Ph.D. in Computer Science

Ph.D. candidates join this department to change the face of computer science, and rightly so: some of the most critical discoveries in the field have taken place here. Among our faculty are the inventor of a landmark algorithm for today’s computer graphics, a researcher deeply involved in creating the future of the Internet, a collaborator in three major software advances, and numerous experts in cybersecurity. Such industry leaders as Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Intel regularly collaborate with—and recruit from—the department, which has been honored as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education for academic years 2003 through 2014, and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research for years 2008 through 2013. All Ph.D. candidates receive financial support and begin their research immediately—getting them involved early and vigorously in this critical field.

Faculty Distinctions

  • Associate Professor John Oliensis’s landmark research in shape from shading resulted in the algorithm that underlies today’s sophisticated computer graphics. At the NEC Research Institute, he is the author of more than 35 publications.
  • A winner of the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, Associate Professor Adriana Compagnoni is collaborating with researchers from Princeton, Yale, and Ottawa on Proof Carrying Code, a technology to develop safe mobile software. Her interests center on language-based security.
  • As part of the NSF-funded Future Internet Design project, Research Professor Daniel Duchamp has chronicled the demise of the “traditional Internet” and proposed a novel mechanism for greater efficiency in the Internet of the future. He also focuses on operating systems, distributed systems, and mobile computing, among other areas.
  • The author of nearly 50 publications, Associate Professor Dominic Duggan has led three major software implementations, including SML/E (a type explanation facility for the world’s most widely used SML compiler) and Java M&M. He uses techniques in programming languages and software checking to establish end-to-end security for applications.
  • Associate Professor David Naumann is involved in several of the most ambitious projects in his field, including the NSF Cyber Trust (to achieve a vision of truly secure computing) and the Java Modeling Language. He focuses on the creation of practical, teachable, high-assurance engineering methods to develop dynamic yet secure computational structures.
  • Associate Professor George Kamberov’s research has won funding from such organizations as the Office of Naval Research and Verizon Government Services. His research interests range from real-time computer vision and surveillance systems to stochastic systems and high-energy physics.
  • A former researcher at DaimlerChrysler Research and Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories, Assistant Professor Susanne Wetzel focuses on cryptography (wireless security, secret sharing, privacy, and biometrics) and algorithmic number theory, especially new algorithms and heuristics for lattice basis reduction.

Research Areas

  • Computer security: wireless network security, cryptography, phishing, botnets, and language-based security (including information flow control)
  • Computer vision, visualization, and graphics: 3D shape from images, differential geometry methods, organizing unorganized point clouds, dynamic scene analysis, shape analysis, and indexing
  • Networks: Internet protocols, mobile computing
  • Software engineering: formal methods, trustworthy computing, software engineering education

Facilities

  • Computer Vision Laboratory
  • Computer Visualization and Graphics Laboratory
  • Laboratory for Secure Systems
  • Security Database Laboratory

Alumni Accomplishments

  • Edward Amoroso serves as senior vice president and chief security officer for AT&T. During his tenure in Bell Laboratories, he spent many years working to secure UNIX. He recently founded AT&T’s 24/7 information security television channel.

Admissions Requirements

To enter the doctoral program in computer science, you will be reviewed by the departmental graduate admissions committee.

You will need to submit the following:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Official college transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Official or attested conferment of bachelor’s degree
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement (A statement of research experience and interests)
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE or GMAT scores

International applicants (who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) must also submit:

  • Official TOEFL score, sent to School Code #2819 - This requirement is waived if the applicant has a degree from a University in a country where English is the native language.
  • Financial Verification Form or I-134

Admission is based on a review of your scholastic record and a match with the research interests of the faculty. Your academic performance must reflect your capability to pursue advanced studies and conduct independent research.

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 0 to 30 must be earned through course work, and 30 to 60 via research work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master’s program toward your doctoral degree.

Within two years of your admission, you must take a written qualifying examination to test your comprehension of the fundamentals and of the field. After passing the qualifying examination you must take an oral preliminary examination to evaluate your aptitude for advanced research and your understanding of the subjects associated with your dissertation topics. Upon satisfactory completion of this oral examination, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, and the results must make a significant, state-of-the-art contribution to the field, worthy of publication in current professional literature. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.