Computer Science and Informatics PhD (one-page flyer)

The Department offers a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Informatics. This program is uniquely tailored to Emory's special strengths, both within the department and across the University's renowned health science departments. Graduate studies and training are offered in close partnership with the Computational and Life Sciences strategic initiative and students benefit greatly from the breadth and richness of a large CLS community of faculty, postdocs, and research labs. Aimed at educating the next generation of computer scientists, and informaticists, the Ph.D. is suitable for those wishing to pursue careers in academics, industry, government, or healthcare. Possible areas of research specialization include:

  • Data and Information Management: Data security, information retrieval, statistical analysis, and data integration in the context of medical, public health, and biological data managment. Research projects and course offerings span multiple departments, and intersect with other research groups in Biology, the School of Medicine, the Winship Cancer Institute, and the Rollins School of Public Health.
  • Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science: Graph theory, theory of computation, approximation algorithms, combinatorial optimization, mathematical programming, and geometric algorithms. Research in traditional Computer Science as well as in BioInformatics and Computational Biology is pursued under this track.
  • Distributed and High-Performance Computing: Metacomputing, distributed systems, collaboration technologies, networking, and high-performance computing. Students can work on research projects in Grid and Cloud computing, particularly for eScience and Healthcare.
  • Scientific Computing: Numerical linear algebra, image processing, iterative methods, optimization, partial differential equations, and computational fluid dynamics. Strong connections with Radiology, Medicine, and Pediatrics characterize research in this sub area.


Students admitted to the program, in full standing, should have an undergraduate degree in computer science, mathematics, or a related science and engineering field that includes basic and intermediate computer science courses. Students with insufficient preparation may be required to take courses beyond the minimum requirements.

Students must complete each of the following.

  1. Course requirements: Consisting of 10 courses and 2 projects.
    • Core courses are in Algorithms, Data Management, and Systems.
    • Electives may be taken from relevant courses within
      • Mathematics & Computer Science
      • the natural sciences
      • Emory Schools of Medicine, Public Health, or Business
    • Projects are faculty-lead and aim to
      • provide practicum opportunities
      • explore potential dissertation topics within the faculty advisor's area
      • expose students to computational research problems in practical settings through interdisciplinary collaborations
  2. Qualifying Exams: This consists of an area exam that covers foundational materials within the student's area of research, and a thesis proposal in which the student describes a set of open research questions and the approaches that will be taken to answer them.
  3. Teaching Requirements: Each student must attend a three-day summer workshop and a one semester department seminar on teaching, co-teach one course, and independently teach one introductory-level undergraduate course.
  4. Students must fulfill the Graduate School residency requirements.
  5. Each student must present a deparment graduate seminar, complete an acceptable dissertation and deliver an oral defense.