Jun 20, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Computer Science and Information Systems PhD

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►  Graduate School Rules  apply to this program

Program co-directors: Gita Alaghband (CSE) and Mike Mannino (Business School)
Website: engineering.ucdenver.edu/CSISPhD

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and the Business School offer a joint doctor of philosophy degree program in computer science and information systems (CSIS). The program targets students with a master’s-level education in either computer science, information systems or related disciplines, although highly qualified students with undergraduate degrees may also apply. The program provides research training that combines computer science and information systems along with strong industry interaction. Students completing the joint PhD program may qualify for academic positions, industrial research positions and senior consulting positions. The specific goals of the program complement these general goals:

  • create a pool of graduates with CSIS research training who are qualified for academic and nonacademic careers
  • meet student demand for advanced training in CSIS with accommodations for full-time and part-time students
  • promote interdisciplinary research between CSE and the Business School
  • enhance technology transfer between CSIS academic units and Front Range technology businesses through joint research, student internships, faculty externships and committee participation


Upon entering the program, each student chooses an advisor to provide mentoring and guidance throughout the program and work with the student to prepare a program of study. Requests to change advisors must be approved by the program co-directors, and this happens in very rare circumstances.

Doctoral Committee

The advisor and four other members form a doctoral committee. To foster interdisciplinary work, you may have your doctoral research co-supervised by two faculty members. At least one co-supervisor must be a full-time current graduate faculty member in the CSE department or Business School. The committee must contain at least one faculty member from the CSE department and at least one from the Business School. At least one committee member is from outside of the CSE department and the information systems faculty.

Program Components

Plan of Study

A list of course work and other requirements for the degree should be prepared with the advisor and then submitted to the co-directors for approval. The successful completion of all work indicated on the plan of study is an important prerequisite for the conferring of the degree. A plan of study should be submitted for approval by the end of the first semester of the program. The current plan of study should be updated before the beginning of the second year of the program and submitted for reapproval by the co-directors.

Preliminary Exam

According to Graduate School Rules, students are required to demonstrate their basic knowledge and preparation toward more advanced doctoral level work. For more information visit the PhD CSIS website at engineering.ucdenver.edu/CSISPhD

Comprehensive Exam

Students will submit a paper to fulfill the graduate school’s comprehensive exam requirement. The paper should describe an area of research including literature review, problem definition, and possible methodologies/models to study a significant problem in computer science or information systems. The paper will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members. An oral presentation of the paper will be open to the entire CSIS faculty. The committee may adopt additional guidelines to evaluate the paper and presentation. According to graduate school rules, the comprehensive exam must be completed by the end of the fourth year in the program. In addition to these requirements, the comprehensive exam must meet the other graduate school requirements.

Dissertation Proposal

A student’s doctoral committee can require a dissertation proposal after the student completes the comprehensive exam. The doctoral committee may consider the quality and level of detail in the comprehensive paper and other factors in determining the need for a student to prepare a dissertation proposal. If the doctoral committee requires a dissertation proposal, the student must prepare a proposal that will be evaluated by the doctoral committee.

Dissertation Completion

Once the dissertation proposal is approved, each student prepares and submits a dissertation. The dissertation is defended before the doctoral committee in a public meeting. Final approval for the dissertation is given by a vote of the dissertation committee after the public defense.


Upon completion of all degree requirements including the dissertation defense, the student receives the degree of doctor of philosophy. Students applying through CSE receive the PhD from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, while students applying through information systems receive the PhD from the Business School.

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