Ph. D. In Computational Science and Engineering

Mission

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) is an interdisciplinary graduate program (granting M. S. and Ph. D. degrees) designed for students who seek to use advanced computational methods to solve large problems in diverse fields ranging from the basic sciences (Physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc.) to sociology, biology, engineering, and economics. 

The mission of Computational Science and Engineering is to graduate professionals who (a) have expertise in developing novel computational methodologies and products,  and/or (b) have extended their expertise in specific disciplines (in science, technology, engineering, and socioeconomics) with computational tools.

Objectives

The Computational Science and Engineering programs have been designed with the following objectives:

  • To lead graduate students to a mastery of high-performance computer programming tools as methods, as well as the acquisition, processing and analysis of large datasets.
  • To educate and train students in computational modeling, simulation and visualization.
  • To educate and train students in obtaining computational solutions to problems of high dimensions or involving large datasets.
  • To assist students in relating and applying the acquired computational science and engineering knowledge and skills to specific application fields of engineering, science, technology and business with expertise in the associated domain fields and their computational aspects.
  • To teach students to develop novel and robust computational methods and tools to solve scientific, engineering, technology, and business problems.
  • To produce highly versatile computational scientists, engineers, technologists, or business executives with a good understanding of the connections among various disciplines, capable of interacting and collaborating effectively with scientists, engineers, and professionals in other fields.
  • To increase the number of graduate professionals available to work in computational science and engineering.
  • To increase the diversity of graduate professionals, especially underrepresented minority and African Americans available to work in the computational science and engineering field.
  • To assist the State of North Carolina and the Nation to increase the pool of graduates with training and experience in computational science and engineering, interdisciplinary applications, and research. 

Admission Requirements for the M.S. Degree

Background: Admissions decisions reflect an evaluation of the applicant’s potential to engage in graduate coursework and independent and original investigations.  Generally, requests for admission are considered by the Program Director through the standard admission procedure of the School of Graduate Studies. Once an application is reviewed, an admission recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Admission is granted for a specific semester or summer term, and any change in the admission date must be requested in writing and approved by the School of Graduate Studies.

In general, for admission to the Ph. D. in Computational Science and Engineering, the applicant must have a Master of Science or of Engineering degree in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) or in science, engineering, business, economics, technology or in a field allied to computational science or computational engineering field with a minimum GPA of 3.00/4.00.  Other possibilities are for direct admission to the PhD or for admission to an accelerated MS/PhD in CSE.  Please contact us for more detail. 

General prerequisites:  All Applicants are expected to possess knowledge in (a) College chemistry and physics and (b) College mathematics. Applicants to the Computational Methods Track are also required to possess knowledge of (c) Calculus through differential equations, and (d) elementary numerical analysis or one semester of linear algebra.  Programming skills and working knowledge of at least one high-level programming language such as FORTRAN, C++, or an interpreted language like Java, MATLAB, or Mathematica.

Graduate School requirements: Applicants to the Ph. D. Program must comply with the requirements for admission as specified by the School of Graduate Studies for all similar programs.  In particular, they must comply with:

  1. The TOEFL and GRE examination requirements;
  2. Requirements regarding official transcripts for all college-level academic work;
  3. Requirements regarding Letters of Recommendation; and
  4. Completing an Application and paying all application fees

Other Requirements: 

  1. The Applicant shall provide a “Statement of Purpose” in the context of pursuing the Ph. D. degree in Computational Science and Engineering.
  2. An applicant requesting financial aid is strongly encouraged to provide a resume. 

Ph. D. Degree Requirements

Overview

The credit hours required for the Ph. D. Program is 72 credit hours beyond the student’s Bachelor of Science degree or the equivalent thereof.  In general, a M. S. degree is counted as 18 credits towards the Ph. D. degree or as allowed by the School of Graduate Studies.  Please consult the Graduate Catalog. 

A minimum number of credit hours must be satisfied in each of the following several categories.  The minimum requirements are as follows: 

(a)          24 credit hours for graded course work;

(b)          2 credit hours for Ph. D. seminars;

(c)          3 credit hours are for professional practice/development;

(d)          3 credit hours for qualifying exam;

(e)          3 credit hours for Ph. D. proposal defense;

(f)           12 credit hours for dissertation research.

Graded Courses Requirements

The requirements consist of the following elements:

  1. The successful candidate shall pass at least 9 credits from the CSE Core courses.
  2. The successful candidate shall pass a total of 2 credit seminar hours. Each seminar is for 1 credit hour.
  3. The successful candidate shall pass 15 credit hours of approved Domain Courses.  The approved domain courses include any graduate level course from the College of Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agribusiness, Animal Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment Design, and Business and Economics. Other courses must be approved by the CSE.

Qualifying Written Examination Requirements

The successful Ph.D candidate must pass a 3-credit hour course consisting of a comprehensive written examination in the following 3 Areas:

  1. The CSE Core Area consisting of 6 credit hours from the list of CSE Core courses.
  2. The CSE Area consisting of 6 additional credits from graded courses in the CSE curriculum.
  3. The Application Area consisting of 6 credit hours from approved courses in the student submitted Plan of Study. The Dissertation Advisor must propose these courses and help administer the examination in this Area.

 Qualifying Written Examination Requirements

The successful Ph.D candidate must pass a 3-credit hour course consisting of a comprehensive written examination in the following 3 Areas:

  1. The CSE Core Area consisting of 6 credit hours from the list of CSE Core courses.
  2. The CSE Area consisting of 6 additional credits from graded courses in the CSE curriculum.
  3. The Application Area consisting of 6 credit hours from approved courses in the student submitted Plan of Study. The Dissertation Advisor must propose these courses and help administer the examination in this Area.

 Research and Dissertation Requirements

A minimum of 12 Dissertation Research credit hours are required for all students in the Program. 

Major Advisor: Initially the Director of the Ph. D. Program will serve as an Academic Advisor for all new students entering the Program. Each student in the Ph. D. Program is expected to select a Major Advisor by the beginning of the second year with the approval of the Program Director. The Major Advisor must hold a tenure or tenure-track full-time faculty position at the university, and shall subsequently act as the Academic Advisor as well.

Composition of Ph. D. Committee: A Ph. D. Advisory Committee will consist of a minimum of five (5) graduate faculty with the Major Advisor as its chairperson. The Ph.D. Advisory Committee will be recommended by the Major Advisor, with input from the student, to the Director of the Computational Science and Engineering Ph. D. Program, for approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Committee shall supervise the student’s Program, administer dissertation review and approval, and finally recommend the awarding of the degree.

Plan of Study: Upon the student’s selection of a research area, the Ph. D. Advisory Committee shall review the student’s prior transcripts, evaluate and recommend any transfer credits, and provide advice to the student. The student shall subsequently prepare a Plan of Study for approval by the Ph. D. Advisory Committee, the Director of the CSE Ph. D. Program, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Oral Defense of Dissertation Proposal (Preliminary Examination): Three (3) credit hours are required for all students in the Program.  The dissertation proposal is submitted to the student’s Major Advisor and the Ph. D. Advisory Committee for review. The committee will make recommendations as needed.  The proposal must be orally defended by the candidate before the Advisory Committee, and it must be approved by the Committee, and the student can proceed further with his/her research.

Candidacy for Ph. D. Degree in Computational Science and Engineering: Admission to candidacy for Ph. D. degree in Computational Science and Engineering shall require compliance with all existing Graduate School policies, and shall occur after the student has successfully passed the Qualifying Examination and the Preliminary Examination.

Final Oral Examination: The final oral examination is scheduled after the dissertation is complete except for such revisions as may be necessary as a result of the examination, but not earlier than one semester or its equivalent after admission to candidacy and not before all required course work has been completed or is currently in progress.

Dissertation:  The doctoral dissertation presents the results of the student’s original investigation in the field of major interest.  It must be a contribution to knowledge, be adequately supported by data and be written in a manner consistent with the highest standards of scholarship.  Publication is expected.

Other Requirements

Grade Point Average: The student must successfully complete the approved Plan of Study with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

Residency Requirements:  For the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the student is expected to be registered for graduate work for at least four semesters beyond the Master of Science degree.  At least two residence credits must be secured in continuous residence (registration in consecutive semesters) as a graduate student at the university.

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