Level 2

The goal of Level 2 is the development of a dissertation proposal acceptable to a dissertation committee. During this phase you will work under the close direction of a research advisor and participate in research seminars. In addition to making presentations at departmental research seminars, you are expected to make a presentation of preliminary research results at regional or national research conferences on and off campus.

Dissertation Committee

During Level 2 you will form a dissertation committee consisting of at least three CS faculty members and at least two outside members. The majority of the committee must be from from CS and all members must be on the UAB Graduate Faculty. Members from outside UAB can be made members of the UAB Graduate Faculty through a formal request to the Graduate School (contact the CS administrative associate for information).

The main on-campus research presentation event is Graduate Student Research Day, held during the spring semester. Regional conferences that are popular and convenient for this initial presentation and publication are the annual meetings of the Alabama Academy of Science and the Mid-Southeast Chapter of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), and the ACM Southeast Conference.

During this phase of the program you are required to:

  • demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate published research
  • confirm your understanding of the important issues in the chosen area, and
  • propose an original contribution that will advance the state of knowledge in that area.

Multi-disciplinary research is encouraged so that your contributions will not only impact the field of computer science but other disciplines and research groups on campus as well.


Advanced courses and seminars in your area of research are assigned by your advisor. Directed research hours (CS 796) are usually appropriate.

The Dissertation Proposal

The culmination of Level 2 is the development of a dissertation proposal, which is evaluated by your dissertation committee in the Level 2 Exam. If the committee approves your proposal you will be admitted to candidacy.

All Institutional Review Board (IRB) approvals must be obtained in advance of the Level 2 exam and of the work that is being done. Please see the UAB IRB website for details.

A copy of the approved Level 2 thesis proposal must be given to the Graduate Program Director after the successful Level 2 Exam to place into the student’s file.


The Level 2 Exam must be successfully passed within 2.5 years of the completion of the Level 1 Qualifying Exam.