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Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science program is especially well suited to those in industry, education, or government who are involved with one of the many areas of computer science and information technology. This program provides research-oriented professionals knowledge in the major areas of computer science, the tools and ability to develop creative solutions to substantive real-world problems. Its unique format combines traditional and online instruction to provide professionals the opportunity to pursue graduate study while continuing to work in their current positions.

The degree program is designed for students with a bachelor’s or master's degree in computer science, or a closely related field. The B.S. to Ph.D. and M.S. to Ph.D. pathways emphasize core computer science knowledge in programming languages, operating systems, database management systems, software engineering, and design and analysis of algorithms.  Additionally, coursework and research areas leading to the completion of a dissertation include cybersecurity, software engineering, computer systems, artificial intelligence, and data science.

Coursework

Students must complete a minimum of 51 credits in the M.S. to Ph.D. pathway or a minimum of 66 credits in the B.S. to Ph.D. pathway.

Qualifier Stage for Admission to Candidacy

Students must maintain a minimum of 3.2 GPA in core courses for the Ph.D. program and a B or higher in each core course.  Additionally, students must successfully complete the core course requirement before taking doctoral research courses. 

Each student must defend their research topic concept paper by the end of the second doctoral research course.  The research topic concept review is conducted by a faculty committee prior to the official idea paper and dissertation committee formation. If the research concept is not successfully defended by the end of the third doctoral research course, the student will be dismissed.

Upon successful completion of the course and research topic defense requirements, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.

Comprehensive Stage Dissertation Proposal

Students must successfully pass the qualifier stage, secure an advisor and dissertation committee, and have an approved Idea Paper before pursing dissertation course registration.  After the student has achieved sufficient depth in a field of study, they prepare a proposal for the Ph.D. dissertation.  Upon approval of the written proposal, the student has to present the proposed work orally to the dissertation committee.

 Doctoral Dissertation

The student registers for one year (three terms) of dissertation, at eight credits per term. Students who have not completed the dissertation after one year of dissertation registrations must register for Continuing Dissertation, three terms per year, until they have satisfied the dissertation requirement. Students not on approved leave register for each term following the one in which they enter candidacy.

Dissertation Defense

The dissertation defense consists of a presentation given by the candidate on the topic focus of the dissertation. This includes questions from the dissertation committee and others in attendance. The defense is chaired by the Ph.D. advisor.

Time Limitation

The Ph.D. maximum time frame to complete the dissertation is ten years from date of entering the program.

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