Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Computer and Information Science.

About the Program

The Computer and Information Science PhD program prepares a student to undertake independent research leading to science and engineering advances in computer and information sciences. The program is structured around the PhD dissertation, with coursework and seminars designed to attain the requisite quality of the dissertation. An important criterion for the dissertation is that it be publishable in a recognized journal and presentable at international conferences.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students complete the degree program through classes offered after 4:30 p.m. The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Areas of Specialization: The PhD program focuses on four research tracks:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Applications, which is concerned with systems that exhibit intelligent behavior.
  2. Computer and Network Systems, which covers systems programming, operating systems, and system architectures, including networks and distributed systems.
  3. Information Systems, which focuses on systems that provide information to improve the performance of organizations.
  4. Software Systems, which is dedicated to the creation of software and its associated methodologies.

Job Prospects: Graduates typically find employment in universities, industry or government agencies.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are permitted to take a maximum of two graduate-level CIS courses.

Financing Opportunities: Teaching Assistants teach two undergraduate laboratory sections each term under the direction of a faculty lecturer. Assistantships provide a stipend and full-time tuition.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15
Spring: November 1; August 1 international

Applications are reviewed as they are received. Late applications may be considered for admission.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from Computer Science faculty and professionals.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: The applicant is required to have a solid background in Computer and Information Science and related disciplines. In addition, acceptance by a PhD Graduate Faculty member in at least one open track is required. To find a faculty advisor, prospective students should contact Graduate Faculty whose research interests are similar to their own. The list of faculty can be found at

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in Computer Science, Information Science, Mathematics, Science or Engineering is required. The applicant's undergraduate program must include a considerable amount of coursework in Computer and Information Science.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, describe your specific interest in Temple's program, research goals, future career goals, and academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 85
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 58
  • Duolingo: 110

A score of 45 or greater on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or a score of 28 or greater on the TOEFL iBT Speaking section is required for international applicants who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship.

Resume: Current resume required.

Advanced Standing: Students who enter the PhD program with graduate credits in Computer Science or a closely related field may be considered for advanced standing. The CIS Graduate Committee recommends the awarding of advanced standing on a case-by-case basis. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered at Temple, with a grade of "B" or better having been earned in the course(s). The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 24.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 36

Required Courses:

Track-Specific Courses 124
Research Preparation Courses
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Independent Study
Independent Study
Graduate-level course aligned with the student's research area 2
Research Courses6
Preliminary Examination Preparation
Pre-Dissertation Research / Elevation to Candidacy
Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours36

Required and elective courses are identified in the course lists below for each of the four tracks: Artificial Intelligence and Applications, Computer and Network Systems, Information Systems, and Software Systems.


Course selection requires approval from the faculty advisor and Graduate Committee.

Artificial Intelligence and Applications Track

Core Courses
CIS 5511Programming Techniques3
CIS 5526Machine Learning3
CIS 5603Artificial Intelligence3
Additional Track-Specific Courses
Select five courses from the following:15
Automata and Formal Languages
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
Neural Computation
Data Warehousing, Filtering and Mining
Text Mining and Language Processing
Computer Vision
Computer Networking and Communication
Seminar in Advanced Topics in Computer Science
Computer Graphics and Image Processing
Web Applications Development
Artificial Intelligence, Heurisitic Models, and Education
Advanced Topics in Data Base Systems
Total Credit Hours24

Computer and Network Systems Track

Core Courses
Select at least two courses from the following:6
Programming Techniques
Operating Systems
Automata and Formal Languages
Computer Networking and Communication
Computer Architecture
Additional Track-Specific Courses
Select at most six courses from the following:18
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence
Ad Hoc Networks
Network & Information Security
Wireless Network and Communication
Distributed Systems
Web Applications Development
Advanced Topics in Data Base Systems
Advanced Networks and Client-Server Computing
Distributed and Parallel Computer Systems
Total Credit Hours24

Information Systems Track

Select a minimum of one and up to three theory courses from the following:
Programming Techniques
Design and Analysis of Algorithms
Statistical Methods and Concepts
Select a minimum of one and up to three systems courses from the following:
Operating Systems
Principles of Data Management
Computer Networking and Communication
Distributed Systems
Advanced Networks and Client-Server Computing
Select a minimum of two and up to four track-specific courses from the following:
Neural Computation
Machine Learning
Data Warehousing, Filtering and Mining
Artificial Intelligence
Seminar in Advanced Topics in Computer Science
Web Applications Development
Advanced Topics in Data Base Systems
Design and Development of E-Commerce Systems
Total Credit Hours24

Software Systems Track

Core Courses
CIS 5511Programming Techniques3
CIS 5512Operating Systems3
CIS 5513Automata and Formal Languages3
CIS 5515Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
CIS 5516Principles of Data Management3
CIS 5617Computer Networking and Communication3
CIS 9618Web Applications Development3
Elective 13
Total Credit Hours24

Selection of the elective requires approval of the Software Systems Track Chair.

Additional Requirement:
PhD Qualifying Examination:
The Qualifying Examination tests the student on the fundamentals of Computer and Information Science and the basic body of knowledge in a track. It consists of a written exam on theory and algorithms, systems, and track-specific material. The Qualifying Exam is offered twice a year, usually in late January and late June.

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examinations:
The goal of the preliminary examinations is to test the research skills and knowledge of the student and the appropriateness and feasibility of the proposed research. The exams are completed in two stages:

  • Prelim I consists of written and oral components testing advanced track knowledge and in-depth knowledge of the research area. It includes a literature review of the area. This preliminary exam is used to determine whether the student needs to take additional courses in order to support research in the chosen area. Prelim I is open only to the Doctoral Advisory Committee and members of the department. It is to be taken within one year of passing the PhD Qualifying Examination.
  • Prelim II consists of written and oral components to assess the appropriateness of the research, including approach and methodology. It is designed to ensure that the selected research problem is of reasonable scope and significance and that the proposed dissertation is feasible. The written portion of Prelim II should be of sufficient quality to be publishable as a department technical report. This exam is open to the public.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates the preliminary examinations. Each member votes to pass or fail the student. In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exam has been satisfactorily completed. Successful completion of the preliminary examinations produces a written understanding among the student, faculty advisor and Doctoral Advisory Committee, specifying the work to be done to obtain final approval of the dissertation.

Students who are preparing to do their preliminary examinations should confirm a time and date with the Chair of their Doctoral Advisory Committee and register with the Administrative Coordinator one month prior to the date. The student and Chair receive confirmation of the time, date and room of the examination.

Dissertation Proposal:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of:

  1. the context and background surrounding a particular research problem;
  2. an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem; and
  3. a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem.

The proposal should be finished and approved no more than one year after completing coursework. Upon approval, a timeline for completing the investigation and writing process are established.

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Computer and Information Science. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's knowledge of research methods and a mastery of their primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the Computer and Information Science field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader field of Computer and Information Science; and be prepared for publication in a professional journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student's doctoral research and is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members. Two members, including the Chair, must be from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Committee compositions must be approved by the CIS Graduate Committee. The Chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the committee members, and informing the student of their academic progress.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member from outside the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. The Outside Examiner should be identified no later than the beginning of the term in which the student will defend the dissertation. The committee evaluates the student's ability to express verbally their research question, methodological approach, primary findings and implications. The committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of a committee, the new member must be approved by the CIS Graduate Committee and registered with the Administrative Coordinator and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Doctoral Advisory Committee and register with the Administrative Coordinator at least 30 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The student and Chair receive confirmation of the time, date and room for the examination.

The Administrative Coordinator sends the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within "University Forms," at least 10 days before the defense. The department posts flyers announcing the defense.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Computer and Information Sciences

313 Science and Education Research Center

1925 N. 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-1801


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Graduate Administrative Coordinator


Artificial Intelligence and Applications Track Chair:

Longin Jan Latecki, PhD

Computer and Network Systems Track Chair:

Jie Wu, PhD

Information Systems Track Chair:

Zoran Obradovic, PhD

Software Systems Track Chair:

Justin Shi, PhD

Graduate Chairperson:

Yu Wang, PhD


Department Chairperson:

Jamie Payton, DSc