Admission Requirements for a Computer Science PhD

While Computer Science is one of the most popular and in-demand academic disciplines, most students usually look at a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. But not you. You’re more ambitious than that, and research work is something you genuinely enjoy, so you’re interested in a PhD degree.

But what are the most common admission requirements for a Computer Science PhD? And do you meet them? Let’s find out!

Here are a few universities we recommend for a doctorate in Computer Science:

Common admission requirements for a PhD in Computer Science

Master’s diploma: needs to be in Computer Science or a related field.

Official transcript of records: documents with all your previous grades and exam results from high school, national examinations, Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees.

Samples of previous academic work: evidence of your ability to conduct research, draw conclusions, and come up with insights.

Research or project proposal: what you will focus on during your PhD degree and what you hope to achieve through your research.

Online interview: an opportunity to further describe and explain your chosen topic/project proposal and prove that you are a worthy candidate.

Official ID, passport, or other forms of identification: proof that you are who you say you are; you often need to include 2-4 passport-type photos as well.

Proof of financial support: official evidence showing that you have the necessary money to pay tuition fees (if any), cover living costs and healthcare insurance.

Medical certificate: document asserting your overall health condition.

Letter(s) of recommendation: letter from teachers or people you have worked with who can confirm and describe your knowledge, skills, and qualities.

Language requirements

The language of instruction and evaluation will be English; any prospective doctorate student dreaming of becoming a computer scientist needs to prove their language level. The most common tests are:

Of course, some computer science schools can have even higher or lower English language expectations.

Learn more about IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE Academic.

Computer scientist working in a technology development laboratory

Now, let’s look at a couple of actual examples of admission requirements for a PhD in Computer Science:

Requirements for Comp Science PhD at University of Zurich, Switzerland

  • Admission to doctoral study is governed by the ordinance on admission to studies at the University of Zurich (Verordnung über die Zulassung an der Universität Zürich VZS).
  • The main requirement for admission to doctoral study is a Master’s degree from a university or an equivalent degree. Each PhD project must receive approval from a professor at the Faculty of Science or from a person who has the right to confer a PhD at the Faculty of Science.
  • As a rule, the language of instruction in the PhD programs is English. All applicants whose native language is not English, or whose prior studies have not been conducted in English, are required to provide proof of sufficient knowledge of English: IELTS 7 or TOEFL 100

Requirements for Comp Science PhD at University of Miami, USA

  • Statement of purpose.
  • Original academic transcripts (by mail, posted to the Director of Graduate Studies)
  • GRE general test scores 
  • Applicants must rank in the 65% percentile or higher in the Quantitative Reasoning test. There is no minimum score requirement for the other parts of the GRE.
  • Students from non-English speaking countries must send either TOEFL 92 or IELTS 6.5.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • For international students: filled-in form for financial responsibility (required by the US government)
  • Optional: For PhD applications, filled-in form to apply for an assistantship.

Find PhDs in Computer Science

Can you enrol in a Computer Science PhD without a Master’s?

The traditional route to PhD or Doctoral studies is Bachelor’s diploma, followed by a Master’s degree and then a PhD application.

And it is recommended to follow this path because if the amount of research at Master’s level is too much or not what you want, you won’t enjoy a PhD either.

However, you don’t always need a Master’s to enrol in a PhD. Universities in many countries accept candidates who only have a Bachelor’s diploma. But there’s a catch! Your academic results must be excellent. Simply graduating with average marks won’t get you into a Computer Science PhD.

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