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PhD in Artificial Intelligence


To enter the Doctor of Philosophy in Artificial Intelligence, you must apply online through the UGA Graduate School web page. There is an application fee, which must be paid at the time the application is submitted.

There are several items which must be included in the application:

  • Standardized test scores, including the GRE. 
  • 3 letters of recommendation, preferably from university faculty and/or professional supervisors. We encourage you to submit the letters to the graduate school online as you complete the application process.
  • A sample of scholarly writing, in English. This can be anything you've written but should give an accurate indication of your writing abilities. The writing sample can be a term paper, research report, journal article, published paper, college paper, etc.
  • A completed Application for Graduate Assistantship, if you are interested in receiving funding. 
  • A Statement of Purpose.
  • A Resume or Curriculum Vitae.

Further information on program admissions is found in the AI Institute Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

International Students should also review the links on the Information for International Students page for additional information relevant to the application process.

Graduate School Policies

University of Georgia Graduate School policies and requirements apply in addition to (and, in cases of conflict, take precedence over) those described here. It is essential that graduate students familiarize themselves with Graduate School policies, including minimum and continuous enrollment and other policies contained in the Graduate School Bulletin.

Students should also familiarize themselves with Graduate School Dates and Deadlines relevant to the degree.

Degree Requirements

Students of the doctoral program must complete a minimum of 40 hours of graduate coursework and 6 hours of dissertation credit (for a total of 46 credit hours), pass a comprehensive examination, and write and defend a dissertation. In addition, the University requires that all first-year graduate students enroll in a 1-credit-hour GradFirst seminar. Each of these requirements is described in greater detail below.

The degree program is offered using an in-person format, and classes are in general scheduled for full-time students. There are currently no special provisions for part-time, online, or off-campus students. Students are expected to attend all meetings of classes for which they are registered.

Program of Study

The Program of Study must include a minimum of 40 hours of graduate course work and a minimum of 6 hours of dissertation credit. Of the 40 hours of graduate course work, at least 20 hours must be 8000-level or 9000-level hours.

Required Courses

The following courses must be completed unless specifically waived for students entering the program with a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence or a related field, or for students with substantially related graduate course work. All waived credits may be replaced by an equal number of doctoral research or doctoral dissertation credits (ARTI 9000, Doctoral Research or ARTI 9300, Doctoral Dissertation). Substitutions must be approved for a particular student by that student's Advisory Committee and by the Graduate Coordinator.

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses above, at least 6 additional courses must be taken from Groups A and Group B below, subject to the following requirements. 

  • At least 2 courses must be taken from Group A, from at least 2 areas.
  • At least 2 courses must be taken from Group B, from at least 2 areas.
  • At least 3 courses must be taken from a single area comprising the student’s chosen area of emphasis.

Since not all courses have the same number of credit hours, Ph.D. students may need to take additional graduate courses to complete the 40 hours.


AREA 1: Artificial Intelligence Methodologies

AREA 2: Machine Learning and Data Science

AREA 3: Machine Vision and Robotics

  • CSCI/ARTI 6530 Introduction to Robotics (4 hours)
  • CSCI 6800 Human Computer Interaction (4 hours)
  • CSCI 6850 Biomedical Image Analysis (4 hours)
  • CSCI 8850 Advanced Biomedical Image Analysis (4 hours)
  • CSCI 8820 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (4 hours)
  • CSCI 8530 Advanced Topics in Robotics (4 hours)
  • CSCI 8535 Multi Robot Systems (4 hours)

AREA 4: Cognitive Modeling and Logic

AREA 5: Language and Computation

  • ENGL 6885 Introduction to Humanities Computing (3 hours)
  • LING 6021 Phonetics and Phonology (3 hours)
  • LING 6080 Language and Complex Systems (3 hours)
  • LING 6570 Natural Language Processing (3 hours)
  • LING 8150 Generative Syntax (3 hours)
  • LING 8580 Seminar in Computational Linguistics (3 hours)
  • PHIL/LING 6300 Philosophy of Language (3 hours)

AREA 6: Artificial Intelligence Applications

  • ELEE 6280 Introduction to Robotics Engineering (3 hours)
  • ENGL 6826 Style: Language, Genre, Cognition (3 hours)
  • ENGL/LING 6885 Introduction to Humanities Computing (3 hours)
  • FORS 8450 Advanced Forest Planning and Harvest Scheduling (3 hours)
  • INFO 8000 Foundations of Informatics for Research and Practice
  • MIST 7770 Business Intelligence (3 hours)

Students may under special circumstances use up to 6 hours from the following list to apply towards the Electives group requirement. 

  • ARTI 8800 Directed Readings in Artificial Intelligence
  • ARTI 8000 Topics in Artificial Intelligence

Other courses may be substituted for those on the Electives lists, provided the subject matter of the course is sufficiently related to artificial intelligence and consistent with the educational objectives of the Ph.D. degree program. Substitutions can be made only with the permission of the student's Advisory Committee and the Graduate Coordinator.


In addition to the specific PhD program requirements, all first-year UGA graduate students must enroll in a 1 credit-hour GRSC 7001 (GradFIRST) seminar which provides foundational training in research, scholarship, and professional development. Students may enroll in a section offered by any department, but it is recommended that they enroll in a section offered by AI Faculty Fellows for AI students. More information is available at the  Graduate School website.

Core Competency

Core competency must be exhibited by each student and certified by the student’s advisory committee. This takes the form of achievement in the required courses of the curriculum. Students entering the Ph.D. program with a previous graduate degree sufficient to cover this basic knowledge will need to work with their advisory committee to certify their core competency. Students entering the Ph.D. program without sufficient graduate background to certify core competency must take at least three of the required courses, and then pursue certification with their advisory committee. A grade average of at least 3.56 (e.g., A-, A-, B+) must be achieved for three required courses (excluding ARTI 6950). Students below this average may take the fourth required course and achieve a grade average of at least 3.32 (e.g., A-, B+, B+, B).

Core competency is certified by the unanimous approval of the student's Advisory Committee as well as the approval by the Graduate Coordinator. Students are strongly encouraged to meet the core competency requirement within their first three enrolled academic semesters (excluding summer semester).  Core Competency Certification must be completed before approval of the Final Program of Study.

Comprehensive Examination

Each student of the doctoral program must pass a Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination covering the student's advanced coursework. The examination consists of a written part and an oral part. Students have at most two attempts to pass the written part. The oral part may not be attempted unless the written part has been passed.

Admission to Candidacy

The student is responsible for initiating an application for admission to candidacy once all requirements, except the dissertation prospectus and the dissertation, have been completed.

Dissertation and Dissertation Credit Hours

In addition to the coursework and comprehensive examination, every student must conduct research in artificial intelligence under the direction of an advisory committee and report the results of his or her research in a dissertation acceptable to the Graduate School. The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The dissertation must also demonstrate competent style and organization. While working on his/her dissertation, the student must enroll for a minimum of 6 credit hours of ARTI 9300 Doctoral Dissertation spread over at least 2 semesters.

Advisory Committee

Before the end of the third semester, each student admitted into the program should approach relevant faculty members and form an advisory committee. Until the committee is formed, the student will be advised by the graduate coordinator. The committee consists of a major professor and two other faculty members, as follows:

  • The major professor and at least one other member must be full members of the Graduate Program Faculty.
  • The major professor and at least one other member must be Institute for Artificial Intelligence Faculty Fellows.

Deviations from the 3-member advisory committee structure, including having more members, are in some cases permitted but must conform to Graduate School policies. 


The major professor and advisory committee shall guide the student in planning the dissertation.  The committee shall agree upon, document, and communicate expectations for the dissertation. These expectations may include publication or submission requirements, but, should not exceed reasonable expectations for the given research domain. During the planning stage, the student will prepare a dissertation prospectus in the form of a detailed written dissertation proposal. It should clearly define the problem to be addressed, critique the current state-of-the-art, and explain the contributions to research expected by the dissertation work. When the major professor certifies that the dissertation prospectus is satisfactory, it must be formally considered by the advisory committee in a meeting with the student. This formal consideration may not take the place of the comprehensive oral examination.

Approval of the dissertation prospectus signifies that members of the advisory committee believe that it proposes a satisfactory research study. Approval of the prospectus requires the agreement of the advisory committee with no more than one dissenting vote as evidenced by their signing an appropriate form to be filed with the graduate coordinator’s office.

Graduation Requirements - Forms and Timeline

Before the end of the third semester in residence, a student must begin submitting to the Graduate School, through the graduate coordinator, the following forms: (i) a Preliminary Program of Study Form and (ii) an Advisory Committee Form. The Program of Study Form indicates how and when degree requirements will be met and must be formulated in consultation with the student's major professor. An Application for Graduation Form must also be submitted directly to the Graduate School.
Forms and Timing must be submitted as follows:

  1. Advisory Committee Form (G130)—end of third semester
  2. Core Competency Form (Internal to IAI)—beginning of fourth semester
  3. Preliminary Doctoral Program of Study Form—Fourth semester
  4. Final Program of Study Form (G138)—before Comprehensive Examination
  5. Application for Admission to Candidacy (G162)—after Comprehensive Examination
  6. Application for Graduation Form (on Athena)—beginning of last semester
  7. Approval Form for Doctoral Dissertation (G164)—last semester
  8. ETD Submission Approval Form (G129)—last semester

Students should frequently check the Graduate School Dates and Deadlines webpage to ensure that all necessary forms are completed in a timely manner.

Student Handbook

Additional information on degree requirements and AI Institute policies can be found in the AI Student Handbook.

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