This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The Ph.D. in Computer Science will educate and train students in core areas of computer science. Students will explore the advanced concepts of computer science theory, systems and research. They will learn how to identify problems, set a research agenda, clearly identify and isolate good ideas, solve programming challenges creatively, and communicate in a clear and concise manner. Graduates will possess the necessary analytical, technical and research skills of complex computer science topics in order to respond directly to the needs of industry, research laboratories, the public sector, academia and government for effective, innovative and productive engineers, professors and researchers.

Students in the Ph.D. in Computer Science program will be immersed in a curriculum that exposes them to computer science theory, computer systems, machine learning, data sciences and cybersecurity. The program prepares students with the ability to formulate and analyze new algorithmic solutions and to turn them into usable programs that efficiently exploit distributed, multi-core architectures dominating current computer hardware.

Student learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of the foundations of computer science
  2. Apply knowledge of a specialized research area
  3. Use principles of scientific inquiry and software design to evaluate scientific literature and formulate research hypotheses
  4. Solve computational problems and discover or generate new ideas, concepts, techniques and/or products in general and specialized areas of computer science
  5. Write technical reports and scholarly papers in computer science
  6. Present problems and solutions in computer science

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.