Carnegie Mellon University

SE PhD Program Student Resources

On this page you'll find the policies, forms, procedures, and more that every student in the SE PhD will need to successfully navigate the program. While we endeavour to make this resource page as exhaustive as possible, please note that the program's current policies and standing are always kept current in the Software Engineering Ph.D. Program document (pdf). This document provides a complete overview of all requirements and procedures. 

All But Dissertation, ABD, status is intended for students whose only remaining requirements are the completion and defense of their thesis. Once a student meets the departmental criteria, All But Dissertation status must be approved by filling out the All but Dissertation Status Agreement form. In order to meet the requirements for ABD/ABS in the Software Engineering PhD program all students must:

  1. Meet Star course and Core SE course requirements
  2. Meet Elective requirements
  3. Complete (1) practicum
  4. TA two courses
  5. Speaking requirement approved
  6. Writing requirement approved
  7. Residency requirement of 4 semesters
  8. Successfully pass their Thesis Proposal

Please note: Students who go ABS must pay for the cost of 5 units of tuition when they return to defend their thesis.

The cost of the units can be found at the Student Financial Services website. For specific details, please refer to the Doctoral Student Status Policy.

The faculty have selected a canonical set of Software Engineering papers that incoming students read in the first semester of the program. These classic papers develop timeless ideas that transcend technology changes, and the ideas embodied in their solutions often apply to current problems. This set of papers is available as Carnegie Mellon Institute for Software Research Technical report CMU-ISR-15-107.

The Software Research Seminar (SSSG) at CMU relies on active participation and a supportive community to help students broaden their understanding of software research and hone their presentation skills. This document briefly outlines our expectations for Software Engineering Ph.D. students with respect to SSSG.

General Expectations

A.  Attend SSSG presentations each week

B.  Participate by asking questions, contributing to the discussion, and giving constructive verbal and written feedback to presenters. Using an electronic device for purposes other than note-taking or feedback on the presentation is considered to be non-participation.

C.  Give 2 well-prepared SSSG talks per year.  The faculty recognizes that students may occasionally have conflicts with particular SSSG dates; in these cases the Reasonable Person Principle applies. There may occasionally be a systematic conflict, such as an overlapping course, in which case advance approval should be arranged with advisor and PhD Program Director (but not more than once for any student). In the rare case when a student's participation or presentations falls significantly below expectations, the faculty will require remedial action appropriate to the student.

PhD students in software engineering are required to register for this seminar on an ongoing basis, and all other graduate students are encouraged to attend. The schedule is posted on the SSSG web page.