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Computer science alumnus in front of giant computer screen with search results

Computer & Information Science Ph.D.

Offered by: Department of Computer & Information Science The doctoral program in Computer Science at IUPUI was approved in June 2016. The goal of the program is to prepare students for a career in research in computer science, whether in academic or industry.

Why Choose This Program?

The Department of Computer and Information Science (CIS) is a thriving department within the IUPUI School of Science. As a graduate students in the CIS Department, you will have an access to a world-class education and many opportunities to participate in state-of-the-art research programs and be mentored by Professors who are leaders in multiple areas of Computer Science. The rigorous, yet flexible graduate program curriculum will provide you with a Purdue graduate degree that is internationally recognized and respected.

Our students, through internships and research program, are presented with opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, across campus, and across the academic and business communities. Committed to having a real impact in their work on local and global communities, our graduates emerge armed with the technical proficiency, project management skills, communication expertise, and analytical skills needed to develop efficient solutions for the computing challenges of today and tomorrow.

What will you learn?

  • BS Degree in CS or in a related field.
  • Background knowledge requirements (ore CS topics, Data Structures, Math, etc.). If applicants have deficiencies, we recommend they enroll in courses on Data Structures, Computer Architecture, Operating Systems as needed with guidance from faculty.
  • GRE
  • GPA (>= 3.0)
  • We encourage outstanding candidates from other disciplines to apply.
Research Orientation Requirement

Students in their first year must take a 1 credit Pass/Fail seminar course (CSCI C59100) and as part of this course they must also complete the “Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research” course online and provide the certificate of completion.

Core Course Requirement

Students must satisfy this requirement by the end of their fourth semester by passing one theory core course, one systems core course and one course in an area of specialization with an average GPA of at least 3.5. A core or specialization course that does not meet the grade and GPA requirements can be taken at most a 2nd time. Taking another course (in the same core area or in the same specialization area, or taking a course in another specialization area) would count as the 2nd attempt. The 2nd attempt at satisfying the core course requirements will be considered a probationary period for the student to remedy the shortcoming.  Students must declare the area of specialization ahead of time with the approval of their advisory committee.  Students who have not satisfied their core course requirements by the end of their fourth semester according to the conditions described above cannot proceed further in their Ph.D. studies. 

The core courses and areas of specialization are defined as follows:

  • Theory core courses: CSCI 580 (Algorithms) and CSCI 565 (Programming Languages)
  • Systems core courses: CSCI 503 (OS), CSCI 504 (Computer Architecture)
  • Area Specialization courses:
    • Visualization, Image Processing and Machine Vision: CSCI 550, CSCI 552, CSCI 557, 590 (Multimedia)
    • Data Communication and Networking: CSCI 536, 590 (Wireless Sensor Networks)
    • Distributed Computing: CSCI 537 (Distr. Systems), 590 (Cloud Computing)
    • AI, Machine Learning and Data Analysis: CSCI 549, CSCI 573, 590 (ML)
    • Databases: CSCI 541
    • Software Engineering: CSCI 506, CSCI 507, 590 (Software Testing)
    • Security: CSCI 555, 590 (Trustworthy Computing)

Students who are admitted into the program with deficiencies in CS background (because their degrees are in another discipline) must prove that the deficiencies are eliminated by the end of their qualifying process. These areas (as described in the admissions requirements) are Data Structures, Computer Architecture, and Operating Systems.

Plan of Study 
  • Advisory Committee: Advisor +2 or more other faculty. Students must form their advisory committee by the end of their first year.
  • Overall course requirement: at least nine graduate level courses (including the two core and one specialization course) with GPA >= 3.3. Other courses need to be 500 or 600 level courses. 
    • A student receiving a grade lower than B- in a course on the Plan of Study will have to repeat or replace the course. If a course is repeated, only the most recent grade, even if lower, is used to compute the current GPA.
  • Policy for transferring courses from MS Degree:
    • MS courses taken within the IUPUI CS Department as part of our M.S. degree can be counted toward the Ph.D. course requirement.
    • For students with graduate courses from another institution, the faculty will consider approving the transfer of up to 30 credits upon petition by the student. The faculty will require a copy of the syllabus for each course considered for a transfer and decisions will be made on a case by case basis. Final approval of course transfers will be made by the IUPUI Graduate Office. The courses on the plan of study cannot have been used to satisfy requirements for an undergraduate degree nor can they cause the student's doctoral plan of study to include courses from more than one master's program.
  • Out of Department Courses
    • Request to include courses outside of the CS Department on the Ph.D. Plan of Study are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the department's Graduate Committee. Students wishing the to take out-of-department courses should contact the department's Graduate Advisor for information on the proper procedure to obtain approval for such courses. Approval for inclusion of out-of-department courses on the Ph.D Plan of Study must be received prior to registration. 
Preliminary Exam 
  • Students must pass a preliminary examination that tests competence in the student's research area and readiness for research on a specific problem. The content of the examination is at the discretion of the examining committee. Typically, the examination includes a proposal of thesis research, the student's preliminary research results, an oral presentation by the student on his/her thesis proposal, and other relevant material if requested by the examining committee. The form and content of the examination will be determined by the examination committee and will be communicated to the student by the committee chair, which normally is the student's advisor. 
  • The examining committee consists of the student's Advisory Committee, plus an additional member who is not on the advisory committee, as determined by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • The examination must be taken at least two semesters before the final examination of the thesis. It is advised, however, that the student take the preliminary exam by the end of the third semester following the one in which the students completes the qualifying process. 
Thesis and Final Exam
  • The thesis must present new results worthy of publication.
  • The student must defend the thesis publicly and to the satisfaction of the Examining Committee.
  • The Examining Committee consists of the Advisory Committee and one additional faculty member representing an area outside the thesis, as assigned by the Graduate Committee Chair.
  • The student can only defend their thesis after at least two semesters following the completion of the preliminary exam. The thesis defense should be completed by the end of the fourth semester following the one in which the student passes the preliminary examination. The Graduate Committee may grant extensions. 
Annual Reviews

Each doctoral student's academic and research progress in evaluated annually by their advisory committee. Students receive written feedback and guidance to support their progress.

Change in Requirements

The Ph.D requirements described above apply to all students entering or reentering the Department of Computer and Information science at IUPUI ("the Department") as degree-seeking graduate students in the Spring Session of 2017 or later. Existing students are subject to the requirements in effect when they entered the Department as a degree-seeking students.  

For students reentering, the date of the most recent reentry determines the degree requirements. Student who wish to take advantage of subsequent changes in the program requirements may apply to the Graduate Committee to be governed by all degree requirements in effect at a specified subsequent time. Choosing features from different sets of requirements is not permitted.

Students admitted prior to Spring, 2017 have the option of declaring their intent to follow the Computer Science Program plan from either PUWL or IUPUI.

What will you do?

Computer Science impacts nearly every segment of society from medicine to agriculture to entertainment on a daily basis. Ph.D. graduates have found success in:

  • Corporate Research and Advanced Product Development
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • University-level Academic Careers in Research and/or Teaching
  • Entrepreneurship through start-up companies

Helping get high school ready for college using real-word situations

Harold Owens Ph.D. Student, Computer Science