What are the differentiating factors of the CDS program? How is it different than a Computer Science PhD program?
The PhD program in Computing & Data Sciences is designed for those who hold a degree in one of the core areas of computing and data science, such as Computer Science, as well as students with degrees in applied areas of CDS, including information systems, earth & environment, journalism, and others.
In order to help foster a close-knit community, the program provides small incoming cohorts with unifying experiences. Students are not expected to identify a research or thesis advisor(s) before applying to the CDS PhD program; for the first two years, you are supported by CDS while you complete your methodology and subject area course requirements, ethics requirement, and lab rotations.
While the course requirements of the CDS PhD program incorporate core topics that are rooted in computer science, our program offers students the flexibility of choosing a subject area from which they can select elective courses. These subject areas allow students to build additional depth in core computing and data science topics, such as machine learning, or focus instead on the refinement or application of computational and data-driven approaches in domain-specific settings, such as economics.
When is the application deadline?
Priority deadline for PhD applications: December 15th
Final deadline for PhD applications: February 1st
Who is eligible for an application fee waiver?
A fee waiver, called “coupon codes” in our application system, can be obtained by reaching out to email@example.com with justification and affiliation. The Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) Admissions team reviews each request on an individual basis. If you would please provide us with specific details regarding your reason for requesting a waiver, we can review your circumstances and determine your eligibility for a waiver.
Are GRE scores required for admission?
As part of CDS' commitment to a holistic review approach, submitting GRE scores is optional but may be requested as a condition of admission.
Can I apply without IELTS/TOEFL scores? I have an English proficiency certificate.
Boston University requires TOEFL scores. This should not stop you from applying to the PhD Program in CDS as we take a holistic approach to the application process. CDS may require the TOEFL score as a condition of acceptance. Learn more about our English proficiency requirements here.
I am currently in the last year of my undergraduate degree program. Am I eligible to apply for the PhD program?
We encourage students to apply. Review of your application is contingent on completion of your undergraduate degree.
Do I need to identify a research/thesis advisor(s) prior to applying?
No. For up to the first two years of the program, students will be supported financially by CDS, providing them time to focus on completing required coursework, RCR training, etc. During this time, students will be introduced to the scholarship of (and the rich set of research projects pursued by) CDS faculty through their participation in the CDS First Year Doctoral Seminar and through two required research/lab rotations with affiliated CDS faculty. No later than the end of their second year in the program, students will identify who will serve as their research/thesis advisor(s). From year 3 onward, these advisors will provide the student financial support.
Who are the CDS faculty?
Please visit our CDS Faculty page for a complete list of core and affiliated faculty, as well as links to individual research pages.
Who is currently taking PhD students?
CDS Core Faculty and CDS Affiliated Faculty.
Please note that the following CDS professors are not currently accepting Ph.D. students: Margrit Betke, Ran Canetti, Tanima Chatterjee, Ivan Fernandez-Val, Roscoe Giles, Kevin Gold, Leonidas Kontothanassis, Kate Saenko, and Langdon White.
Is there a possibility of getting financial support in the form of a TA or RA position?
Yes, all students admitted are guaranteed financial support for five (5) years as long as they maintain excellent standing in the program. Students in the PhD program do not typically serve as TFs or RAs until year 3 of the program.