Computer science is the study of computers and the properties of computation. This field explores the theoretical and practical teachings of various scientific and mathematical fields and puts these applications to use when solving computational problems. Computer science is constantly evolving and expanding, thanks to the ongoing study and research conducted by industry specialists. If you want to become an expert and make a lasting difference in this technical field, then the computer science Ph.D. may be your next degree.

Why a Doctorate Degree?

After completing a master’s degree in computer science, students have the option of entering the workforce or pursuing another degree. In this case, the next and highest degree is the Ph.D. Upon entering this program, students have demonstrated a deep understanding of computer science and possess a wide range of advanced computing skills. Once admitted, doctoral students will take upper-level courses and conduct thorough research that advances the field and their particular area of technical expertise.

Getting Into a Doctorate Degree Program

To be accepted into a doctorate degree program, applicants must first meet certain educational requirements. Although admissions criteria changes from school to school, most doctorate programs expect the following:

  • Master’s and bachelor’s degree from accredited institutions
  • Minimum graduate GPA
  • Desired GRE or GMAT score
  • Required years of work experience
  • Academic and/or professional recommendations

Inside a Computer Science Doctorate Degree Program

Today, there are dozens of online computer science Ph.D. programs to choose from. Although no two are exactly alike, there are similarities in the overall completion time, courses, and requirements of each program. In most cases, this doctorate degree program will take about three to four years to complete. During the program, you’ll likely take courses in the following subjects: operating systems, theory and principles of programming, computer graphics, network security, research design, and network communications.

It is not uncommon for some online doctorate programs to combine online instruction with intensive residential sessions that are held a few times annually. Courses, assignment, grades, and other class materials can be accessed through the online learning management system provided by the school. While working toward your Ph.D., be sure to maintain good communication with your instructors, classmates, and school officials.

What’s Next for Computer Science Doctorate Degree Holders?

Graduates of an online computer science Ph.D. program will be prepared to work in a number of different careers. Depending on your interests and preferred industry, doctorate degree holders can work as computer science teachers at the postsecondary level, or pursue an industry career as a network and computer systems administrator, computer software engineer, computer systems analysts, or another technical position. If you decide to work in academia and teach computer science at a college or university, you can make an average annual salary of $80,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Others pursue graduate study with the intention to continue working in their current position, where they can contribute their research and advanced skills.