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Computer Science and Engineering

Engineering and Applied Science Doctor of Philosophy (EASPhD)

The Engineering and Applied Science Doctor of Philosophy program consists of studies in engineering and engineering-related disciplines. It is a multidisciplinary program in keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of modern research. The degree is conferred by the College of Engineering and Applied Science. However, applicants to the degree program apply to and enter the program through one of four departments, called the host department, of the College. The applicant chooses his/her host department based on his/her intended primary concentration of study. The four departments of the College that serve as host departments are Civil Engineering (CE), Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Electrical Engineering (EE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME). Each host department offers several concentrations. The secondary concentration can be chosen from any remaining department of the College, including Bioengineering (BIOE). The secondary concentration may also be chosen from another College/School at CU Denver. The coursework in the primary and secondary areas must consist of ten courses (30 units). In addition to other courses, a student must take at least five courses in his/her primary area of concentration and at least three courses in a secondary area of concentration. Other courses may be recommended by the student’s advisor. Research that spans across two or more of the five College departments is strongly encouraged and is a major strength of the program.

What are the minimum degree requirements?

Coursework in primary and seconda​ry areas of concentration: 30 units
Research/dissertation: 30 units
Total: 60 units

What is required for the admissions process?

Application for admission

Three letters of recommendation

One official copy of all transcripts. E-transcripts should be sent to the Graduate School at​​.

GRE scores

Processing fee

Bachelor's or master's degree

Previous GPA above 3.0

Personal statement of academic and research interests, including intended primary concentration within the host department. (This statement and concentration choice may either be written in a cover letter or written on the application form in Part 2, Item 6.)

Additional materials are required in special cases

International applicants are requried to submit TOEFL scores

Official GRE scores are required for all applicants.

​Preferred minimum GRE scores are 150 Verbal, 153 Quantitative, and 3.5 for Analytical Writing for tests taken August 1, 2011 or later. For tests taken prior to August 1, 2011, preferred minimum GRE scores are 450 Verbal, 680 Quantitative, and 3.5 for Analytical Writing.

​​An applicant whose undergraduate language of instruction was not English should have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based test) or 250 (computer-based test).

International applicants must apply through the Office of International Admissions. The office has a website at For advising, contact the office by email at or by phone at 303-315-2230. You may also contact the office by mail at the following address:

International Admissions
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 185
1380 Lawrence Street, 9th Floor
Denver, CO 80217-3364

What are the application deadlines?

Applicants must make arrangements to ensure all their materials (including transcripts, references, and any required test scores) are received by the relevant deadlines below. If there are outstanding materials, the application is considered incomplete and will be deferred.

Domestic applicants:
Fall - May 1
Spring - October 1

International applicants:
Fall - April 15
Spring - September 15

No applications for summer admission will be accepted.

Where do I send the application materials?

Applications are to be completed online. Contact host department if issues arise.

Civil Engineering: 303-556-2871
Campus Location: North Classroom Bldg. Room 3027

Computer Science and Engineering: 303-315-1408
Campus Location: Lawrence Street Center, Room 800

Electrical Engineering: 303-556-2872
Campus Location: North Classroom Bldg. Room 2615

Mechanical Engineering: 303-556-8516
Campus Location: North Classroom Bldg. Room 3502

All application materials must be submitted to the Graduate School for processing. The mailing address for the Graduate School is:

Graduate School​
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 163
1380 Lawrence St., Room 1251
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

If you have any questions regarding receipt of application materials please e-mail​ or call 303-315-2179.​

EAS PhD program requirements summary

Course work:

A total of 30 credit hours of course work is required while satisfying the following minimum requirements:

  • A minimum of two 7000-level CS courses
  • Three graduate courses from second area
  • Two semesters of Engineering Seminar (o.5 credits/semester will not be counted towards the 30 hours required coursework)
  • One (3 credits) of 7000-level Independent Study is allowed

Your program plan must be made in consultation and approval of your research advisor.

Preliminary Exam:

Students are required to select three out of four core knowledge areas listed below and pass a written exam.

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Architecture
  • Operating Systems
  • Theory

The exam is offered once per year on the last Friday before the beginning of spring semester classes. Students must sign up for the exam by December 5th of the year prior to when they plan to take the exam. (For example, to take the exam prior to the spring 2017 semester, students must register by December 5, 2016.) The exam must be taken within the first year of program. Students may take one, two, or all three exams within the first year of their admission. Students may repeat an exam area once. A guide for the exam is available on the department website.

Comprehensive Exam:

Upon successful completion of the Preliminary exam and coursework, students can enroll for their dissertation. The Comprehensive Exam (Thesis Proposal) should be held within the completion of 10 credits of dissertation.

The PhD Comprehensive Exam is intended to test student’s ability to perform, present and discuss his/her research. This exam has both a written and an oral component. Students are expected to describe an area of research including literature review, problem definition, and possible methodologies/models to study a significant and novel problem in computer science or information systems toward fulfilling the doctoral dissertation. An overall guide to preparing for the exam is available on the department website​.

PhD Defense:

At the completion of graduate studies, students must prepare and submit a written thesis describing the results of an original investigation contributing to the state-of-the-art in the field.

Committee Requirements:

  • Research Advisor: CS full-time graduate faculty
  • Comprehensive Committee: Minimum of three CS full-time graduate faculty (chair of the committee may not be advisor)
  • Defense Committee: minimum of five: minimum of two CS full-time graduate faculty (chair of the committee may not be advisor); minimum of one external faculty member.


Up to 21 relevant Graduate coursework may be transferred with recommendation of advisor and approval of the program director.