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Doctoral in Computer Science

Overview of Field

The doctoral of computer science provides rigorous training in research and teaching in the field of computer science. Students enrolled in the doctoral in computer science program focus on the theoretical aspects of the field. Some come up with new algorithms while others investigate mathematical techniques relevant to the field.

Admission Criteria

The doctoral degree in computer science admits students who are believed to be prepared for a research oriented degree. Some students with a background in mathematics are also considered for admission. For most universities, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose/Goals
  • Any computer science related experience
  • Master’s degree transcripts

Some universities might have additional requirements, including tests such as GRE, TOEFL or IELTS. The admission criteria are subject to change, according to university policies.

Structure and Duration of the Degree Program

A doctoral degree in computer science is generally designed as a four year degree program. Students devote the first two years to getting exposure to graduate level coursework. Some students who have a master’s degree may opt out of this requirement. The second half of the program tends to focus on the original thesis. Students cannot complete the doctoral degree in computer science without successfully completing and defending their thesis.

Highlights of the coursework

The coursework in the doctoral degree in computer science includes workshops and research seminars. Graduate courses are less structured than undergraduate courses and so those completing a doctoral of computer science are involved in some form of a project in all of their classes. Students enrolled in the doctoral degree in computer science should thus have sufficient exposure to research by the time the thesis comes around.

Other than projects, thesis and research, to complete a doctoral in computer science, there are a few courses that you would typically be expected to complete. These include:

  • Simulation and modeling
  • Automata complexity theory
  • Algorithm design
  • Computer ethics
  • Research methods
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Technology and innovation management
  • Research methods
  • Concurrent and distributed systems
  • Modern compiler design
  • Discrete mathematics for computer scientists
  • Doctoral writing and inquiry into research
  • Techniques and interpretation for advanced statistical research

Keep in mind that the course structure varies from university to university. However, these topics would generally be a part of the curriculum since they form the basis of many advanced courses.

Potential Areas of Doctoral Research in Computer Science

Since research is an integral part of a Ph.D. program, a lot of students are concerned about getting their research topic right. They typically wish to come up with a topic that can get their proposal approved and at the same time interesting enough to work on.

Here are some of the major areas for doctoral research in computer science:

  • Mobile computing and wireless networks
  • Computer networks and protocols
  • Ad hoc networks
  • Semantics of programming languages
  • Parallel algorithms and architectures
  • Numerical analysis and scientific computing
  • Data mining
  • Semantics web
  • Symbolic and algebraic computation
  • Mathematical programming
  • Visualization techniques
  • Software measurement
  • Software comprehension and maintenance
  • User interface
  • Bioinformatics
  • Software architecture
  • Software measurement
  • Multimedia computing
  • Natural language processing

However, it goes without saying that the list of research topics could be endless. Whatever research topic that gets finalized, you will have a pre-specified faculty member to supervise your reserach.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate with a doctoral degree in computer science, you need to meet a certain number of requirements. For most universities offering this program, the requirements include the following:

  • Credits: The number of credits you might be required to complete after a master’s degree could be 90 (approximately) and without a master’s degree could be around 106.
  • Residence: For candidates admitted to this program with a master’s degree, the minimum period of residence would be lower – typically somewhere around two years of full-time study  or the equivalent in part-time study. On the other hand, candidates admitted with a bachelor’s degree would have a minimum residence period of around 36 months of full-time study.
  • Transfer Credits: This will vary according to individual university’s policies. You can check with the admissions office or submit relevant courses for transfer as per the official procedure.
  • Comprehensive Examination: This might include oral and written examinations after two years of coursework have been completed. Students will be assessed on the basis of their understanding of the fundamental concepts relevant to their research.
  • Doctoral Research Proposal: After successfully passing the comprehensive examinations, you will have to submit a doctoral research proposal. The proposal should ideally contain a critical review of previous work relevant to the topic as well as a detailed plan of action and expected milestones you will be achieving throughout the course of this project. The proposal might be accepted in the first attempt, rejected or sent back for modifications.
  • Thesis: This is the most important part of a Ph.D. program. It requires students to conduct research and develop or design a project that contributes positively to the field of computer science.

Career prospects and average salary

Those with a doctoral degree in computer science may work either in industry or academia. Some are able to commercialize their research work, while others find employment opportunities in software houses and technology firms.

A large number of computer science graduates end up in computer programming. This field requires using a series of commands, coded in a specific programming language such as C++ or Python. Fixing programs, as well as making changes and updates as necessary are typical computer science job descriptions. With a Ph.D. in computer science, you may take on more advanced roles that involve duties of a computer engineer, such as designing programs and assessing the needs of computer users and programs.

Another common career path computer science graduates tend to follow is of computer and information research scientist. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for these professionals was $108,360 and the typical entry-level education was a doctoral or professional degree. The jobs in this sector are expected to grow at 11% between 2014 and 2024.  Most computer research scientists worked full time and about 1 in 10 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

A doctorate degree in computer science can help catapult your career in technology research and academics. Higher education in this sector can lead to better job opportunities and higher salary potentials.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:State the length/duration and application courses of a doctoral in computer science degree?

A:A Doctorate degree in computer science is a post graduate degree p program. The program is has a duration ranging from 4 to 6 years. The program is research based and focuses on building analysis and decision making skills of students. Application programs that are included in the course are: distributed systems, compilers, database systems, software engineering, and communication networks.

Q:What are the contents of the computer science courses such as Fundamentals of Management?

A:The Computer Science courses such as Fundamentals of Management are worth 2 credits in total. It is designed to provide students with ample understanding of the skill based approaches to the process of planning and strategic decision making. Hands on experience is also provided to the students to get them better understanding.

Q:How do I enroll in computer science phd programs?

A:To enroll in computer science doctoral programs, you need to have a masters degree in the same or a similar field. The admission criteria for computer science degrees varies from school to school. You must have a masters degree to qualify for admission in doctoral programs. Apart from this, you may need a few letters of recommendation.

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