Sep 26, 2021  
2009-2011 Graduate Catalog 

Informatics Ph.D.

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The objective of the Ph.D. in Informatics is to provide graduates with an extensive conceptual framework for, and background in Informatics and to prepare them to conduct research in the field.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Graduate College, applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program in Informatics must meet the following requirements.

  1. Online application to the Graduate College.
  2. Master’s degree in informatics, computer science, information systems, information science, other closely related discipline, or one of the cognate areas. An unusually capable student with a Bachelor’s degree may be admitted to work directly for the PhD degree.
  3. A GPA of 3.3 or higher in post-baccalaureate course work.
  4. GRE 1200 minimum with no less than 500 in either the verbal or quantitative test.
  5. TOEFL minimums of 213 (Computer), 550 (paper), 80 (Internet) for international applicants.
  6. Three letters of recommendation from former instructors or employers that address the applicant’s potential as a graduate student in the informatics area.
  7. Academic transcripts.
  8. A personal statement of purpose, which should be as specific as possible, and should include the applicant’s objectives and areas of interest(s).
  9. Resume

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. degree is awarded to a candidate who has demonstrated breadth of knowledge in informatics in general, and has displayed depth of knowledge in the area of specialty as well as the ability to make original contributions to the body of knowledge in this field. To successfully complete the Ph.D. program a student must fulfill all the Graduate College degree requirements as well as the following requirements:

  1. Complete a minimum of 81 credits of course work (or Master’s in Informatics + a minimum of 45 credits at PhD level)
  2. Complete 18 credits of:
    INF 799 - Dissertation Research .
  3. Complete 9 credits of Research Methods courses, 3 of which must be in Informatics.
  4. Satisfactorily pass the written comprehensive examination.
  5. Satisfactorily pass an oral qualifying examination.
  6. Prepare a dissertation that must be acceptable to his or her Ph.D. committee.
  7. Satisfactorily pass an oral defense of the dissertation examination.
  8. Maintain a satisfactory rate of progress.

A student entering the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree in Informatics is required to take at least 45 credits of course work subject to the following conditions:

  1. At least 15 credits must be in informatics (including 3 credit INF Research Methods).
  2. At least 9 credits must be outside of informatics, i.e., in a cognate area (including 6 credit Research Methods).
  3. At least 12 credits of informatics courses must be at the 700-level (excluding INF 799 credits).
  4. Includes 18 credits of:
    INF 799 - Dissertation Research .
  5. Includes 9 credits of Research Methods courses, 3 of which must be in Informatics.

Students must meet a minimum 3.0 GPA for graduation. Students must also agree to abide by the Association for Computing Machinery’s “Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct” for computing professionals (

The Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is an oral examination designed to test the depth and breadth of the student’s knowledge in his or her area of research specialization. It must be taken before either (a) 2 years after passing the comprehensive examination or (b) 4 years after entering the Ph.D. program. It generally focuses on his/her dissertation proposal. The main purpose of this exam is to evaluate the technical merits and feasibility of the student’s proposal for his/her Ph.D. dissertation. The examination must be conducted by the student’s Ph.D. committee. This committee consists of five faculty members of whom one must be from outside the Proposed School of Informatics. The student’s advisor is the chairperson of this committee. The faculty member from outside the school is selected by the Graduate College from three faculty members who are suggested by the student in consultation with his or her advisor.

The student must prepare a dissertation proposal prior to taking this examination. This proposal should have already been approved by the student’s advisor. This proposal must be given to the Ph.D. Advisory Committee members at least two weeks before the date of the qualifying exam. The proposal must contain a discussion of the background literature on the problem area, description of the specific topic of research proposal approach, feasibility arguments, the objective of the research project, and a list of references.

The student begins the exam with a presentation of his or her dissertation proposal. The remaining time is used for discussion and asking questions to determine if the student has sufficient depth of knowledge to carry out the proposed research. The examination cannot be taken more than twice. After successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student is advanced to candidacy for the degree.

Preparation of Dissertation

The candidate must prepare a dissertation on his or her research. The Ph.D. dissertation should represent a significant original research contribution to the field of informatics.

Oral Defense

After completion of the dissertation the candidate must pass a final oral examination in defense of his/her dissertation. The candidate must make the final changes, if any, in the dissertation within three months from the date of the oral defense.

A candidate can defend his or her dissertation at most twice. The Ph.D. dissertation must be approved by each member of the student’s PhD Advisory Committee.

Satisfactory Progress

To maintain satisfactory progress in the Ph.D. program a student must:

  1. Pass the comprehensive examination within 2.5 years of entering the Ph.D. program.
  2. Maintain a minimum grade point average required by the Proposed School of Informatics.
  3. Pass the qualifying examination within 4 years of entering the Ph.D. program.
  4. Maintain satisfactory progress towards research.
  5. Students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within six years.

If these requirements are not met the school may place the student on academic probation or drop him/her from the Ph.D. program.

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