The computer science department’s PhD program milestones are listed here. Please note that PhD qualification in the BU security group consists of a breadth component (course work), a depth component (written doctoral subject exam in cryptography and security), as well as an oral exam (research presentation). Please note the security group expects students to complete these milestones earlier than the departmental deadlines, as follows:
Doctoral subject exam: The security group strongly recommends post-MA to pass the doctoral subject exam within 3 semesters, and post-BA students after at most 5 semesters.
Oral exam: The security group strongly recommends that students complete the oral exam within one semester of passing the doctoral subject exam.
Doctoral Subject Exam in Cryptography and Security
The doctoral subject exam in Cryptography and Security will consist of two parts: a short in-class exam, and a 48 hour take-home component, and will typically take place in November or December of each year, by mutual agreement of the students taking the exam and the faculty administering it.
The goal of the exam is to test the student’s preparedness for conducting research within the BU Security Group. Students planning to take the exam should notify Professors Canetti, Goldberg, or Reyzin well in advance, but in the worst case by early October of the year they plan to take the exam.
An exam syllabus, stating the reading list recommended for preparation for the exam, will be released close to the date of the exam. Students should contact the faculty administering the exam if they wish to obtain an early look at the exam syllabus.
The oral exam will require the student to demonstrate the ability of the student to conduct research on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the thesis advisor. The expectations is that the student will present something equivalent to a single publishable result. The student will be expected to give a research presentation on this result to an oral committee of three members, one of which is the student’s thesis advisor.
Due to faculty’s busy schedules and room availability, students should commence scheduling their oral exam at least 1-2 months prior the expected date of the exam. However, students should be start thinking about the result they will present at their exam well before (at least 6-12 months) the date of the exam.