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Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

The Ph.D. program in Computer Science prepares graduates to advance the common good through computing innovation and information security. Potential impacts range from computing efficiency and improving quality of life to informing policy legislation, deriving business intelligence solutions, improving healthcare and education, and combating threats. The program prepares scholars not just to solve existing problems, but also to anticipate and avert looming threats to the world’s information infrastructure. Using the latest computing and immersive technologies, graduates will have the skills and knowledge necessary to develop new ways of communication, education, and economic growth that benefit society as a whole.

Although the faculty research areas covers many fields in computer science, from database to graph algorithms, the program’s main concentrations are Virtual Reality and Intelligent Systems, and Cybersecurity.

The Virtual Reality and Intelligent Systems research group has a vision of founding artificial intelligence solutions using “big data” and multimodal data for computer-simulated sensing systems and cognitive, semantic, and knowledge-empowered applications (i.e., artificial bots) that interact, converse, make decisions, discover emerging knowledge, and explore upcoming challenges in various virtual scenarios and domains.

The Cybersecurity Research group has a vision to develop systems that operate correctly, securely, and efficiently in a hostile environment. Their goal: innovative, robust, and trustworthy security solutions for emerging and future systems. Their expertise includes autonomous and cyber-physical systems; cyber resilience and trusted systems; wired and wireless networks; and side-channel analysis.

The faculty also is conducting research in autonomous systems, spanning technical domains including but not limited to computer science, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities. Planned research includes formal and mathematical analysis on the safety properties of autonomous systems such as self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and controlled aircraft systems. The need for research into legal, ethical, and regulatory implications opens the opportunity for multidisciplinary collaboration across the College and the University.

The student seeking admission should have a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education in mathematics, engineering, or one of the sciences to be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program. A master’s degree in computer science or a closely related field is desirable. Applicants are expected to have a substantial background in undergraduate computer science courses covering programming, data structures, algorithms, computer organization, theory of computing, and operating systems; they also should have coursework in discrete mathematics, calculus, and linear algebra. Normally, a graduate-level GPA of at least 3.4/4.0 is required.

Graduate credit from other accredited institutions of graduate learning will be reviewed by the graduate committees. Transfer of such credit may be accepted up to a maximum of six semester hours.

Graduate Admissions

The degree requires sixty semester hours, as follows:

  1. The Ph.D. coursework must include three one-credit-hour seminar courses, 12 credit hours from an approved list of 500/600-level VR and cybersecurity courses (students can choose to specialize in one of these areas and take all 12 credits from one area, or they can choose a more generalized path and take courses from both areas), and 15 credit hours from an approved list of 500/600-level elective courses. The one-credit-hour seminar courses will emphasize writing and presenting research and investigating techniques for result validations. Content will vary with the expertise of invited presenters, the concentrations of students, and advances in the field; they also may vary in format (e.g., lecture, panel) based on the subject matter. Responsibility for seminar content and planning will rotate among faculty. (See below for course of study.)
  2. The graduate program director advises on course selection until the student’s dissertation committee is formed. Once the student completes 19 credit hours of study, the student must file a request with the graduate program director to appoint a dissertation committee, which will determine the student’s remaining course of study.
  3. The course of study may include up to six credit hours of 500- and 600-level courses from academic departments other than computer science. These courses must be selected from a list approved by the Department of Computer Science graduate committee.
  4. The student must fulfill the requirements for the departmental written qualifying examination within three years of enrollment in the doctoral program. The student’s dissertation advisor organizes and administers the qualifying examination. The advisor assigns the creation of the examination to two or three faculty members; it is to be based on three areas of concentration related to the student’s intended dissertation area. Questions will be drawn from regular 500/600-level graduate courses the student has taken at UD related to the student’s dissertation topic. The grade for the exam will be pass or fail on each subject area. If a student fails to pass any area of the written examination, a second chance will be given for the failed topic test. Students who fail the qualifying examination after two attempts will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program.
  5. No more than 15 semester hours of dissertation credit may be taken prior to the student performing an oral candidacy examination, which is an oral presentation of the dissertation proposal. Consideration for candidacy requires 1) the successful completion of at least 75 percent of the course requirements; 2) the successful passing of all qualifying exams; and 3) an oral defense of the dissertation proposal. The members of the student’s dissertation committee, with at most one exception, must judge the dissertation proposal to be satisfactory. If the proposal is deemed unsatisfactory, the committee will schedule a second opportunity. If the dissertation committee does not deem the proposal defense satisfactory after the second attempt, the committee will evaluate the student for dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
  6. A student will be officially admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree after passing the oral candidacy examination and upon completion of all coursework. The student must then complete the required hours of dissertation credit, restricted to nine hours per semester. To be worthy of the Ph.D. degree, the dissertation must conform to high literary and scholastic standards and comply with all the relevant requirements of Graduate Academic Affairs as shown in the Graduate Catalog.
  7. Each candidate must give an oral defense of the dissertation to the candidate’s dissertation committee. This oral defense of the dissertation must take place at least six months after the oral candidacy exam (proposal defense). The dissertation will be accepted provided the dissertation advisor and at least two of the other three members of the committee so agree.
  8. From the dissertation, the candidate must publish (or have accepted for publication) a minimum of one article in a reputable peer-reviewed journal prior to graduating. Advisors will provide mentorship to students on publishing and acceptable journals.
  9. Degree requirements, graduation, and time limits are subject to the general guidelines of the University of Dayton.

The minimum credit hours required for the Ph.D. degree is 60 semester hours beyond the master’s degree. This includes a minimum of 30 semester hours for the dissertation and a minimum of 30 semester hours of 500/600-level coursework.

Online Graduate Catalog

The Graduate Program in Computer Science at the University of Dayton provides many unique opportunities in which the student can gain academic excellence and achieve hands-on, practical experience.

Department Graduate Assistantships

Assistantships are offered to outstanding graduate students. For information on eligibility and the application process, consult with the chair or the faculty member you plan to assist.

Faculty Research Opportunities

Students at both undergraduate and graduate levels are always welcome to aid with faculty research. For details, please contact the faculty member whose research projects best fit your interest.

Graduate Student Summer Fellowships

The University of Dayton provides a number of graduate student summer fellowships for research and creative projects during the third term of the academic year. The intent of the fellowship is to provide a modest income for the graduate student who wishes to devote time to a research project. This fellowship is intended to assist in the completion of the student's master's thesis or doctoral dissertation research, or research leading to publication.


Department of Computer Science

Hathcock Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2160