Computer Science (Ph.D.)

Computer Science (Ph.D.)

PhD in Computer Science

The Ph.D. program is designed to develop a student's ability to carry out advanced research, as well as ensure the breadth and depth of computer science knowledge required to obtain a faculty position in academia or a research position in industry or at a national laboratory. Students first work to obtain breadth knowledge and a faculty research mentor. Then, working with their mentor, they carry out advanced work that results in original research publications and a doctoral dissertation.

Department of Computer Science
Kingsbury Hall N229, 33 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862.3778

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  • Grad student masters the art of data visualization
    In a darkened room filled with gigantic computer screens, Drew Stevens '17G types on the keyboard and watches the results: A blade of kelp that appears three-dimensional begins moving as if it’s underwater, the shape morphing and flowing back and forth. Stevens points out where small crustaceans...
    Grad student masters the art of data visualization
    In a darkened room filled with gigantic computer screens, Drew Stevens '17G types on the keyboard and watches the results: A blade of kelp that appears three-dimensional begins moving as if it’s underwater, the shape morphing and flowing back and forth. Stevens points out where small crustaceans...

Curriculum & Requirements

CS 900Graduate Seminar1
Select six CS graduate courses (of at least 3 credits each) beyond the M.S. or twelve CS graduate courses beyond the B.S. 1
Interdisciplinary breadth requirement 2
Breadth Requirement 3
Depth Requirement 4
Dissertation 5

The courses must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Two courses must be implementation intensive (see list below).
  • All students must take CS 845 Formal Specification and Verification of Software Systems or CS 858 Algorithms.
  • At most two can be CS 998 Independent Study. If two CS 998 courses are taken, they must be taught by different instructors.

This requirement must be satisfied by taking a non-CS 800-level or 900-level course. The course must be approved by the student's research mentor.


To satisfy this requirement, a Ph.D. student who has previously completed a Masters degree, must take classes from at least three different faculty. All other students must take classes from at least five different faculty.


Under the direction of a depth adviser and a depth committee, the student carries out some preliminary research that is likely to lead to a dissertation topic. The student must produce two written reports (a literature survey and a research report) and make a presentation as part of an oral examination on the material. After the student has successfully completed the depth exam and has satisfied the interdisciplinary breadth requirement, the student is advanced to candidacy.


The student must complete original research and present and defend a dissertation describing that research. The research is carried out under the supervision of a faculty member dissertation adviser and a dissertation committee of at least five members, including one from outside the department.

Implementation Intensive Courses

Implementation intensive courses include:

CS 812Compiler Design3
CS 820Systems Programming3
CS 830Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
CS 835Introduction to Parallel and Distributed Programming3
CS 870Computer Graphics3
CS 953Data Science for Knowledge Graphs and Text3

Graduates of the UNH Ph.D. CS program will have an ability to:

  • Understand and apply a wide breadth and depth of computer science knowledge.
  • Carry out advanced independent computer science research that results in original publications and a doctoral dissertation.
  • Obtain a faculty position in academic, or a research position in industry or at a national laboratory.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 1 (for special funding opportunities); March 1 (for full funding opportunities); April 1 (final)
  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Applications will be accepted until the deadline or until the program is full.

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload an official copy of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE General test scores are normally required but may be waived for students who have taken computer science courses at UNH. If required, request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Some academic departments recommend that international applicants, living outside of the United States, and planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit our extended inquiry form before submitting a full application. The extended inquiry form will be reviewed by the academic faculty and a department representative will reach out if your background and qualifications are a good fit for the program. 

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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