The PhD program in computer science is research training for those who plan a career in higher education or research. In recent years, industry has shown increased interest in specialists with a PhD degree in the computer science.
In scientific disciplines, research often implies experimentation, but research is more than mere experiments - it means interpretation and deep understanding. For computer scientists, research means searching to uncover the principles that underlie digital computation and communication. A researcher must discover new techniques that aid in building or using computational mechanisms. Researchers look for new abstractions, new approaches, new algorithms, new principles, or new mechanisms.
PhD work in computer science is therefore quite challenging and in most cases those achieving a PhD in computer science will spend anywhere from one to three years studying advanced coursework in their chosen subject field prior to commencing their doctoral thesis and after successful completion of both a Bachelor's and Master's degree (or their equivalent) in that field or in a closely related field. To demonstrate complete mastery of the subject, a student may be required to complete additional graduate-level courses, maintain a high grade average, or take a battery of special examinations. In many institutions, students must do all three. However, each university establishes general guidelines that a student must follow to earn a PhD degree in computer science, and each college or department within a university sets specific standards by which it measures mastery of a subject.
Selected majors/areas of research for a PhD in Computer Science include
Computing Technology in Education
Algorithms and Complexity
Databases and Text Management
Networks and Distributed Systems
Computer Algebra and Symbolic Computation
Security and Privacy
Human-Computer Interaction and User Interfaces
Students in computer science doctoral program must pass a written and oral qualifying exam and then complete and formally defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research. In general, all computer science PhD programs require that successful candidates for the degree demonstrate:
The ability to conduct independent research at a high level, leading to completion of a dissertation which is defended before a committee of scholars. Because examinations given as part of a PhD curriculum assess expert knowledge, they are created and evaluated by a committee of experts, each of whom holds a PhD degree.
Proficiency in the tools necessary to carry out this research, including but not limited to computer skills, bibliographic competence, and reading of one or more foreign languages
Mastery of general and specific subject matter in the field of study before a committee of scholars.
Part- and full-time study options, along with various delivery modes - residential programs, distance education programs and online programs - are also available. North American PhD programs in computer science welcome foreign students. However, fluency in spoken and written English is critically important.
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