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Ph.D. in Computer Science (CISD)

  • Program Overview
  • Program Format
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Admissions

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science (CISD) at Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS) requires a minimum of 64 credits. Its cluster format combines traditional and online instruction to provide professionals the opportunity to pursue graduate study while continuing to work in their current positions. The program is especially well suited to those in industry, education, or government who are involved with one of the many areas of computer science and information technology. The CISD program provides research-oriented professionals with knowledge in the major areas of computer science the ability to develop creative solutions to substantive real-world problems. Each student must complete eight core courses, two research courses, and a dissertation.

Program Sheet (pdf)
Since its inception, the school has run an executive Ph.D. format called the “cluster format" that blends weekend meetings with online interaction. Students taking courses in this cluster format attend four cluster sessions per year, held quarterly over an extended weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the university. The cluster sessions bring together students and faculty for participation in classes, seminars, and dissertation counseling, and provide ample opportunity for student-faculty and student-student interaction. Between cluster sessions, students work on course assignments and research, and participate in online activities that facilitate frequent interaction with the faculty and with other students.
A graduate with a Ph.D. in Computer Science will have the ability to: (1) acquire advanced knowledge and deeper understanding of the field of computer science; (2) communicate professionally and ethically about computer science research issues; (3) identify, analyze, and synthesize scholarly literature related to the field of computer science; and (4) generate new knowledge through research/scholarship and disseminate that knowledge to others by demonstrating the necessary technical and intellectual skills to produce a written document that makes an original contribution to the field of computer science.
The Ph.D. in Computer Science degree program is designed for students with a master’s degree in computer science, or a closely related field. In addition to holding a relevant master’s degree, the applicant should satisfy graduate prerequisites or have equivalent experience in programming languages, data communications and computer networks, operating systems, compilers, database management systems, theory of computation, design and analysis of algorithms, and computer architecture. Alternatively, GSCIS master’s students in computer science may apply for early admission into the Ph.D. program.

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The program requires at least 64 credit hours, of which 40 are for courses and at least 24 are for the dissertation. Courses and dissertation registrations are listed below:

Core Courses  (four credits each) (Select eight of these.)


Research Registrations:  Students are required to complete two sections (four credits each) of CISD 898, Directed Research, before entering candidacy. (Students beginning fall 2014 or later will instead take two or more sections of CISD 885, Doctoral Research.) Students must register for the course with a particular faculty member as directed in the course description. Directed Research / Doctoral Research registrations must be in sequence, not in parallel. Students are further advised to wait for the second year of study before registering for Directed Research / Doctoral Research.

Dissertation Registrations: Students must complete 24 credits of dissertation registrations, three registrations of CISD 901. Students who do not complete the dissertation within 24 credits will register for CISD 920 Continuing Dissertation until the dissertation is complete.

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Current CISD Students







School Overview


Since the introduction of the graduate computer science program in 1975, the school has been a pioneer in computing research and education. The school began offering online programs in 1983 and created the first electronic classroom in 1985. In 1989 the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS) was formed.

Today, NSU is a not-for-profit, independent university that is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.