A candidate for the Ph.D. degree should demonstrate broad knowledge of the various areas of Computing Science, and in particular, the way in which these areas relate to one other.
A token-based approach is used to evaluate the candidate's knowledge. A token represents knowledge of an area such as might reasonably form a graduate course. The following activities would normally count as tokens:
- a grade of at least B- in a graduate course at Queen's (excluding CISC 897 & CISC 810) or equivalent in standard to one at Queen's;
- a research project,
- appropriate work carried out in industry, or
- a Master's thesis.
The candidate demonstrates breadth by presenting ten tokens with an appropriate distribution among the following areas:
- theory of computation,
- computer systems,
- applications within computing, and
- multidisciplinary studies.
Area 4 (multidisciplinary studies) is optional and is intended to encourage recruitment of students who may not have a "conventional" computing background but who clearly demonstrate the skills and methodology that we expect of our doctoral students.
At least two tokens in each of the core computing areas (theory of computation, computer systems and applications within computing) are required. Graduate computing courses are categorized according to these three core areas, which guides students in obtaininga token in each area. Normally, at least 4 courses from the School of Computing are required. The Ph.D. program committee ultimately decides whether a proposed token is acceptable.
When a supervisory committee has been appointed, the candidate presents a plan for meeting the breadth requirements to it for discussion and approval. The proposal must provide a clear description of each token.
- A course token requires the calendar description and name of instructor.
- A thesis token requires the title and abstract of thesis.
- A work token requires the job description.
When breadth proposal has been agreed upon, it is sent to the Ph.D. program committee for approval or modification. The Ph.D. program committee ensures that similar requirements are applied to all students.
Where a token is failed, a candidate may appeal to the Ph.D. program committee to substitute another token or to repeat the failed requirements.
The breadth proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee and submitted to the PhD committee before the end of the first term into the program. The breadth requirement must be fulfilled within one year of the first registration to maintain satisfactory progress.