Carnegie Mellon University

SE PhD Program Information

Here you will find resources for current students.

Software Engineering ABD/ABS Information

All But Dissertation, ABD, status is intended for students whose only remaining requirements are the completion and defense of their thesis. Once a student meets the departmental criteria, All But Dissertation status must be approved by the department in writing to In order to meet the requirements for ABD/ABS in the Software Engineering PhD program all students must:

  1. Meet Star course requirements
  2. Meet Elective requirements
  3. Complete both (2) practicums
  4. TA two courses
  5. Speaking requirement approved
  6. Writing requirement approved
  7. Residency requirement of 4 semesters

Please note: Students who go ABS must pay for the cost of 5 units of tuition when they return to defend their thesis.

The cost of the units can be found at the HUB website. For specific details, please refer to the the University Doctoral Student Status Policy regarding ABD/ABS.

Software Research Seminar (SSSG)

The Software Research Seminar (SSSG) at CMU relies on active participation and a supportive community to help students broaden their understanding of software research and hone their presentation skills. This document briefly outlines our expectations for Software Engineering Ph.D. students with respect to SSSG.

General Expectations

A.  Attend both SSSG presentations each week

B.  Participate by asking questions, contributing to the discussion, and giving constructive verbal and written feedback to presenters. Using an electronic device for purposes other than note-taking or feedback on the presentation is considered to be non-participation.

C.  Give 2 well-prepared SSSG talks per year.  The faculty recognizes that students may occasionally have conflicts with particular SSSG dates; in these cases the Reasonable Person Principle applies. There may occasionally be a systematic conflict, such as an overlapping course, in which case advance approval should be arranged with advisor and PhD Program Director (but not more than once for any student). In the rare case when a student's participation or presentations falls significantly below expectations, the faculty will require remedial action appropriate to the student.

PhD students in software engineering are required to register for this seminar on an ongoing basis, and all other graduate students are encouraged to attend. The schedule is posted on the SSSG web page. 

Canonical Software Engineering Papers

The faculty have selected a canonical set of Software Engineering papers that incoming students read in the first semester of the program. These classic papers develop timeless ideas that transcend technology changes, and the ideas embodied in their solutions often apply to current problems. This set of papers is available as Carnegie Mellon Institute for Software Research Technical report CMU-ISR-15-107.