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Ph.D. Qualifier Structure

Department of Computer Science and Engineering - Proposed Ph.D. Qualifier Model

The following qualifier structure has been recommended by the DPGC after an initial survey of qualifier structures across various universities in India and abroad, a preliminary proposal made in January 2006, and a subsequent series of discussions lasting over a few months resulting in various refinements.

Objectives of the qualifier

  1. To increase the pool of students admitted to our Ph.D. programme. Students can be admitted through a wider admission net, so that graduates in related disciplines can be taken in, who can be screened later using the qualifier.
  2. To delink determination of guide and admission of student.
  3. To ensure that student has a sufficient undergraduate level preparation in a breadth of CSE topics, so as to undertake a graduate program in CSE.
  4. To ensure that the student is knowledgeable in those areas of the discipline that are relevant to his/her research topic, and that he or she can, in all likelihood, design and produce an acceptable dissertation.
  5. To allow for early feedback, especially if the student does not appear to have the qualities required to do Ph.D.
  6. To raise the bar on the quality of Ph.D. students. The existence of a qualifier will push students towards better preparation of CSE topics.

Capabilities that the qualifier/Candidacy should test

  1. Broad Computer Science background (UG preparation)
  2. Depth in some computer science topics (PG performance)
  3. Maturity and research potential

Categories of students

This qualifier model considers THREE categories of students :
  1. Students with no CSE undergraduate background -referred to as "NoCSE". (These include students with all levels of degrees: BE/ME/Ph.D. in other fields).
  2. Students with UG CSE background (B.E/Btech/MSc/MCA in Computer Science or IT, or with B.E/Btech/MSc in any field, but having a valid GATE Computer Science score)- referred to as "UGCSE".
  3. Students with PG CSE background (i.e. CS/IT M. Techs) - referred to as "PGCSE".

Overall Picture

An overall picture will help, before a detailed model is presented.
  • Students will be admitted from a wider background (not necessarily CSE UG background). (Insititute-wide elgibility rules will apply for admission. Admissions will be based on test and interview.)
  • Guide will not be allotted on the day of admission
  • A Ph.D. faculty advisor will be the default place-holder guide for all newly admitted students
  • Department prescribes a minimum number of UG & PG courses and CPI
  • After they are admitted,
    • Students who need to, will spend 2 semesters gaining broad CSE background (UG courses), then find guide, then take focussed PG courses and seminar, take the qualifier, and then are registered Ph.D. students.
  • Students who do not need time to develop a UG CSE background will proceed swiftly with PG courses and seminar, and find a guide.
  • A Ph.D. qualifying/Candidacy procedure will be conducted (see below) after the UG and PG course requirements- as appropriate- is met, which will consist of seminar and viva. When the student clears this exam, he/she can register for Ph.D.
We note here that the department will find suitable TAship duties for students who are admitted into the TA category but do not have a CSE UG background. Additionally, since these students will now spend an additional 1 year in course work, the department will take the responsibility of providing funding for them for 1 additional year after TAship period expires, if so required.

Pre-requisites for applying for the Ph.D. Candidacy

UG Background Requirement

  1. NoCSE
    • Students should take any 6 courses in the first year from a prescribed list which includes but is not limited to: Computer Organization, Operating Systems, Principles of Programming Languages, Algorithms, Data Structures, Theory of Computation, Discrete Structures, Linear Optimization, Formal Methods, Computer Networks, Computer Graphics.
      • A 7.5 and above CPI in these 6 courses is required. Getting this minimum CPI will constitute as the "UG preparation".
    • If some student has taken any of these courses already (e.g. EE student may have taken Computer Organization), a "transfer of credit" may be considered on production of transcript and grade. The student should then directly be given an exam and a grade by the course instructor. Such cases will be considered individually.
    • If CPI is below 7.5 and above 6.0, student can request to transfer to PGDIIT.
    • Once UG background is achieved and CPI requirements met, student can actively start looking for a guide, who will then recommend PG courses.
  2. UGCSE
    • No additional UG background pre-requisite.
  3. PGCSE
    • No additional UG background pre-requisite.

PG Background Pre-requisites

After attaining UG background if required, a student may actively start searching for a guide. PG courses may then be selected by consultation with the guide. The requirements are:
  • Category 1 and 2:
    • Minimum 5 PG courses + 1 seminar
  • A minimum 7.5 CPI must be maintained.
  • Seminar grade minimum must be BB
  • If CPI is below 7.5 but above 6.0, student may apply for transfer to M.S.
  • Category 3 (CSE M. Techs.)
    • 2-4 PG courses as prescribed by Ph.D. facad + 1 seminar.
  • Minimum CPI of 7.5 must be maintained
  • Seminar grade minimum must be BB.
Guidelines for evaluation of the Ph.D. seminar will be outlined by the DPGC.

Academic Probation

As per the approval of the faculty of CSE Department, a PhD student whose CPI falls below 7.5 in any semester will be on probation for the next semester. If the student fails to attain the CPI of 7.5 even after the semester during which the student is on probation, he/she will be subject to the exit procedure (unconditional exit or applying for MS). The Ph.D. Qualifying/Candidacy Approval Procedure

The PhD candidacy is formally approved by the department after the DPGC:

  1. verifies the grades in UG CSE courses done by the student at IITB (for non UG CSE students): minimum GPI 7.5
  2. verifies the grades in the PG CSE courses done by the student at IITB: minimum GPI 7.5
  3. verifies that the student's grade in the seminar: minimum BB
  4. verifies the signed paper from the advisor accepting the student as the PhD scholar, along with comments from the advisor
  5. if necessary, holds a discussion in person with the student (e.g. for addressing some areas of weakness; like "iron out your difficulties in algorithms")
  6. if all above criteria are satisfied then we welcomes the student as a registered PhD scholar of the department.
This procedure will take place twice every academic year: December and May Note: in case of no approval, the DPGC will advise on the possibility of exiting with an MS.

QIP Category Students:

The qualifying exam structure and rules applicable to PGCSE category students, apply to QIP students also, with the following changes:
  • The guide must be chosen and will be allocated at the time of admission to the Ph. D. programme.
  • The timeline for the qualifying exam starts one year after the admission to the Ph.D. programme. Thus, the latest expected time for approving the candidacy is the 4th semester after admission.



Last Modified Date: 21-Mar-2014

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