Expected Progress Toward the Ph.D. in ACO

Most items in this section are not a strict requirement, but a guideline as to how ACO students should progress. ACO students should strive for a cumulative GPA of 4.0. All required coursework must be passed with a grade of B or better.

Year 1: Classes, searching for prospective research advisement. CS and ISYE students are strongly encouraged to identify an advisor by late Fall of the 1st year. 

Year 2: Sit for and pass the comprehensive examination in the first semester. At the end of the second year, each student should have a formal dissertation advisor 

Year 3: Independent research; defense of the research proposal. By the completion of the third year, students should have produced at least one result satisfying the following specification based upon their field of study:

  • CS: Accepted to a top tier conference/symposia (*)
  • ISyE: Accepted to a top tier conference/symposia. (*) 
  • Math: Draft of a paper publishable in a top tier specialized journal.

(*) Some examples: FOCS, STOC, SODA, IPCO, NeurIPS, ICML, EC, WINE, etc.

In subsequent years students are expected to devote their efforts toward completing the dissertation. The expectation is that ACO students should complete their work in approximately five years. The quality of the dissertation is expected to meet the following specifications based on the respective field of study:

  • CS: One or two papers accepted by top conferences and the corresponding articles submitted to top journals.
  • ISyE: At least one paper accepted by Mathematical Programming or a wider-scope journal of similar quality.
  • Math: At least one paper accepted by a top specialized journal, other papers submitted.

For the first two years of ACO study, the following schedule of core courses is typical: (Suggested, but not compulsory...)

1st Semester
  ISyE 7661 Linear Inequalities
  Math 6014 Graph Theory
  Math 6121 Algebra I
  CS 6505 or CS 6520 Computability and Algorithms or Computational Complexity
2nd Semester
  CS 6550 Analysis of Algorithms
  Math 7018 Probabilistic Methods in Combinatorics
  ISyE 7686 Advanced Combinatorial Optimization
3rd Semester
  - - - Other required coursework
Comprehensive Examination Covering the Program Core
4th Semester
  - - - Other required coursework