Oct 15, 2019  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 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 CSIS PhD degree is designed to provide an infrastructure for a wide spectrum of research possibilities in the computer science and information systems field. It is offered jointly through the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Science) and the Information Systems program (housed in the Business School.)

The CS track emphasizes the scientific, algorithmic, system design and computing aspects of the field, while the IS track has a major emphasis on information management and the entrepreneurial side of the field. The two tracks intersect through some graduate-level course work, research, and committee memberships to provide a broad perspective of research and development in IT for students.

The PhD degree is granted by the College of Engineering and Applied Science for those focused on the CS track and by the Business School for those focused on the IS track. The program is multidisciplinary by nature, and while it supports basic research in computer science and in information systems in the traditional sense, the trust of the program is collaborative research within the program and with other institutions. Our students work with research centers and researchers from variety of disciplines, including the CU School of Medicine, chemistry, mathematics, biology, all engineering disciplines, economics, health, and education, in addition to industry and businesses. This distinctive infrastructure supports basic research in both CS and IS as well as the demand of computing and IT integration with all other scientific and business fields.

Admission Requirements

For more information regarding the admission requirements for the CSIS PhD, visit engineering.ucdenver.edu/CSISPhD.


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. One committee member may be from outside 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 (if determined by the comprehensive exam committee)

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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