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Academic Requirements prior to Fall 2011

Students must satisfy the Institute's requirements as described in the general catalog. However, specific requirements for the ACO program may vary significantly from those of other programs in the participating departments.

Regardless of the home department, each ACO student must complete the ACO core courses. At least 18 hours of course work beyond the program core must also be completed; some of these additional courses are specified by the student's home department. All required courses must be passed with a grade of B or better. Here is a list of past and current ACO-related courses. Other requirements include the minor field of study, passing the comprehensive examination, defending a research proposal, and successful defense of the dissertation. Currently enrolled ACO students should consult the FAQ page for more information.

Graduate level courses taken at other institutions may be used to satisfy ACO course requirements with the approval of the Coordinating Committee. However, the Committee may request passing an examination in the subject before granting this approval.

Core Courses (prior to Fall 2011)

The ACO core curriculum consists of the following one-semester courses:


Industrial and Systems Engineering


Additional Course Requirements (prior to Fall 2011)

Each student must complete at least 18 semester hours of course work at the 6000 or higher level in addition to the courses that constitute the program core. The student's home department may specify some of the courses used to fulfill this requirement.

The current departmental requirements are the following:


Industrial and Systems Engineering


Comprehensive Examination (prior to Fall 2011)

ACO students are strongly encouraged to pass the written Comprehensive Examination by the end of their third academic semester in residence (that is, not counting the summer semester), and must take it before the end of their fourth academic semester. This examination will be based on the content of the courses in the program core and one additional course selected from CS 7520 or CS 7530. [Note: Students with home in Mathematics or ISyE who matriculated prior to May 1, 2010 may select from CS 7520, CS 7530, CS 6520, or CS 7510.]

Based on the results of this test as well as other measures of the student's performance, the Coordinating Committee may pass the candidate, fail the candidate with a recommendation that the test be re-administered in part or in whole after allowing at most one year for remediation of the student's deficiencies, or fail the student unconditionally. Upon passing the examination, students will be advised that they will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. upon satisfactory completion of all requirements and filing a statement naming the dissertation advisor and research topic.

Examination Syllabi (Prior to Fall 2011)

Research Proposal

By the end of their third calendar year in residence, each ACO student must defend a Research Proposal. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that the student has adequate knowledge of a research area that would allow a thesis of the quality expected by ACO students, that the student is aware of an adequate supply of research problems, that he or she has a plan to pursue those problems, and that he or she is capable to carrying out his or her plan. Detailed guidelines are available here.

Minor Field of Study

Each student must satisfy the Institute's requirement of a minor program of study of at least 9 hours of course work chosen to the satisfaction of the Coordinating Committee and the student's home department. Courses in the ACO core curriculum may not be used as part of a minor program.

The Dissertation and Final Doctoral Examination

A student's thesis research may be carried out under the direction of any member of the program faculty. Research topics may therefore be chosen from a wide range of subjects in combinatorics, complexity and the analysis of algorithms, and combinatorial optimization.

The dissertation and final doctoral examination must meet the usual criteria of the Institute. Dissertation advisory committees and doctoral examination committees must represent the student's home department and at least one other unit participating in the program.

Each ACO thesis must be available for public viewing at least one month prior to the scheduled defense. For each ACO thesis a recognized expert in the field (other than the advisor or coadvisors, if any) must be designated as "reader". The reader may or may not be from Georgia Tech, and may or may not be a member of the thesis committee. A report from the reader must be available to the thesis committee and the ACO Director prior to the defense. The reader's report should comment on the main research contributions, readability and publishability of the results.

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Last modified: August 31, 2012

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