Ph.D. Timeline

Although differences in the speed of progress by students are recognized, the following timeline is suggestive of the Department's expectation. (Shift timelines for a Winter start.)

  • Residency requirement: You must be present (in the Department at the U of A) for at least 4 terms of full-time study.
  • Program length: You are encouraged to complete your program within 4 years. At most, you could take up to 6 years - continuation after this time requires a Program Extension official application that must be approved by both the department and FGSR.
Year Timeframe Tasks

Year 1
Course Work

September 
(Fall - Term 1)

  • CMPUT 603
  • 1-2 other computing science graduate courses

January 
(Winter - Term 2)

  • 1-2 computing science graduate courses

August

  • Choose a Supervisory Committee

Year 2
Course Work

September
(Fall - Term 3)

  • Completion of course work
  • Choose a Ph.D. topic

December

  • Meeting 1 with Supervisory Committee

January
(Winter - Term 4)

  • Completion of course work
  • Graduate Seminar 1

Year 3
Research

September

  • Refine and finalize selection of research topic
  • Research

December

  • Meeting 2 with Supervisory Committee
  • Graduate Seminar 2 (before Candidacy Exam)

Sometime this year

  • Prepare Candidacy Document
  • Candidacy Exam*

Year 4
Research

September - ...

  • Make substantial progress towards the completion of the Ph.D. thesis
  • Publish your results

December

  • Meeting 3 with Supervisory Committee

Year 5
Research & Completion
 

September - ...

  • Continue research
  • Publish your results
  • Write thesis

December

  • Meeting 4 with Supervisory Committee

At least 9 weeks (45 business days)
prior to Defense

1 week 
prior to Defense

  • Thesis seminar (unless combined with Defense)

Defense date

  • Thesis seminar (if combined with Defense)
  • Defense

Within 2 weeks
after Defense

April 
for Spring Convocation

September 
for Fall Convocation

  • Meet FGSR convocation requirements
  • Apply for convocation through Bear Tracks
  • Pay outstanding fees by the convocation deadline (typically 2 months prior)