As with any degree program, our graduate programs are governed by an official set of rules and regulations. Most can be found in the UC Irvine catalogue. However, there are other policies with which you should familiarize yourself. For instance, it is possible to transfer courses taken elsewhere to our Ph.D. programs and have those courses count towards the degree requirements; waive all coursework for the Ph.D. program altogether if you already have a M.S. degree from elsewhere; or take a leave of absence if the circumstances so require.

The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences’ Student Affairs Office maintains a list of useful forms and policies:


In addition, the department maintains a crowdsourced, informal description of the various milestones involved:


A particularly important policy is that all Informatics and Software Engineering Ph.D. students must main satisfactory academic progress in order to be eligible for funding and continue their studies. To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students shall:

  • affiliate with a primary research advisor by the end of the first year and remain affiliated with an advisor throughout their tenure as students;
  • meet the requirements to qualify as a teaching assistant, including demonstrating English proficiency, by the beginning of the second year;
  • retain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher;
  • pass all required and elective courses with a grade of B or better;
  • pass all oral exams in a timely manner;
  • meet published timelines for completion of the degree;
  • meet deadlines and requirements imposed on them as individual students;
  • make adequate progress in research and/or creative work as determined by the department faculty; and
  • not have two consecutive cautionary letters resulting from formal departmental reviews.

Please review the campus policy on unsatisfactory progress, academic conditional status, and disqualification in the campus handbook on graduate policies and procedures.

While the conditions of satisfactory progress and the policies and procedures in the handbook may seem intimidating, it is our experience that the vast majority of our students need not be concerned about these, as they progress through the program normally. Moreover, for students who may run into an obstacle, their faculty advisor and the department will do everything they can to help them get back on track.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the Student Affairs Office at (949) 824-5156 or our vice chair for graduate affairs.