PhD Program

We offer one of the best environments for research and education in computer science. Our faculty are world-leaders in their research programs, offering a wide variety of research options in both established and novel areas of the discipline. We have a lower student/faculty ratio than many of our peer institutions, allowing students to get more one-on-one attention from their advisors. Our faculty also heavily leverage Brown's support for multi-disciplinary research, with the result that you can find cutting-edge work defining the future direction of the discipline.

Click here to learn more about why you should study computer science at Brown CS. If you're an international applicant, please click here.

The department offers extensive support for PhD students. It covers the nine-month academic year and includes full tuition, health insurance, and a generous stipend. PhD students pursue several options during the summer, typically working at research labs or staying with their research groups at Brown. Provided a student is in good academic standing, Brown guarantees five years of financial support and students are typically funded through to completion. Some students are also eligible for special fellowships such as Paris Kanellakis Fellowships; we determine eligibility, so you need not request these when you apply.

Students are given the chance to hone their teaching skills with graduate Teaching Assistantships. However, students are largely supported on Research, not Teaching, Assistantships. Students who serve as TAs are assigned courses based on their background and interests.

Our PhD students enjoy a professional work environment. PhD students all have offices, shared with other students, similar to faculty offices. All PhD offices have windows overlooking the campus and surrounding area. Nobody works in a cubicle! Graduate students are involved not only in the department's research and teaching activities, but also in helping chart its course. They serve on several important committees, and organize seminars and lunches as well as recruiting and orientation events.

Though some of our admitted students already have a master's degree, we do not require this and indeed most incoming PhDs do not have a master's. The majority will opt to earn their master's during the course of their PhD study. Students who do already have master's-level credit can transfer some of their previously earned credit and thereby accelerate their study.

To apply to our PhD program, please see the separate information on Ph.D. applications.

Graduate students who wish to transfer graduate credit earned at another institution should download the Registrar's transfer form, found here. Once you have filled out the form, please submit it to the Faculty and Student Affairs Manager, Lauren Clarke, and she will get the requisite signatures on your behalf.

PhD students transferring courses from another institution should also fill out the department's credit transfer form found here. The departmental transfer credit form should be filled out and signed as appropriate before submitting it, along with the Registrar's form, to the Faculty and Student Affairs Manager.

Additional Information

How To Obtain Your Brown CS PhD Student Hardware (accessible only from the Brown University network)

Brown CS Computer Configuration Recommendations (accessible only from the Brown University network)

Yearly Progress Questionaire for PhD candidates
PhD Degree Requirements (as of September 2015) (PDF)
PhD Degree Requirements (as of September 2013) (PDF)
PhD Degree Requirements (as of January 2012) (PDF)
PhD Degree Requirements (pre January 2012) (PDF)
PhD Admission to Candidacy
PhD Application for ScM Degree
PhD Thesis Proposal and Defense

Shriram Krishnamurthi answers questions about the graduate school application process