Computer Science, PhD

Researchers from all fields use computational models to analyze massive amounts of data. There’s a growing need for computer scientists who can collaborate with other domains and also research ways to improve the networks, the operating systems, and the multitude of devices that are integrated into our daily lives.

Our PhD in Computer Science program prepares you for a career in research and/or teaching by providing the necessary course work and collaborative environment for both supervised and independent research. Our PhD students are researching mobile apps to help improve the science of learning, building operating systems for high-performance computers, addressing security and privacy from a data-oriented perspective, improving computer performance, and more.

You’ll have the opportunity to take part in the diverse faculty research collaborations with other departments and programs within the university, such as the Learning Research and Development Center, the School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

The PhD degree requires 72 credits of formal course work, independent study, directed study, and/or dissertation research. In addition to the credit requirement, 12 courses are required for the Ph.D. categorized as follows: four foundation courses, six elective courses, CS 2001 (Research Topics in Computer Science) and CS 2002 (Research Experiences in Computer Science). CS 2001 must be taken during the first fall term and CS 2002 must be taken during the following spring term.

The four foundation courses must cover each of the following four foundation areas.

Architecture and Compilers

Operating Systems and Networks

Theory and Algorithms

The six elective courses must be 2100-level or higher CSD courses and cannot be independent study courses (CS 2990, CS 3000), graduate internship (CS 2900), thesis project or research courses (CS 2910, CS 3900). At least two of the six courses must be at the 3000-level.

The following requirements apply to the 12 required courses:

  • All must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Students are required to complete the four required foundation area courses by the end of the fourth regular term of study. Regular terms include the fall and spring and do not include the summer session.
  • The student must receive a grade of B or better in each of the required foundation area courses, and a grade of B- or better in each of the six additional courses. In addition, he or she must maintain an overall average QPA of 3.0 or better.
  • No more than 6 of the 12 courses may be taken outside of the CSD. This includes courses that are transferred from other universities. All courses from outside the CSD must be approved by GPEC.
  • All 12 courses must be successfully completed before admission to candidacy for the PhD (This normally occurs when the student passes the oral examination during the dissertation proposal.)

For full degree requirements details, visit the Computer Science course catalog.

Admissions Requirements