satisfactory academic progress, students should take and pass the OQE no later than the end of their 3rd year (9th term) of enrollment.
The nature and content of the oral qualifying examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee, but generally the student gives a talk, followed by questions from the faculty.
Students must be enrolled during the quarter they take the OQE.
NOMINATING A DOCTORAL COMMITTEE:
A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three members, including the chair, must hold appointments in the Computer Science Department at UCLA. The remaining member must be a UCLA faculty member outside the Computer Science Department. The Graduate Division must approve a doctoral committee before the OQE can be held.
Doctoral committee regulations are outlined on page 11 in the Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA available here.
The Nomination of Doctoral Committee form is available at www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/library/docnomin.pdf.
HOW TO PREPARE: Students should familiarize themselves with the regulations for the doctoral qualifying examinations detailed on page 20 in the Standards & Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, available here.
ORAL QUALIFYING EXAM – CHECKLIST REQUIREMENTS (DUE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE CAN GO FORWARD)
- Breadth Requirement Form (Due by the end of your 3rd year (9th quarter) of study)
- Proposal of Fields (Due by the end of your 3rd year (9th quarter) of study)
- WQE (Due by the end of your 6th quarter of study)
- All Coursework
NOMINATE YOUR DOCTORAL COMMITTEE (6 WEEKS before exam)
- Read the Doctoral Committee Regulations, printed in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA (available here), beginning on page 10.
- Complete the Nomination of Doctoral Committee Form www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/library/docnomin.pdf
- Have your committee chair sign off on the form
- Bring the completed document to 291 Engineering VI 6 weeks prior to the exam.
REMOTE REQUEST – IF NECESSARY (6 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
If a member of your committee wishes to participate remotely (and only 1 “inside” member may do so, not including the chair), you must also at this time turn in a written request from your committee chair requesting remote participation for that member.
SCHEDULE A ROOM (4 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
- Coordinate with your committee to find a date and time that will work for all of them
- Go to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office at 4403 with your date and time. They will schedule a room for you.
SUBMIT PROSPECTUS TO DOCTORAL COMMITTEE (2 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
- Email or deliver your prospectus to each of your committee members
- Email a copy to the Graduate Student Affairs Office
AFTER YOU COMPLETE YOUR QUALS, the doctoral committee chair submits the Report on Oral Qualifying Exam to CS Graduate Student Affairs Office. Once the report is processed, you will be charged fees that total $90 (for your Candidacy for Doctoral Degree). We suggest you check your BAR account 10-15 days after you complete your Quals.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to visit the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office, or email Jeanette Reyes at email@example.com.
Due to various University Policies, failure to complete these steps without their allotted lead time (6 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 weeks prior to your scheduled exam) may result in requiring you to reschedule your exam.
An individual studies class, CS597C: Preparation for Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examination, is offered for variable units (2-12) and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter.
NRST WAIVER: Beginning the quarter immediately after the OQE is passed, non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST) is waived for up to nine quarters. If nine quarters pass without the filing of the dissertation, non-resident tuition charges are reinstituted.
Doctoral Dissertation and Filing Fee
After successfully completing the final defense, students are expected to soon be ready to file their dissertation. The official UCLA manuscript preparation guide, “Policies and Procedures for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Filing” is available at: www.grad.ucla.edu/gasaa/etd/thesisguide.pdf. This document also contains information about how to file online. All Ph.D. students expecting to graduate in a given quarter are strongly encouraged to attend a dissertation meeting scheduled at the beginning of each quarter at the Charles E. Young Research Library. For more information, students should visit the library website.
DOCTORAL FILING FEE: In the term that students intend to file their dissertation, they may go on Filing Fee status instead of enrolling for courses on the condition that they are completing only their dissertation. Filing fee status may be applied only for one quarter. If students on Filing Fee fail to complete their dissertation filing by the end of Week 2, they must retroactively enroll and pay fees for that quarter. Information and instruction for completing the doctoral Filing Fee application and the Filing Fee application are available here. In approximately 10 business days, students should review their Bruin Bill account for a posting of a charge of $179.00 for the doctoral Filing Fee. Approximately 5 business days after fee payment, the filing date is posted on the transcript. If filed by the term’s dissertation deadline, the “degree awarded” date will be the graduation date of that term.
Deadlines are posted in the Resources for Students page.
Final Defense Checklist
- (OPTIONAL) RECONSTITUTE your doctoral committee (6 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
- If you need to add or change a committee member: Complete Sections I and II of the RECONSTITUTION OF COMMITTEE FORM.
Form found at: www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/library/docreconst.pdf
- Every member of the new committee must sign in the column next to their name.
- Submit the form in to the Grad Affairs Office in 291 Engineering VI weeks prior to the exam.
- Final Defense is Now Done Remotely
- Email Joseph Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) the date of your final defense at least 4 weeks prior.
- SCHEDULE A DATE AND TIME FOR YOUR FINAL DEFENSE (4 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
- Coordinate with your committee to find a date and time that will work for all of them.
- Email Joseph Brown (email@example.com) and include the following information:
- Subject of email: Final Defense Date
- Title of your dissertation
- An abstract summary, of around 100 words
- SUBMIT DRAFT OF DISSERTATION TO COMMITTEE MEMBERS (4 WEEKS BEFORE EXAM)
- Refer to the “Policies and Procedures for Dissertation Preparation and Filing” (found at Graduate Student Handbook – Doctoral Dissertation and Filing Fee)
- Email or deliver your dissertation to your committee members.
- Joseph Brown will provide your academic file for the final defense providing you have informed him 4 weeks prior to the defense.
- DEFEND YOUR DISSERTATION
- FILE ONLINE
- Follow the instructions at https://grad.ucla.edu/gasaa/etd/filingrequirements.pdf
- Inform your committee that your dissertation has been uploaded and is ready for final approval.
- Send an email to Joseph Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating that you have uploaded your dissertation.
- Due to various University Policies, failure to complete these steps without their allotted lead time may result in requiring you to reschedule your exam.
Academic Progress Requirements (Time-to-Degree)
To maintain satisfactory academic progress, Ph.D. students must reach the degree milestones by the following deadlines:
- Written Qualifying Exam: End of 2nd year (6th quarter)
- Breadth Requirement: End of 3rd year (9th quarter)
- Proposal of Fields: End of 3rd Year (9th quarter)
- Oral Qualifying Exam: End of 3rd year (9th quarter)
- Final Defense: End of 6th year (18th quarter)
The expected time to graduation of 6 years (18 quarters) accords with Graduate Division rules, which limit students to a maximum of 12 quarters as a teaching assistant and a maximum of 18 quarters combined as either a teaching assistant or research assistant.
Each year at the end of spring quarter the entire faculty evaluates the academic progress of all Ph.D. students. A summary of each evaluation is sent by email to all students and their faculty advisors. These notifications indicate if the academic progress of students has been satisfactory or unsatisfactory. By default the evaluations work as follows, but outcomes can differ based on the faculty discussion:
- A student who has completed all milestones that are required based on his/her length of time in the program receives an evaluation of “satisfactory progress.”
- A student who fails to meet one of the above deadlines for the first time receives an evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress.”
The student is typically given six months to complete the milestone and is re-evaluated at that point.
- A student who fails to meet the deadline required by a prior evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress” receives an evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal.” The student is typically given six more months to complete the milestone and is notified that he/she is subject to dismissal from the Ph.D. program if this deadline is not met.
- A student who fails to meet the deadline required by a prior evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” will be discussed by the faculty. Based on input from the student’s faculty advisor and other information, the faculty may vote to dismiss the student from the Ph.D. program, or they may decide to give the student one more chance and send another “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” letter. An “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” evaluation may also affect a student’s eligibility for a TA assignment.
Adding an M.S. Degree Along the Way
CS Ph.D. students who have not earned previously a master’s in computer science, electrical engineering, or similar discipline may be awarded an M.S. degree while working toward the Ph.D. degree by fulfilling all the M.S. degree requirements. The M.S. degree and Ph.D. degree may not be conferred in the same quarter, so the process should begin no later than the term in which the M.S. degree requirements are fulfilled. Students should confer with their faculty advisor about whether they should do a Thesis (Masters Plan I) or a Capstone Plan (Masters Plan II). A passed Written Qualifying Examination (WQE) may be substituted for the Capstone Project in Plan II. The required documents include the following, all located HERE.
1. Awarding MS while in Ph.D. program form (see link above for forms)
2. Provide a copy of your unofficial transcript
3. Complete the Proposed M.S. Program Study and bring to the CS Grad Office. We will take care of the necessary signatures
4. Complete the Advancement to Candidacy Petition
M.S. Capstone Project Results Form (if Plan II is chosen). If applicable, it will be noted on this form that the WQE is being substituted for the Capstone Project. If all documents and the thesis or comprehensive examination are submitted according to department deadlines, the “degree awarded” date will be the graduation date of that term.
General Information for All CS Graduate Students
Bruin Bill (formerly BAR)
All students are assigned a Bruin Bill account (formerly BAR). Your Bruin Bill account records all charges and payments (including housing) associated with registration along with other service charges that are assessed to students. You can access your Bruin Bill through MyUCLA.
Students are not notified when charges are posted. Accordingly, students should check their Bruin Bill account regularly. Miscellaneous fees accrue throughout the quarter and are due by the 20th of each month. If unpaid, a late fee will be applied to their Bruin Bill each month.
BruinAlert was developed to communicate official information during an emergency or crisis that disrupts normal operation of the UCLA campus, or threatens the health and safety of members of the campus community. Students with current email addresses in MyUCLA are automatically enrolled in BruinAlert.
Find more information at: http://www.bol.ucla.edu/alert
CS Email Account
Bruin OnLine (BOL)
Bruin OnLine (BOL) is a collection of services that provides UCLA students, faculty, and staff with:
Network Connectivity, including Wireless
Free Software and Support
In order to have access to BOL services, students must have a UCLA Logon ID. Students can create their UCLA Logon ID at: http://accounts.iam.ucla.edu/
In addition to establishing a BOL account, students must set up a CS Account, which serves as the official communication link between students and the CS department.
Faculty and staff primarily communicate with students through email. The CS account serves as the official communication link between CS students and the department. Accordingly, it is important that students check their email regularly for important deadlines, notices, and announcements. Not all messages may apply to everyone so it is important to pay attention to the subject line. To apply for a departmental computer account, students should read the CS Computer Account Policy and consult the Graduate Advisor for the account signup link. Faculty, staff, and others should consult the CS human resources manager.
Students can only have an active CS email account once they are registered, enrolled and have started the CS Grad Program. Students with a CS email account may subscribe to the CS jobs listserv by visiting: www.cs.ucla.edu/mailman/listinfo/jobs
SEASnet Computer Systems User Account
• Register online at: http://www.seas.ucla.edu/acctapp
• Allow one day for processing, then visit the SEASnet Lab at 2684 Boelter Hall to complete registration
• See website for eligibility information at: SEASnet Accounts
A swipe card is required to access the Graduate Student Workstation, Graduate Lounge, Graduate Student Offices, and department labs. To obtain a department swipe card, see Mildri Lopez-Duarte in EVI 277M. Students are required to make a $20 deposit for the key, fully refundable when leaving the department.
Enrollment And Courses
As noted in the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA (available here), unless granted a formal leave of absence, graduate students are expected to register every term, including the term in which their degree is to be awarded. A student must be registered in order to take any University examination with the exception of those that are permitted by payment of the Filing Fee (master’s comprehensive exam or doctoral final defense.) Students must be registered during the regular academic quarter when they take the written and oral qualifying examinations for the doctorate. To be eligible to take such examinations in the summer, the student must have been registered in the immediately preceding Spring term.
It is the student’s responsibility to check when their enrollment appointments are on their MyUCLA.
For the first pass of enrollment, CS students can only enroll in 8 units. After the 2nd pass, students should be able to enroll up to 18 units max.
Three regular courses (or 12 units) per term are considered the normal enrollment for graduate students. All computer science graduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 units each regular quarter (Fall, Winter, and Spring) to maintain full-time student status. Students are responsible for checking their study list on MyUCLA prior to the third week of classes to ensure that they have enrolled in the sufficient number of units. CS students are subject to dismissal from the program if not enrolled full-time, on leave of absence, or on Filing Fee status.
The process for being enrolled into upper-division undergrad courses (100-level courses) will be sent out by the CS Grad Office mid quarter.
Individual Studies Classes are offered for variable units and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter. Enrollment must be pre-approved by students’ faculty advisors.
Additional University and Graduate Program Deadlines can be found at the Resources for Students page.
To request a letter to verify student status, please email the Graduate Student Affairs Office 2 business days in advance with the information below. Students will be notified when the verification letter is ready:
- Student’s name
- Student’s ID number
- Purpose of the letter
- To whom the letter should be addressed
- Expected degree date
- Other relevant information
Faculty advisors assist students with planning their course of study and answering questions concerning courses, course materials, and research in their area of interest. It is important that students meet with their faculty advisors regularly throughout their graduate studies at UCLA.
PH.D. STUDENTS: Ph. D. students are assigned advisors upon admission to the Computer Science Department.
M.S. STUDENTS: M.S. students are assigned an initial faculty advisor (an email will be sent to them directly with their initial faculty advisor info after Orientation), but are expected to find a permanent faculty advisor by end of the second quarter, and no later than the third quarter. Once M.S. students have selected a permanent faculty advisor, they must complete the Advisor Consent Form (for M.S. students). Faculty advisors are there to guide the M.S. students on their Capstone/Thesis. For questions on courses to take please visit the CS Grad Office.
PETITION FOR CHANGE OF ADVISOR: Students may change their permanent faculty advisor if the new faculty advisor is willing to supervise the academic work and research. Students must submit a Petition for Change of Advisor to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office to signify the change.
Graduate Student Affairs Office (Engineering VI Room 291)
The CS Graduate Student Affairs Office is here to help guide students through the program requirements and to answer administrative questions about university and departmental policies and procedures.
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed 12:00 – 1:00)
Location: Engineering VI Room 291
Fax: (310) 206-8133
Graduate Student Affairs Officers:
- Joseph Brown
- Juliana Alvarez
Graduate Student Lounge (Engineering VI Room 287)
Students may work, play, and relax in the Graduate Student Lounge (Engineering VI Room 287).
Work: Tables, chairs, and a whiteboard and presentation screen are available for student meetings.
Graduate Student Workstation (3286 Boelter Hall)
The Graduate Student Workstation (3286 BH) is equipped with computers and a printer for graduate student use. Students must have a swipe card to have access to the workstation. See Department Keys for information about requesting a swipe card.
Individual Studies Classes
Individual Studies Classes are offered for variable units and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter. Students must enroll for the course number that corresponds to their faculty advisor. By enrolling in these courses, students agree to meet with their academic advisor during the quarter. Students select the appropriate course according to their program of study:
CS 298: Research Seminar: Computer Science (2-4 units). S/U grading.
CS 596: Directed Individual or Tutorial Studies (1-8 units). S/U grading.
CS 597a: Preparation for M.S. Comprehensive Exam (2-12 units). S/U grading.
CS 598: Research for and Preparation of M.S. Thesis (2-12 units). S/U grading.
CS 597b: Preparation for Ph.D. Preliminary Exams (2-16 units). S/U grading.
CS 597c: Preparation for Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Exam (2-16 units). S/U grading.
CS 599: Research for and Preparation of Ph.D. Thesis (2-16 units). S/U grading
To register for an Individual Studies Class, follow these 5 Steps:
- Talk to your advisor to determine:
- Which course(s) (if any) to enroll in
- How many units to enroll for
- What work must be done for a satisfactory grade
- When work is due
- Log on to MyUCLA
- Select “Find a Class to Enroll”
- On the following page, click Checkbox 2 and select “Computer Science”
- Below that, change the view type to “Graduate Individual Classes”
Hit submit, and you will see the course selection.
By the end of the quarter, meet with your advisor to report on your progress.
Leave Of Absence
Leaves of Absence (LOA) are available only to continuing graduate students in good standing (for Ph.D. students, a minimum GPA of 3.25; for M.S. students, a minimum GPA of 3.0). Additionally, unless eligible for the Filing Fee in the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded (see Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA for details), a graduate student must either be registered, on official Leave of Absence, or on Filing Fee status each regular academic quarter until a degree is awarded. A student may submit a petition for 1 to 3 terms of leave, however, cumulatively only a maximum of 3 quarters are allowed.
Acceptable reasons for Leave of Absence are limited to:
- Outside Employment (US citizens only)
- Parental Obligations
- Family Obligations
- Financial Hardship
As noted in the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, failure of students to register as required will constitute presumptive evidence that they have withdrawn without leave from the Graduate Division and will no longer be considered students at the university.
ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LEAVE OF ABSENCE:
Before submitting the form to the Graduate Student Affairs Office in Engineering VI Room 291, you should first:
Obtain the signature of the faculty advisor at the bottom of the page.
Obtain the signature of the Graduate Support staff at 1228 Murphy Hall.
Once this is done, submit the form to the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office by the deadline of the 2nd week of the quarter. CS Graduate Student Affairs Office staff will submit the form to the Graduate Division.
The LOA Request and Regulations Regarding Leaves of Absence are available at:
Graduate student mailboxes are located in the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office, Engineering VI 291. These mailboxes are to be used for University business only by students employed by the university or department, usually as teaching assistants, graduate student researchers, or readers. Unclaimed letters, publications, and packages are either returned to the sender unopened or discarded each year at the end of the summer quarter. Students are responsible for checking their mailbox regularly. The CS Graduate Student Affairs Office is not responsible for lost or damaged mail.
A questions regarding employment paperwork and payroll issues at UCLA as a teaching apprentice, graduate researcher, or reader, students should contact Therese Garcia, CS Payroll Coordinator, at email@example.com. Her office is: EVI 277K
Parking for students is generally limited to students employed as GSRs or TAs at 49% or 50%, respectively. Students with questions regarding parking should contact Mildri Lopez-Duarte at firstname.lastname@example.org or in Engineering VI – 277M
Registration (Enrollment And Courses)
As noted in the Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA, unless granted a formal leave of absence, graduate students are expected to register every term, including the term in which their degree is to be awarded. A student must be registered in order to take any University examination with the exception of those that are permitted by payment of the Filing Fee (master’s comprehensive exam or doctoral final defense.) Students must be registered during the regular academic quarter when they take the written and oral qualifying examinations for the doctorate. To be eligible to take such examinations in the summer, the student must have been registered in the immediately preceding Spring term.
Three regular courses (or 12 units) per term are considered the normal enrollment for graduate students. All computer science graduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 units each regular quarter (Fall, Winter, and Spring) to maintain full-time student status. Students are responsible for checking their study list on MyUCLA prior to the third week of classes to ensure that they have enrolled in the sufficient number of units and the correct courses. CS students are subject to dismissal from the program if not enrolled full-time, on leave of absence, or on Filing Fee status.
Enrollment in upper-division undergrad courses (100-level courses) begin after the date of the “Second Pass”. (Students may override warnings about unmet prerequisite courses by clicking the box below the prompt.)
Individual Studies Classes are offered for variable units and may be used to satisfy the minimum 12-unit course work requirement each quarter. Enrollment must be pre-approved by students’ faculty advisors.
Additional University and Graduate Program Deadlines can be found at the Resources for Students page.
The Henry Samuel School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) has a small student-run snack shop located in 5800 Boelter Hall. Students may purchase sandwiches, beverages, and snacks. The SEAS Café is a cash-only establishment.
Teaching Apprenticeships (TA-ships)
Teaching apprenticeships (TA-ships) are available on a limited basis depending on enrollment in undergraduate courses and budgetary considerations in the university, School of Engineering, and department. To be eligible for a TA-ship, students must meet the following requirements:
CS PH.D. DEGREE OBJECTIVE: Only Ph.D. students are considered for TA-ships. They are required to satisfy a teaching requirement (at least one quarter) as part of their departmental Ph.D. degree requirements, or provide documentation of equivalent experience.
M.S. applicants are not eligible for departmental financial support.
TAing/GSRs/Reader positions are not part of the Computer Science Masters Program/Curriculum and M.S. student (both incoming and continuing) are not guaranteed TAships/GSRs/Reader positions (i.e. Dept funding) for any year.
International M.S. applicants must demonstrate personal or agency financial support of at least $55,000 for the first year to qualify for a visa to study in the U.S. Prospective international M.S. applicants should apply for admission ONLY if they can provide such documentation, which will be requested if admission is offered, in early March. Information on the cost of attendance is available on the UCLA Graduate Division webpage. Specific charges for tuition and fees and non-resident supplemental tuition are listed on the Registrar’s fee page.
Therefore prospective M.S. students are aware upon applying that if they are admitted they must demonstrate they have the financial support for our program. Proof of this financial support is also requested when an M.S student is admitted into our M.S program. and submit their Confidential Financial Statement (CFS) in order to verify evidence/proof of financial support and issuance of a UCLA I-20.
CS495: TEACHING ASSISTANT TRAINING SEMINAR: Graduate students must pass CS495: Teaching Assistant Training Seminar to be eligible for TA-ships. In rare instance, with prior approval, the class may be taken concurrently with the first TA-ship. The class is offered each year only during fall quarter. An equivalent teaching training seminar may be acceptable, and prior teaching experience may fulfill the Ph.D. teaching requirement. Ph.D. Students should contact Prof. Richard Korf, Vice-Chair for Graduate Programs, at email@example.com, if they believe that have taken an equivalent seminar or have equivalent teaching experience.
FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT: TAs must be registered and enrolled in a minimum of 12 units by the end of the third week of the quarter of their appointment or their benefits (fee remissions and health insurance) will be cancelled.
GRADE POINT AVERAGE: TAs must have at least a 3.25 GPA at the time of their employment.
TEST OF ORAL PROFICIENCY (TOP) – INTERNATIONAL AND PERMANENT RESIDENT STUDENTS ONLY: The university requires that international students and permanent residents take the TEST OF ORAL PROFICIENCY (TOP) and earn a provisional passing score (6.4 – 7.0) to become eligible to be a TA. The Computer Science Department has a higher standard, requiring students to earn a clear passing score of 7.1 or higher. CS students who receive a non-passing score (0.0 – 6.3) may register on their own to re-take the exam. CS students who receive a provisional passing score (6.4 – 7.0) must enroll in an ESL oral skills course, and then re-take the exam as part of a special exam session arranged by the CS Graduate Student Affairs Office. More information about the TOP is available at www.oid.ucla.edu/training/top.
Applications for TA-ships are emailed to all Ph.D. students in April each year with an application deadline in early May. In early June, all applicants are notified whether or not they have received a tentative assignment for the next academic school year. In addition to the general requirements outlined above, TA assignments are determined by instructor preferences, advancement to candidacy, academic standing, student qualifications, funding obligations, and student preferences/qualifications/experience.
In addition to a salary, students who are assigned a TA-ship of 25% or higher, also receive paid benefits including health insurance, resident tuition, and
remissible fees. Information on fee remission benefits for TAs is available at www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gss/appm/feeremission.pdf.
Fee remissions do not cover all graduate student fees. It is the responsibility of graduate students to ensure that those additional fees (non-remissible fees),
approximately $130.00 per quarter, are paid by the applicable Graduate Program Deadlines (listed at the Resources for Students page).