Skip to main content
Sign In

Doctorate in Computer Science and Information Systems (PhD), University of Colorado Denver Business School, CU Denver

Business School, University of Colorado Denver
 

Degree Requirements | PhD in Computer Science and Information Systems


To get a PhD in Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS) from the University of Colorado Denver you will complete these requirements with your existing masters (typically an MS) degree in Computer Science or Information Systems. Exceptionally motivated students with B.S. degrees in computer science, information systems, or closely related fields may apply to the CSIS PhD program directly. Students without a master’s degree must complete at least 30 hours of CSIS required course work in addition to the 30 dissertation hours.​

If your masters degree is in another area, you will complete additional MS level course work during your PhD program. Please see your advisor for more information. Please note that Business CSIS students cannot be simultaneously enrolled in any other degree program at the University of Colorado Denver or any other school during doctoral program enrollment.

 

Course Work

You will complete 30 hours of CSIS courses beyond the Master's level.

See the organization of the PhD degree for the components of the program.

The course work provides exposure to advanced CSIS areas, a solid research methodology background, and breadth in other areas of CSIS. You may transfer up to 21 credit hours to satisfy course requirements based on the recommendation of your advisor.

In accordance with the rules of the graduate school, students take at least 30 hours of dissertation research. See Table 1 for a summary of the degree requirements.

You will take nine hours of PhD courses in the school or college you were admitted to and three hours in the other school or college. Each area (CS or IS) may impose additional requirements either for the area as a whole or as an advisor's requirements.

Table 1. Summary of PhD Program Requirements
Program requirement Semester Hours
MS degree credit 30
PhD courses in same unit 9
PhD courses in other unit 3
Research methodology courses 12 or 15
Breadth CSIS courses in other unit 3 or 6
PhD Dissertation 30

Total Hours 90 semester hours

If you have a specialized Master's of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) from a business school or a Master's of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) you are waived from the MSIS or MSCS degree requirements. If you do not have a specialized MS degree you may submit petitions to waive the prerequisite MS level courses.

IS students ent​ering the program without a MSIS from a business school can submit petitions to waive MSIS courses.

CS students without a MSCS can submit petitions to waive MSCS courses.

Petitions should be submitted to the appropriate graduate advisor in the first semester of the program. IS students should submit a separate petition to waive each prerequisite MSIS level course listed below:

All the general requirements of the Business Schoool apply, even if not mentioned explicitly, in particular the language and residency requirements.


Program Design​

As in most PhD programs, the goals are achieved by the coursework and research training as summarized in Table 2. The courses will be of three types:

  • courses designed and offered specifically for the CSIS PhD program
  • research methodology courses to provide background in CSIS reference disciplines
  • graduate courses already offered by the participating academic units

The research methodology courses and the interdisciplinary dissertation provide research training so you will have the skills to perform research.

Depending on the unit (Business or CS) and your advisor, a maximum of six hours of research methodology courses may be taken as seminars or independent study courses.

The dissertation requires you to conduct original research under close supervision by the CSIS faculty.

After completing the research methodology courses and other CSIS courses, you will be prepared to perform independent research leading to the completion of a dissertation.

Table 2. Summary of CSIS Requirements
Requirement Purpose Full-time progress
CSIS PhD courses Broad foundation in CSIS areas and research methods and depth of knowledge in selected sub areas Years 1 and 2
Methodology courses Background in important reference disciplines and research skills for publication-quality articles Years 1 and 2
Breadth CSIS courses Broad exposure to CSIS practice areas Primarily in year 2
Prelim exam Assessment to continue in the program CS track: within the first two years
IS track:
after completing doctoral courses.
Comprehensive exam Paper and oral presentation specifying a significant research problem Complete in year 3 or 4
PhD proposal Detailed investigation of significant research problems with demonstrated potential to complete dissertation Complete in year 4
Dissertation defense Rigorous, original, and significant contribution to CSIS Complete in year 4

All CSIS doctoral students take the PhD courses offered by their unit plus one PhD course from the other unit.

Other PhD courses from the other unit may be taken to fulfill the breadth requirement.


Sample PhD Progr​ams

Full-Time Student with an MSIS Degree

The curriculum varies according to the home academic unit of the student. If the student does not have an MSIS, additional course work may be required. Table 3 shows a sample curriculum for full-time students with the Business School as their home unit.

Table 3. Sample Programs for Full-Time Students with a MSIS
Course Fall Spring Total
First year
Research methodology 3  
CSE PhD course 3    
BUS PhD course 3 3  
Total 9 6 15
Second year
BUS PhD course 3    
CSE Breadth  3 3  
Research Methodology 3 3  
Total 9 6 15
Third year
Dissertation Research and Proposal 9 9  
Total 9 9 18
Fourth year
Dissertation Research and Defense 6 6  
Total 6 6 12

Full-Time Student with a​n MSCS

You may enter the PhD program with MSCS or a closely related discipline, like computer engineering. If the degree is not in CS, additional work will be required to ensure minimum level of competence. Table 4 shows a sample program, it is identical to one for students with an MSCS except for year 2.

Table 4. Sample Program for Full-Time Students with a MSCS
Course Fall Spring Total
First year
CSE PhD course 3 3  
BUS PhD course   3  
Research methodology 3 3  
Total 6 9 15
Second year
Research methodology 3 6  
CSE PhD 3    
BUS Breadth   3  
Total 6 9 15
Third year
Dissertation Research and Proposal 9 9  
Total 9 9 18
Fourth year
Dissertation Research and Defense 6 6  
Total 6 6 12

Part-Time Student with a MS Degree

To meet the needs of local industry, students can enroll in the PhD program on a part-time basis. Because of variations in timing of course offerings and individual student needs, actual programs for part-time students may differ considerably. The sample programs are given in Tables 5 and 6 assume that the student passes the comprehensive exam in the beginning of the third year.

Because of graduate school rules, part-time students must take five to 10 hours of dissertation credit per semester after passing the comprehensive exam. After reaching 30 hours of dissertation credit, a student only needs to register for one hour per semester.

Table 5. Sample Program for Part-Time Students with a MSIS
Course Fall Spring Total
First year
BUS PhD course 3 3  
CSE PhD course 3    
Total 6 3 9
Second year
BUS PhD course 3    
Research methodology 3 3  
Total 6 3 9
Third year
CSE Breadth
 
Research methodology 3 6  
Total 6 6 12
Fourth year
Dissertation Research 6 6  
Total 6 6 12
Fifth year
Dissertation Research and Proposal 6 6  
Total 6 6 12
Sixth year
Dissertation Research and Defense 3 3  
Total 3 3 6
Table 6. Sample Program for Part-Time Students with an MSCS
Course Fall Spring Total
First year
CSE PhD course 3 3  
Research methodology 3    
Total 6 3 9
Second year
Research methodology   3  
CSE PhD course 3    
BUS PhD course   3  
Total 3 6 9
Third year
Research methodology 3 3  
PhD research   6  
Total 3 9 12
Fourth year
BUS Breadth   3  
Dissertation Research 3    
Dissertation Research 6 6  
Total 9 9 18
Fifth year
Dissertation Research and Proposal 6 6  
Total 6 6 12
Sixth year
Dissertation Research and Defense 1 1  
Total 1 1 2

PhD Academic Policies

Besides the policies that are part of the program organization and requirements, the PhD program has additional policies specified in this section.

Academic Ethics
Course Withdrawal
Course Petitions
Dissertation Hours
Enrollment
General Policies
Grade Appeals
Grading Policy
Minimum Grade Point Average
Passing Grades and Repeating Courses
Probation and Suspension
Program Time Limit
University of Colorado Denver

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.