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Computer Science, PhD

Computer Science, PhD

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Computer Science, PhD

Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Technology, approved for STEM-OPT extension, computing, database, enggradcs, systems

Take the next step in your journey to become an effective leader, innovator, entrepreneur or educator in your community and the world.

Program description
Degree awarded: PHD  Computer Science

The PhD program in computer science prepares students to undertake fundamental and applied research in computer science. The program is available for those of high ability who seek to develop and implement their own research studies.

Students pursuing the doctorate in computer science learn to analyze, understand and apply key theories and algorithms used in the field and to generate and evaluate new theories, algorithms and software modules that can advance the field of computer science.

The program provides students with research opportunities in a wide variety of areas, including:

  • artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistical modeling
  • big data and data mining
  • computational biology
  • computer design and architecture, including nonvolatile memory computing
  • computer system security, cybersecurity and cryptography
  • cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things (commonly abbreviated as IoT), and robotics
  • distributed computing and consensus protocols
  • networking and computer systems
  • novel computing paradigms (e.g., biocomputing, quantum computation)
  • social computing
  • theory, algorithms and optimization
  • visualization and graphics

STEM-OPT for international students on F-1 visas

This program may be eligible for an Optional Practical Training extension for up to 24 months. This OPT work authorization term may help international students gain skills and experience in the U.S. Those interested in an OPT extension should review ASU degrees that qualify for the STEM-OPT extension at ASU's International Students and Scholars Center website.

The OPT extension only applies to students on an F-1 visa and does not apply to students completing a degree through ASU Online.

At a glance
Degree requirements

84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Required Core Areas (9 credit hours)
applications (3)
foundations (3)
systems (3)

Depth (3 credit hours)
three additional credit hours in one core area (3)

Research (18 credit hours)
CSE 792 Research (18)

Electives and Additional Research (42 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
CSE 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
Courses that are used to satisfy the core area requirement cannot be used to satisfy electives or other requirements. A grade of "B" or better is required for core courses.

Eighteen credit hours of CSE 792 Research are required, and up to 54 credit hours are allowed on the plan of study. Students with research credit hours in excess of 18 add these credit hours to their electives and additional research.

Electives include:

  • additional CSE 792 Research credit hours (up to 36 credit hours allowed beyond the required 18)
  • computer science courses, of which up to 18 credit hours of CSE 590 and CSE 790: Reading and Conference are allowed
  • up to six credit hours of interdisciplinary electives in other academic units that are subject to program chair approval

When approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree.

A maximum of three credit hours of 400-level coursework may be applied to the plan of study.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, computer engineering or a closely related area. Most applicants should have earned a master's degree, but exceptional undergraduate applicants may be admitted directly into the doctoral program.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts from every university attended
  3. three letters of recommendation
  4. a statement of purpose
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Submission of GRE scores is optional.

Students assigned any deficiency coursework upon admission must complete those classes with a grade of "C" or higher (scale is 4.00 = "A") within two semesters of admission to the program. Deficiency courses commonly taken include:

CSE 230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming
CSE 310 Data Structures and Algorithms
CSE 330 Operating Systems
CSE 340 Principles of Programming Languages or CSE 355 Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science

The applicant's undergraduate GPA and depth of preparation in computer science and engineering are the primary factors affecting admission.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Application deadlines
Session A/CIn Person 12/31Final
Session A/CIn Person 08/01Final
Career opportunities

Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in research and education, including academia, government and industry.

Career examples include:

  • computer science professor or researcher
  • data scientist or engineer
  • machine learning, AI or computer vision scientist or engineer
Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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