Doctorate of Computer Science: Degree Overview

While Doctor of Computer Science programs do exist, the much more common degree title, featuring a practically identical course of study, is the Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Learn about the program, coursework and job options.

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Essential Information

In order to begin a doctorate program, students must typically have earned both a bachelor's and master's degree in computer science or a closely-related field. Students should also have a satisfactory grade point average. Depending on the school, the program will likely require a combination of GRE test scores, letters of recommendation and a written statement from the student indicating program and career goals for admission. Ultimately, students develop, present and defend a dissertation that encompasses the full scope of their individual research.

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  • Computer and Information Sciences, General
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Ph.D. in Computer Science

Programs typically include traditional coursework and research projects, in which students collaborate with professors and fellow students in order to narrow their research interests. Students study programming languages, artificial intelligence as well as cyber security. Courses and seminars cover topics like:

  • Advanced computer architecture
  • Analyzing algorithms
  • Analyzing numerical data
  • Database design
  • Operating systems

Popular Career Options

Graduates of doctoral programs in computer science can pursue career options working as computer scientists or computer science professors working in universities. Computer scientists are professionals that work in a variety of industries to innovate, improve, research or design computer technology. An individual with a Ph.D. may find work in various professional settings, including:

  • Academia
  • Government
  • Scientific organizations

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 11% growth is expected for computer and information research scientists from the 2014-2024 decade ( These scientists earned a median wage of $110,620 in May 2015. Postsecondary teachers, including computer science teachers, should have 9% growth over the 2014-2024 period. The May 2015 median wage for a postsecondary computer science teacher was $74,840, reported the BLS.

Students interested in further studying computer science and conducting their own research can pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Graduates can expect positive job growth in careers as educators and researchers.

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