Program Information

PhD Security Guidelines

The Doctor of Philosophy is a degree that is conferred on a student who has demonstrated proficiency in some broad area of learning, and who has proven that he or she has the capability to evaluate work in the security field critically. In addition, the student must have demonstrated the ability to work independently and make original contributions to the field. No single prescribed set of courses can be established that, when completed, guarantee the student has attained this high level. Rather, the degree is conferred after the student has satisfied both a course work and an independent study requirement under the supervision of a committee. Minimum course work and independent study requirements and the composition of the advisory committee for the Ph.D. program are described below.

The program is research oriented with a strong self learning component. The plan of study is decided by the Ph.D. advisor and the Advisory Committee according to the student's specific research topic. Beyond the traditional learning component, the students in the program will be required to have at least 3 months of operational security experience, such as internship or training, as determined by the Advisory Committee. The second uniqueness of the program is the use of short intense workshops where students and faculty will meet to discuss emergent theories and techniques in security, and carry out exercises simulating critical security events. They will provide opportunities for students to apply what they learn in the self paced courses and to learn how to coordinate and cooperate in cyber war and homeland defense scenarios. Students have to come to the workshop at least once a year to report their research progress in the past year and the plan for the following year.

Credit Hours

A total of 60 credit hours is required for the degree.  For candidates entering the program with a bachelor's degree in STEM and/or homeland security, a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work at the 5000-level or above, including independent study, which may be taken as distance learning, is required. For candidates entering with an M.S. degree in STEM and/or homeland security, up to 24 credit hours of course work from a previously earned Master's degree may be transferred to the PhD program to meet the 30 credit hour course requirements. In all cases, 30 semester hours of dissertation credits are required. All PhD students will be required to take CS 6000, Intro to Computer Science Research. Beyond the traditional learning component, the students in the program will be required to have at least three months of operational security experience (as internship, training, etc.), as determined by the PESC. This requirement can be substituted with a peer-reviewed publication or by passing CISSP certificate examination.

For application information: How To Apply

For additional information, please contact the Computer Science Department.