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Doctor of Science in Computer Science

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate scientific discipline, such as computer science, engineering, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 credit hours is preferred. An applicant is expected to possess the prerequisites for the intended area of study. If a deficiency exists, the necessary course work must be completed prior to the advancement to candidacy.

Students not meeting these requirements may be admitted on a conditional basis. The conditional student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in at least nine (9) computer science graduate credits in the first year of study to be fully admitted.

International students whose native language is not English and who do not have a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher education must submit a score of at least 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  In order to qualify for a teaching assistantship, students whose native language is not English must score a 5.0 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

International students who have questions about visas or other concerns should contact Mr. Robert Batten, International Student Advisor, in Thurgood Marshall Library, Room 1122, phone: (301) 860-3830, email:


New doctoral students will have the opportunity to meet with the doctoral program coordinator during the BSU orientation session for graduate students. Please see the BSU online calendar of events for dates.

Provisional Mentor

A concentration area liaison or the program coordinator will be assigned as the student's provisional mentor. This mentor will act as the student's temporary advisor for the first and second semesters within the program. Students should meet with their provisional mentors as soon as possible to receive instruction in selecting and registering for courses. Students should consult regularly with their provisional mentor during their first semester concerning progress with coursework. By the end of the first semester of study, students should select their doctoral advisor from faculty within the Department of Computer Science.

Doctoral Advisor

The selection of a doctoral advisor is one of the most important choices students will make during their time in our program. A doctoral advisor should be chosen with the intent of not only matching research interests, but also with an eye toward finding an individual with whom the student feels comfortable entrusting his/her educational future. Once a doctoral advisor is selected, students should complete the “Selection of Doctoral Advisor” form no later than the end of the second year. The form should be signed by both the doctoral advisor and the doctoral program coordinator for inclusion in the student's file.

Program of Study

In the week prior to the start of classes, an incoming student will meet with an adviser to discuss a program of study. The student's program of study will be directed based on the chosen area of interest. A student is required to take all prerequisite courses within the first year. The prerequisite courses are not part of the program's credits and will not count toward graduation. The program of study must be reviewed and approved by the advisory committee before the coursework can begin. The program of study must also be approved by department chair. The doctoral program coordinator and the department chair must approve any subsequent alterations in the program of study.

Transfer of Credit

The transfer of credits is determined by the student's advisor based upon the applicability of the courses selected for dissertation work and the student's educational goals.


Students cannot take either the qualifying exam or the comprehensive exam unless they have advanced to candidacy with a GPA of at least 3.25 in their course work.  Students must earn a GPA of 3.25 during the first 12 to 18 credits taken within the program in order to advance to candidacy.

Summary of Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of any writing and seminar requirements
  2. Completion of an approved program of study with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  3. Pass qualifying and comprehensive examinations
  4. Present an acceptable dissertation proposal to the dissertation committee
  5. Successful oral defense and completion of the dissertation


Students are required to earn 15 credits (5 courses) in core computer science topics, 45 credits (15 courses) from four of the knowledge areas, (where the 500-level courses cannot exceed 9-credits and those courses should also include at least 9-credits of 800-level courses, and 12 credits from the dissertation area.

Click here to view the required courses

click for links to graduate-level course descriptions

For the Doctoral Dissertation handbook click here
(To view the handbook, download the free Adobe Acrobat reader by clicking here.)

Graduate Catalog 2016-2018