Graduate study in computer science within the Computing & Mathematical Sciences department is oriented principally toward Ph.D. research. The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of three academic years of residence; required coursework is generally completed within the first two years. Students must maintain high academic standards during their graduate residence. A student's Ph.D. research must exhibit originality in the formulation, analysis, and solution of a problem that is significant to the field of study. The option representative and executive officers are available to discuss concerns regarding academic progress.
Computation is now pervasive, wide-reaching, and unavoidable in our daily lives, and in science and engineering. The Computer Science option gives students a strong grounding in the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computing, provides an introduction to cutting-edge research in a variety of subfields of Computer Science, and prepares them to apply computational thinking to a diversity of applications in Computer Science and beyond. Our students and faculty strive to:
- understand information and computation as intrinsic components of a broad array of natural and engineered systems
- tackle challenging and fundamental problems with the potential for long-term and real-world impact
- develop underlying theory
- nurture collaboration between traditionally separate disciplines
The graduate computer science option is primarily oriented toward Ph.D. research. Students complete advanced coursework to achieve a breadth of knowledge in the core areas of computer science, and specialized coursework in their intended research area as directed by their research advisor and the graduate option representative. The M.S. degree entails a thesis and coursework and is normally awarded in the first two years as part of the overall progress toward the Ph.D.
The department expects Ph.D. students to achieve:
- a thorough understanding of the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computer science,
- cutting-edge knowledge in the area of research specialization,
- the ability to identify, formulate, and tackle problems at the research frontiers in the area of specialization,
- success and originality in the formulation, analysis, and solution of a problem that is significant to the area of research specialization,
- experience in critically evaluating computer science research,
- experience in effectively communicate their ideas in writing and in oral presentations.
Master's students are expected to achieve a thorough understanding of the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computer science, and have gained significant knowledge in the area of research specialization through their coursework, and to demonstrate promise in independent research through an original thesis.
Graduate Program Details and Requirements
Requirements for the Computer Science graduate program are listed in the current (2021-22) Caltech Catalog, starting on page 409.
Further details and advice can be found here: Navigating the Ph.D. Options in CMS
Graduate Options Administrator
Graduate Option Representative
Computer Science Option Representative