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Department of Computer Science

Computer Science (D. Sc.)


Tuition Assistance Available

In accordance with an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965 created the Historically Black Graduate Institutions (HBGI) Program, tuition assistance and stipends are available to qualified students. Find out more about the HBGI Program

Admission Requirements

Completion of a Bachelor's degree with a minimum 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.

A mimimin of two letters of recommendation are required and a personal statement indicating educational and professional objectives should be included with the application.

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).


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

Provisional Mentor

The doctoral 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 mentor 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

A 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 doctoral program coordinator and the department chair before the course work can begin.  Any subsequent alterations in the program of study must also be approved.

Transfer of Credit

Up to six graduate-level computer science credits may be counted from qualifying institutions. Students entering the program with a Master's Degree in Computer Science or related area may be able to count up to thirty graudate-level computer science credits from qualifying institutions. Please speak to your advisor or the doctoral program coordinator for more details.


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.

Program Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 60 graduate-level credit hours (not including dissertation) from amoung the list of courses for the doctoral program recommended by the Doctoral Program Committee. Additional courses may be assigned to those students who do not have a computer science background.

  1. Completion of the core program requirements with a minimum GPA of 3.25
  2. Completion of an approved program of study with a minimum GPA 3.00
  3. Advancement to candidacy
  4. Pass qualifying examination
  5. Pass comprehensive examination
  6. Present an acceptable dissertation proposal to the dissertation committee
  7. Satifactory completion of 12 dissertation credits
  8. Successful oral defense and completion of the dissertation


Students are required to earn 15 credits (5 courses) in core computer science classes, 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.

Graduate-level course descriptions

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

Graduate Catalog 2018-2020