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The following guide is designed to help prospective and current PhD students understand and navigate the admissions process, funding, coursework, PhD milestones and graduation requirements for the PhD in Computer and Information Science.

Applying and Admissions

The College of Science and Technology uses GradCAS, a common application portal, for graduate admissions. Go to to log in to the portal and create an account. The instructions and program requirements can be found after selecting the CIS PhD program for the appropriate entry term in GradCAS.
No, a CS major is not required, but you should have strong quantitative and analytical skills.
For the GRE, the minimum total score is 300. The typical applicant has a GRE-Q score of at least 156, with the strongest candidates scoring much higher. The minimum scores for English Tests are set by the Graduate School:
  • TOEFL: 79
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • Duolingo: 110
If you have not earned a bachelor's or graduate (master's or doctoral) degree from an institution for which the language of instruction was not English, you are required to take a test of academic English, such as the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo. The Application Instructions will indicate how the scores should be submitted to Temple University.
Yes. For international students, official transcripts evaluated by a credentialing agency (e.g. WES) are required for admission to the program. The Application Instructions will indicate how the transcripts should be submitted electronically.
The application deadline is January 15. Although we strongly recommend submitting your application on time, we will continue to review student applications after the deadline. Contact our Graduate Programs Administrative Coordinator at if you have any questions about submitting an application late.
You may upload unofficial scores in the application as "Other" documents to allow for preliminary review of your application. However, official scores are required for admission.
These are common situations not entirely under your control. Be sure your scores were submitted using the correct code and remind your references to provide their letters as soon as possible.
The application portal will indicate which materials have been received.
Decisions can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on your area(s) of interest and whether or not faculty in those areas are recruiting PhD students.
At Temple CIS, students are matched with a PhD advisor as part of the admissions process. Prior to applying, we recommend that you visit our Research page to learn more about our faculty and the research in the department. In your statement of goals, you should indicate your preferences for research areas and faculty members to work with. It is common for students to contact faculty members prior to completing an application.
Yes. Contact our Graduate Programs Administrative Coordinator at to request to be considered for the M.S. program.

Assistantships and Funding

Admitted students are awarded either a research assistantship or teaching assistantship, which covers tuition and provides a monthly stipend. Graduate assistants at Temple University are covered by the Temple University Graduate Student Association (TUGSA), which provides additional details about TA/RA compensation and benefits.
We typically admit students only if we have funding to support them with a research or teaching assistantship. If you have external funding (e.g. scholarship, fellowship) to support doctoral study, you should mention that in your application.

Ph.D. Program Requirements

These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. You and your advisor will consult the Graduate Programs Chair and review your prior transcript, course syllabi and grades.
Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 9 credits of coursework, with two exceptions:
  1. A TA or RA (with an appointment that requires at least 20 hours of service per week) must be enrolled in at least 6 credits of coursework.
  2. Starting the semester after completing the 36 required credits of coursework, a student is considered full-time by enrolling in at least 1 credit of CIS 9994, 9998, or 9999. Withdrawing from a course mid-semester can impact a student's full-time status.
Though this option is not recommended, there have been students who have been able to complete a Ph.D. while also working a full-time job. In the best case, there is ample flexibility at your company and your dissertation overlaps with a work-based project where there is sufficient expertise and supervision. You will still need a CIS faculty member to serve as your advisor for such an arrangement.
Each student progresses through the Ph.D. program at a different pace, which may depend on your research topic and whether you started the program with a Bachelor's or Master's degree. There are four major milestones in the CIS Ph.D. program. This list includes the timeframe when students **typically** pass the milestone.
  • Qualifying Exam (3rd or 4th semester): tests the student on CIS and track- specific fundamentals.
  • Prelim I (within 1 year of passing Qualifying Exam): tests in-depth knowledge and the ability to perform a literature review on a topic in the student's intended research area.
  • Preim II (within 1 year of passing Prelim I): written and oral exam to assess the appropriateness of the student's intended research topic, including the approach and methodology. Students who pass Prelim II are elevated to Doctoral Candidacy.
  • Dissertation Defense (1 year after passing Prelim II)
The Qualifying Exam is offered in the spring (usually late January) and summer (usually late June).
Students cannot directly enroll in independent study or research credits. Contact the Graduate Program Administrative Coordinator to be registered for these courses.
As part of the normal graduate training program, all Ph.D. candidates are expected to teach at least one course as a Teaching Assistant (TA).
In addition to completing the coursework requirements and passing the program milestones, most students publish multiple first-author papers at top conferences prior to graduation.
While there is no "official" dissertation template, there are ever-evolving unofficial Latex and MS Word templates that meet the requirements of the Graduate School.