Skip to main content
Sign In

CSIS Academic Policies

PhD in Computer Science and Infor​​mation Systems

Besides the policies that are part of the program organization and requirements, the PhD program has additional policies specified in this section.​

 Student Progress

The student's advisor in consultation with the CSIS program director will determine if a student is making satisfactory progress each year before the student enters candidacy by passing the comprehensive exam. If the student has not demonstrated adequate progress such as not completing a milestone, the student can be placed on probation. This determination will be made with respect to the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time) and other factors. If the student is deficient in completion of program requirements, the advisor in consultation with the CSIS program director will determine a remedial course of action. Failure to follow the course of action within the allotted time period may result in suspension.​​


 Academic Ethics

Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Cheating, plagiarism, illegitimate possession and disposition of examinations, alteration, forgery, or falsification of official records, and similar acts or any attempt to engage in such acts are grounds for suspension or expulsion from the University. Also, actions that disrupt the administrative process, such as misrepresentation of credentials or academic status, other forms of deception, or verbal abuse of University staff, are grounds for suspension or probation. All reported acts of dishonesty must be referred to the PhD program co-directors. In particular, students are advised that plagiarism consists of any act involving the offering of the work of someone else as the student's own. It is recommended that students consult with the instructors as to the proper preparation of reports, papers, etc. in order to avoid this and similar offenses. ​​


 Course Withdrawal

Classes dropped prior to census date will not appear on the transcript. Therefore, to drop with a grade of W, a student must be earning a grade of C or better; otherwise an F will appear on the transcript. Students will not be permitted to drop a course or withdraw from all courses after the 10th week of the semester, unless circumstances outside the student's control are documented. The petition to drop or withdraw after the 10th week must be approved by one of the program co-directors and the course's instructor(s). ​​


 Course Petitions

Courses that are to be applied to a student's CSIS PhD program requirements must be explicitly and specifically documented as acceptable in the published CSIS program rules. Exceptions must be approved in advance and in writing via petition by the dissertation advisor (if applicable) and by the CSIS PhD program director. Without advance approval, exceptions will not count towards fulfilling CSIS program requirements. Note that exceptions include but are not limited to:

  • MSIS or MSCS prerequisite courses
  • Dissertation hours taken before passing the comprehensive examination and completing the preliminary exam requirements
  • Independent study courses

 Dissertation Hours

Students must complete at least 30 dissertation hours in order to graduate. In general, dissertation hours should be taken when the student begins work on his/her dissertation. Usually, a student will have completed the preliminary exam and coursework before enrolling for dissertation hours. Exceptions to this policy should be approved by the student's advisor and program co-director. ​​



During the pre-comprehensive exam phase of the PhD program, each CSIS PhD student must enroll for at least three hours per semester unless obtaining a waiver by the student's program director. Typical reasons for waivers are medical problems, birth of a child, and unanticipated work demands. The student should submit a petition to the program director for approval preferably by the first week of the semester. Students who fail to submit a petition will need to reapply to the program director for admission. This policy only applies to fall and spring semesters, not summer semesters. After successful completion of the comprehensive exam, each CSIS student must follow the graduate school rule for dissertation hour enrollment. The graduate school requires a minimum enrollment of five hours and a maximum enrollment of 10 hours of dissertation credit for each fall and spring semester. After completing 30 hours of dissertation hours, a student need only register for one hour for each fall and spring semester until successful dissertation defense. Students who are unable to register for these minimum credits because of extenuating personal circumstances should apply for a leave of absence as explained in the Graduate School handbook. ​​


 Minimum Grade Point Average

When a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.00, the student is placed on academic probation. The GPA is calculated using all graduate-level work attempted while enrolled in the Graduate School, including any 4000-level undergraduate courses that are required for the graduate degree. The student will have two (2) semesters if they are enrolled as a full-time student, or four (4) semesters if part-time, in which to raise his or her cumulative GPA (calculated using Graduate Level courses only) to at least 3.00 (or greater if required by the particular Graduate Program). The CSIS Program also may impose special conditions on a probationary student in addition to the raising their GPA. The CSIS Program Director must forward these conditions in writing to both the student and the Dean. If a student on probation does not obtain a GPA of at least 3.00 within two (2) semesters [four (4) semesters if part-time] of being placed on probation, he/she will be subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of the Program Director and concurrence of the Dean.​


  Passing Grades and Repeating Courses

Courses required in the CSIS program in which the student receives a grade below B- must be retaken in order to achieve a B- or better grade. However, all grades received, including repeat courses, will appear on the student’s transcript and will be included in the GPA calculation, but only one course enrollment may be counted towards graduation credits. Any grade below a C (2.0) is a failing grade for CSIS students.

Failure of a course may result in suspension from the PhD program.​


  Program Time Limit

The PhD program typically requires four years for full-time students with an MS degree. Part-time students are expected to complete the program in six years. A student may maintain a mix of full-time and part-time status during the program. PhD students must finish the degree within seven years plus one semester from the first term of enrollment in the program unless written permission is obtained from both program co-directors. Time-limit extensions are given only for external situations, such as medical conditions that restrict a student's ability to complete the program in a timely manner. ​​



© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.