The Department of Computer Science & Engineering offers PhD programs in Computer Science and in Computer Engineering. Computer Science research encompasses the fundamentals of software and algorithm design, machine learning and bioinformatics, visual and cyber-physical computing, and human-computer interaction. Computer Engineering focuses on the interaction of software and hardware in the design of computing systems and networks. Our research groups have extensive interdisciplinary ties across the university, with collaborations in medicine, science, the humanities, and social work. Recent graduates have accepted research and teaching faculty positions, and research and engineering positions in leading technology companies.

Both PhD programs require a combination of course work, research, and teaching. The course work is often completed early in the program since students are integrated into research groups in their first year and the program emphasis is on creative research. The program has milestones with both written and oral components that provide structure to the five- to six-year degree. The program considers applicants with either bachelor's or master's degrees and has had successful applicants in the past whose prior training is outside of computer science.

PhD in Computer Science or Computer Engineering

Students can choose to pursue a PhD in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. The requirements vary for each degree. Here are the core requirements:

  • Complete 72 units of regular courses (at least 33 units), seminars (at least 3 units), and research credits (at least 24 units), including 9 units of breadth requirements for both the PhD in Computer Science and Computer Engineering degrees.
  • Satisfy fundamental teaching requirements by acting as a teacher or course TA, pedagogical teaching requirements by completing a certain number of qualifying pedagogy workshops, and scholarly communication requirements by participating in the Doctoral Student Research Seminar.
  • Pass milestones demonstrating abilities to understand research literature, communicate orally and in writing, and formulate a detailed research plan. These milestones include an oral qualifying examination, a portfolio review for admission to candidacy, and a dissertation proposal defense, culminating in a dissertation defense.

For more information, please refer to the Doctoral Program Guide on our website.