(Answers are valid as of Fall 2019)
Q: What is the policy for transferring credits from prior (UG/MS) institutions?
The track allows up to 12 course credits to be transferred from "equivalent" courses from students' prior institutions. In some special cases approved by the track director (e.g., when a student was enrolled as a student at the University of Utah in a different department), more than 12 credits may also be transferred.
For each course, the student must get the approval of the corresponding instructor, and must submit (a) information about the equivalent course (course webpage, syllabus, instructor), (b) transcript showing the student's grade in the course.
Q: Should electives necessarily be from the set of electives posted in the handbook?
While the core courses have to be taken as specified in the handbook, we are generally flexible in the choice of the electives. Most courses offered by track faculty will be allowed as electives. Furthermore, appropriate data-related courses from Math/Electrical Engineering departments could count as electives. However, in all such cases, students need explicit permission from the track director.
Q: How do the PhD qualifier and thesis proposal work in the data track?
Data track students often complete their PhD qualifiers and thesis proposal "together". Starting in the fall of 2019, we have made the rules here more concrete, to comply with department and university guidelines. A detailed document about this will be posted here shortly. In short, students will end up producing two different documents (one for qualifier and one for thesis proposal).
Q: What if certain "core" courses are not offered in a certain year?
Note that the department will try its best to offer each core course at least once every academic year. However, there might be circumstances (see below) under which a core course is not offered in a particular year. In such cases, the track director will list a set of different courses, any of which may be taken as a substitute for the course.
(Specific to 2019-20) What courses can we take in place of Database Systems?
Unfortunately, graduate-level Database Systems will not be offered in the academic year (2019-20). In place of this, any of the following systems classes can be used as a core course: Programming Languages (Fall 2019), Advanced Operating Systems (Fall 2019), Operating Systems (Spring 2020).
Additionally, if you can demonstrate a strong systems background (via UG courses), we can allow a non-systems course to be taken. This will be done on a case-by-case basis by the track director.