Computer and Information Science Ph.D.
Penn is taking the lead in addressing the educational and research questions that surround computing and information technology. The Ph.D. program in Computer and Information Science welcomes candidates with strong training in any of the disciplines related to modern information processing, with an emphasis on computer science and mathematics. The curriculum is designed to develop the intellectual skills essential for the rapidly changing character of research and to meet the demands of academe and industry.
Program Highlights: Research opportunities span theoretical and application topics, including robotics, vision, natural-language processing, databases, formal methods, real-time systems, computer architecture, machine learning, programming languages, graphics, network security, software engineering, and bioinformatics— as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with fields such as biology, genetics, linguistics, mathematics, and electrical engineering.
Doctoral studies in the department offer rewarding exploration and research. Students develop their own advanced study focus, working with faculty mentors on topics ranging from the core computer science discipline to diverse scholarly interactions within the University as a whole.
Research laboratories offer myriad possibilities for exploration. Presentations by outstanding leaders in their fields at departmental and laboratory colloquia provide rigor, breadth, and relevance to the research and education experience. The University of Pennsylvania's 12 schools and myriad research centers create an academic environment whose synergy informs research and education in the department. Faculty members prepare doctoral students to be tomorrow's innovators, leaders, and visionaries.
Computer and Information Science Ph.D. Requirements
The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 20 course units. Students must take 4 seminar courses during their studies at Penn: 2 related to the dissertation research area and 2 in an unrelated area. The other 16 units are a combination of additional coursework, independent studies, thesis research, and transfer credits. Nine graduate course units—including courses for which a master's degree was awarded— may be transferred from another institution.
The Written Preliminary Examination
Doctoral students are required to pass the written preliminary examination, which tests proficiency in core areas of computer science, as well as the special-area exam which tests each candidate's analytical and presentational abilities. The purpose of the written preliminary exam is to ensure that students pursuing the Ph.D. degree have a graduate-level competence in the fundamentals of computer science.
For more detailed information, visit the Computer and Information Science Ph.D. website.