Campus & Online Doctorate Degrees in Computer Science

A doctorate degree is the terminal achievement in the study of computer science. It is designed for professionals who wish to make a lasting impact and contribution to both practice and knowledge in the field. A doctorate in computer science can make a bigger impact on the graduate’s marketability and also allow the Ph.D. to impact others in the field through instruction at the university level. Though doctorate programs are traditionally steeped in research and writing, students still take some traditional coursework. There are three different delivery options from which to choose. Students who enjoy face-time with professors and fellow doctoral candidates can take classes on location in a campus-based program. An online program offers the most flexibility, allowing students to participate in classes and submit work via the Internet in real-time (synchronous) or at their own pace (asynchronous). Hybrid programs offer a middle ground so students can enjoy the flexibility of online classes while maintaining some on-campus requirements. This guide familiarizes students with the basics of a computer science doctorate, including some of the required course expectations and many important questions doctoral candidates face before, during and after graduation.

Introduction to the Doctorate Degree in Computer Science

Earning a Ph.D. in computer science helps the doctoral candidate acquire the education and research background necessary to work in an academic or high-level non-academic career. Graduates take away an in-depth understanding of a very specialized area in computer science, allowing them to make significant contributions to the area of expertise.

Central requirements for a doctorate degree in computer science vary based on the specialized area and school of attendance. Courses center on intensive research and writing projects, but students also explore high-level design issues, evaluate and develop security and software processes, and test and implement experiments. At this level, doctoral candidates should already be fluent in programming languages and other core areas, but some schools may require specific prerequisites, in the form of breadth requirements, prior to beginning research. Here’s an example class lineup for doctoral students in computer science:

Year 1 Overview
Research Methodology This course familiarizes doctoral students with research concepts and expectations and how to apply these concepts to educational research.
Quantum Computing This project-base course explores quantum computation and its superiority relative to classical deterministic and bounded-error probabilistic computing.
Artificial Intelligence Students evaluate robotics, computer vision, natural language processing, information organization and retrieval, and machine learning.
Theoretical Research This course focuses on constructing formal models of computation that are validated primarily by mathematical proof.
Year 2 Overview
Programming Language and Methodology At a very high level, students use computer applications to design, decompose, and test computer programming methodology.
Scientific Computing and Applications Students are trained to formulate a problem in mathematical terms, carry out appropriate mathematical analysis, formulate a solution, and write a computer program that solves the original problem.
Systems Research In this course, students learn how to improve computing platforms by making them faster, more reliable, and more secure.
Applied Research Students learn about applied research in an effort to develop new methods for using computers to solve problems.
Years 3 & 4 Overview
Dissertation Research and Proposal Students work on researching their dissertation topic and prepare to present it to the dissertation committee. The research project should contribute new knowledge to a specialized area of computing and demonstrate the student’s proficiency in this area.
Dissertation Research and Defense Students finalize their dissertation, then submit and defend it to their dissertation committee.

Student profile: Robert – Doctorate degree in computer information systems

Robert is a prolific student with an extensive history in academia. After earning his bachelor’s degree in computer science, he went on to earn a master’s while working in the university’s information technology department full time. Wanting to stay in an academic arena, but with a desire to contribute directly to the education of others, Robert has chosen to earn a Ph.D. in computer information systems. He knows he can use his degree to teach others, thus being able to affect a new generation of computer scientists.

Salary Expectations for Ph.D. Holders in Computer Science

Career Entry-Level Salary with M.S. Entry-Level Salary with Ph.D.
Computer and Information Research Science $102,660 $151,900
Computer (Hardware) Engineering $88,279 $150,130
Computer Programming $59,133 $117,890
Computer Systems Analyst $72,200 $96,748

Scholarships for Computer Science Doctoral Students

Paying for college can be a challenge, especially at the post-graduate level. However, students interested in furthering their education and making an impact at a doctoral level have many scholarship opportunities from which to choose.

IBM Ph.D. Fellowship – This is a highly competitive worldwide program that honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study.

Facebook Fellowship Program – This program is designed to build relationships with faculty, graduate students, and university researches in an effort to resolve technical challenges and contribute to the academic community.

Google Fellowship Program – This program was created to recognize outstanding graduate students doing exceptional work in computer science, related disciplines, or promising research areas.

Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award – The graduate fellowship is a merit-based program that supports the graduate education of promising technical talent.

Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellowship Program – This is a two-year fellowship program for outstanding Ph.D. students who are nominated by their respective universities.

Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship Program – A one-year scholarship program for outstanding women graduate students, this award is designed to help increase the number of women pursuing a Ph.D.

NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship Program – NVIDIA partners with industry leaders to tackle some of the most complex computing challenges and developed this program to seek innovative and talented doctoral students.

Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science – Graduate students with an outstanding track record of research accomplishments are eligible for this program.

National GEM Consortium – GEM Fellowship programs are available for master’s and doctorate students and are paired with paid summer internships.

Verne R. Dapp Memorial Scholarship – The American Nuclear Society sponsors this scholarship, among others, offered in odd years for students pursuing advanced degrees in nuclear-related fields.

SWE Scholarships – The Society of Women Engineers offers a long list of scholarships for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree through doctorate.

Internships

Internships are a good way to further research studies in a real-world setting. Many internships are paid, but even unpaid opportunities provide great experience for the Ph.D. candidate.

J.P.Morgan – Interns test theoretical skills in a fast-paced, real-world environment. Opportunities are available in quantitative research and fixed income strategy.

Cyber Systems and Technology Group – Summer interns assist in the development and use of new cyber models and analytics to help characterize network and user behavior.

Bloomberg – Bloomberg offers internships in a wide variety of technology specializations all over the world.

Intel’s Atom Products Team – Based in Phoenix, students pursuing a master’s or doctorate in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, or other related fields are eligible for this internship.

Graduate Student Researchers Program – Designed for students pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate in the sciences.

Lewis’ Educational Research Collaborative Internship Project – Students studying a bachelor’s degree or higher in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degree are eligible for this paid internship.

Independent Validation and Verification Project – This is a 10-week resident summer research project for university juniors and seniors and graduate students who are pursuing careers in computer science, software engineering, information systems, or a related field.

USRA Visiting Scientist & Fellowship – Designed for post-graduates seeking fellowships or graduate students looking for an assistantship, research professionals can expand their knowledge base beyond a traditional academic setting.

Conclusion

A doctorate degree in computer science can help catapult a career in technology research or academia. Graduates typically have more job opportunities, and the salary potential is higher. They also are able to delve into computer theory and are situated to put research to practical use as they learn how to manipulate and change today’s technology to benefit tomorrow. The information presented here helps illustrate the career potential for those interested in pursuing a doctorate degree in computer science.

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SCHOOL NAME CITY, STATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE TUITION PROGRAM TYPE PROGRAMS
Arizona State UniversityTempe, AZ72,254Public, 4-year$9,208Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst
  • Computer Science
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services- Other
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Computer Engineering Technology/Technician
  • Computational Mathematics
Master’s
  • Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Bioinformatics
Doctorate
  • Computer Science
  • Bioinformatics
University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL58,465Public, 4-year$4,426Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer and Information Sciences- Other
  • Computer Engineering- General
Doctorate
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Engineering- General
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH56,867Public, 4-year$9,168Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Computer Engineering- General
Doctorate
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Biostatistics
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN52,557Public, 4-year$12,060Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Biostatistics
  • Bioinformatics
Doctorate
  • Computer Science
  • Biostatistics
  • Bioinformatics
The University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX51,112Public, 4-year$9,790Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
Master’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics
Doctorate
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computational and Applied Mathematics
Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station, TX50,230Public, 4-year$5,297Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • System Networking and LAN/WAN Management/Manager
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Information Science/Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • Computer Engineering- General
Doctorate
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering- General
University of FloridaGainesville, FL49,589Public, 4-year$4,425Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Biostatistics
Doctorate
  • Computer Engineering- General
Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI47,825Public, 4-year$12,622Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Information Science/Studies
  • Computer Engineering- General
  • Computational Mathematics
Master’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
Doctorate
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusUniversity Park, PA45,628Public, 4-year$15,562Campus
Associate
  • Information Science/Studies
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Information Science/Studies
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Information Science/Studies
  • Computer Science
Doctorate
  • Information Science/Studies
  • Computer Science
Florida International UniversityMiami, FL44,616Public, 4-year$4,668Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Engineering- General
Master’s
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General
  • Computer Engineering- General
Doctorate
  • Computer and Information Sciences- General