Ph.D. Dissertation Information

This is the most important part of the program. A dissertation is expected to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to do research at a professional level, to contribute significantly to the development of Computer Science, and to communicate effectively. It must be written in such a way that persons who have a moderate knowledge of the background on which it draws can read it and appreciate the contributions it makes. Needless to say, the style should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to write clearly and concisely (not to mention correctly); the dissertation style, quality, and significance to the Computer Science community must meet the standards of publication in scholarly journals. Every Ph.D. candidate is expected to submit for publication at least one article dealing with the work performed for the dissertation before the degree is granted (although such submission is by no means sufficient grounds for granting the degree).

Defense of Dissertation

The final step in the process is the defense of dissertation. This is a publicly announced colloquium to which the faculty and graduate students of the Computer Science and other interested departments are invited and which anybody who so wishes may attend. The candidate explains what the dissertation has accomplished and compares it with the aims stated in the dissertation proposal, explaining any discrepancy or change of orientation. The quality of the presentation is an integral part of the defense; the candidate must demonstrate the ability to speak clearly, make good use of carefully prepared graphical aids, and convey in a relatively short time the essence of the work. After the presentation questions and criticism from the audience are entertained.

Following the defense, the Committee on Studies meets to determine whether the candidate has successfully met all of the requirements for the Ph.D.; if such is the case, the Committee will so certify to the Graduate School, which will confer the degree.

Dissertation Committee

Dissertation committees will consist of at least 4 members approved for graduate instruction by the UNM Dean of graduate studies, two of whom must hold regular, full-time UNM faculty appointments.
The dissertation director must be a regular (tenured or tenure-track) full-time member of the UNM faculty.

At least one of the members must be from the student’s graduate unit (department).

A required external member must hold a regular full-time appointment outside of the student’s unit/department at UNM. This member may be from UNM or another accredited institution.

One of the committee members may be a non-faculty expert in the student’s major research area.

All committee members who are not regular UNM faculty must be approved for graduate instruction specifically for the student’s graduate unit (department) by the Dean of Graduate Studies. (To do this a current Curriculum Vitae and the social security number of the outside committee member is needed.)

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