Can You Get A Ph.D In Computer Science?

Computer Science Ph.DComputer science is one of the few fields that has jobs available for those with just an undergraduate degree, but you can find more opportunities open to you when you get a Ph.D in Computer Science. As technology changes, the number of jobs in this field keeps rising, but only a small number of schools in the country offer a Ph.D program. With so much competition for so few spots, you need to understand the steps associated with getting into the program and what happens next.

How to Apply to a Program

Computer science professor Philip Guo suggests looking at the Ph.D application as you would a job application. To bet a Ph.D in Computer Science, you need to have your undergraduate and graduate degrees, and having those degrees won’t set you apart from all the other applicants applying for the few open spots. Guo recommends that you have a lot of research in your background and that you highlight that research in your application. As a major component of a Ph.D program is the research element, this shows that you already have some experience in specific fields and that you’ll have the skills to continue your research.

Qualifying Exam

Some of the schools in the country now have a qualifying examination as part of its admissions policy. When you apply for a spot in the computer science program, you must go to the campus and take the test in person. This long exam asks you questions about various computer components, software types and how to write code, program a computer and do other advanced tasks. If you do not score high enough on the test, the college might require that you wait one year before applying for admission again.

Writing Your Dissertation

Completing a dissertation is a major part of any Ph.D program. Many schools today divide this step into three separate parts: the proposal, the implementation and the defense. When you create an idea for your paper or project, you meet with a committee for 30 to 60 minutes. That committee consists of professors working in the department. After explaining your idea, the committee members will ask you a variety of questions before deciding if you can continue. You’ll then have the chance to complete your computer science dissertation before you need to defend it in front of the same committee.

Paying for Tuition

Those who want to get a Ph.D in Computer Science may find the high cost of tuition off putting. It can cost $30,000 or more for each year that you remain in the program, and it might take two to three years or longer to finish your degree. Colleges offer research and teaching assistant positions that will pay for your tuition and give you a stipend for any other costs you have. You can usually apply for those positions at the same time that you apply for admission, and the school will consider that as part of your financial aid package along with any grants or loans you get.

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A Ph.D in Computer Science can help you work for the government or run your own company designing and developing software and new technologies. Before you can get a Ph.D in Computer Science, you need to apply for admission to a program and go through the steps associated with writing a dissertation.