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Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering

Application Deadlines

  • Fall enrollment: January 15
  • Spring enrollment: August 15

Admissions Requirements

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Minimum GRE: 301
  • Minimum TOEFL: 550
View detailed admissions requirements

We are a dynamic and growing department with a strong Ph.D. program in the theory and design of computer programs and computing systems. Faculty research spans interdisciplinary science and engineering problems, including cutting-edge projects in expanding fields such as advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems, big data and cyber security. Learn more about our faculty.

Our graduates see strong demand for their skills, and our proximity to high-tech hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle mean our department has forged strong connections with major employers. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. Our graduates have also gone on to academic careers in universities around the nation.

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Research in computer science and engineering

Our department has research strengths in four main areas:

Computer and network systems

Network cables

Faculty in this area research wireline and wireless networking areas to improve the Internet and accommodate growing demand for high-speed mobile networking. Faculty also investigate cyber security and forensics to protect the digital world and explore social and biological networks in order to identify patterns in those complex systems.

Games and simulations

naval simulation

This research areas has two major thrusts. First, like chess and checkers in the past, our research uses modern video games as testbeds for research into computational intelligence and machine learning. The second thrust investigates game design, interface, and new interaction modes to make games more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Intelligent systems

robotic dog

Our research focuses on developing systems that are able to perceive, understand and respond to the world around them. This area of research has a wide range of applications, from vision-based surveillance to assistive robotics, autonomous systems and advanced manufacturing.

Software systems

software system

Researchers in this area are developing infrastructure and software solutions to scale and support the collection and use of big data for scientific research. Recent projects have involved real-time climate data collection and developing a framework for model and data interoperability.

View a list of currently funded research projects

Requirements for the Ph.D. in computer science and engineering

There are three main requirements for the doctoral degree: required and elective coursework, comprehensive exams, and a research-based dissertation. In addition, doctoral students are expected to attend department colloquia, participate in proposal writing and present their research.

View detailed degree requirements on the course catalog.

Admission and Application Requirements

Applicants to the doctoral degree program should have a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, or science and have minimum experience that includes the equivalent of a computer science and engineering minor. Exceptions to these criteria may be made for applicants who show exceptional promise.

Applicants should further meet the following minimum requirements for admission:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for applicants with an M.S. degree
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25 for applicants without an M.S. degree
  • A minimum TOEFL or equivalent score of 80 (550 in the old scale) for international applicants
  • Combined GRE verbal and quantitative score of at least 301 (1100 in the old scale). Students who score below 155 (700 in the old scale) in the quantitative section will find it difficult to complete our graduate program
  • A one-page personal statement describing research interests and career goals. Candidates are expected to clearly indicate their research interests as well as the faculty members they are interested in working with.
  • Three letters of recommendation

Admission fee-waiver

Domestic students that have a quantitative GRE score ≥ 165 and international students that additionally have a TOEFL ibt score ≥ 102 (or equivalently, TOEFL pbt score  ≥ 609 or IELTS score ≥ 7.5) are eligible to have their application fee paid by the College of Engineering. Complete information and instructions are available on the fee-waiver program for highly qualified Ph.D. applicants page.

You can start your application through The Graduate School website, which also provides detailed instructions on The Graduate School's application and admission requirements.

Start your application.

Paying for graduate school

Information about graduate student tuition and fees is available on The Graduate School website.

Many of our full-time Ph.D. students are currently fully supported, and the department expects to have sufficient funding to support additional students in the upcoming years. You are encouraged to check out the funding sources below and apply for any funding for which you are eligible.

The University offers two kinds of graduate assistantships:

  • Teaching assistants work under the supervision of department faculty and are expected to teach recitation sections or laboratories, help with grading and develop course materials and exams.
  • Research assistants conduct innovative research in cooperation with and under the supervision of department faculty.  They are expected to conduct experiments, implement prototype systems, develop new theories, and attend conferences or publish work in scholarly journals.

Graduate assistantships are valued at an estimated $34,000 and include a monthly stipend of $1,650, a per credit grant-in-aid, health insurance, and in-state resident status for tuition purposes. If you are selected for an assistantship, you will receive additional details about your funding package at that time. Individual academic departments make decisions on awarding the graduate assistantships and students should contact the department directly or the faculty supervisor they are interested in working with. Assistantships do not have to be from the department you are studying in.

To be considered for graduate assistantships in the CSE Department, you must officially apply to the Ph.D. program. All official applicants will be automatically considered for both teaching and research assistantships. All currently enrolled students are eligible for TA positions and should send an e-mail Lisa Cody ( to be considered.

Information about scholarships and financial aid for international students is also available on the Office of International Students and Scholars website.

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Contact Computer Science and Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6974
Fax (775) 784-1877
Location Scrugham Engineering and Mines
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

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