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PhD Programs

The Computer Science Department offers a PhD program as well as an Interdisciplinary PhD program. Below are outlines of the program requirements, the areas of faculty expertise, as well as instructions on how to apply. Interested students also can direct inquiries to the graduate coordinator, Professor Ram Mettu, at rmettu@tulane.edu.

PhD Program in Computer Science

The PhD Program in Computer Science guides students from beginning graduate study in Computer Science all the way through to completion of their dissertation research.

The objective of the program is to ensure students obtain a solid foundation by requiring them to take graduate courses in a number of core areas of computer science. A depth requirement involving the attendance of a sequence of courses from one or more areas will enable the student to acquire world-class expertise on a research area of concentration. Students also will be expected to engage in research as early as their incoming semester. This will be accomplished by the research courses and research seminars that will prepare students by engaging them in research from the start.

The program requires 48 credit hours of graduate course work, including core computer science courses, research courses starting in the first year, as well as an interdisciplinary research project. After an oral qualifying examination at the end of the fifth semester, the prospectus presentation is scheduled at the beginning of the seventh semester, and the final milestone is to complete and defend a dissertation.

Transfer Credit

Up to 24 credit hours of graduate work at Tulane or another university may be transferable for credit, if the work is in Computer Science or in the related area. In particular, students who have completed a Master's degree may be able to have some of their Master's coursework count for the PhD degree. The suitability of a course transfer is approved on a course-by-course basis and is not automatically guaranteed.

Financial Support

PhD students receive full financial support in the form of teaching and research assistantships with a generous stipend, including paid tuition. The Computer Science Department has Teaching Assistantships available and some faculty also have Research Assistant positions available for students interested in working on their research program. Interested students should contact any of our graduate faculty about the possibilities or they should contact the graduate coordinator, Ram Mettu, at rmettu@tulane.edu.

Areas of Faculty Expertise

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

Students with interest in artificial intelligence and/or data science including issues in AI, ethics, and society, are invited to contact Professor Nicholas Mattei. Possible areas for interdisciplinary collaboration include mathematics, economics, psychology, and law.

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

Students interested in research in computational biology and bioinformatics are invited to contact Professor Ramgopal Mettu. Professor Mettu currently conducts research in protein structure prediction, protein-protein interactions, compound screening, computational immunology, and in the application of computational methods to model vector-borne infectious disease. His research is performed in collaboration with faculty from the Tulane Medical School.

Computational Geometry, Shape Matching, or Trajectory Analysis

Students with interest in computational geometry, shape matching, or trajectory analysis, possibly in combination with topology or statistics or with biomedical image analysis, are invited to contact Professor Carola Wenk. Possible areas for an interdisciplinary collaboration include mathematics, biomedical engineering, and biology.

Machine Learning

Students interested in working in the theory, algorithms and applications of machine learning are invited to contact Professor Jihun Hamm. Professor Hamm's current research topics include deep learning, adversarial machine learning, non-convex optimization, and machine learning applications in biomedical sciences.
Students interested in machine learning algorithms for natural language processing are invited to contact Professor Aron Culotta. Professor Culotta conducts interdisciplinary research on social media analysis with applications to public health, emergency management, and political science. His recent methodological focus includes domain adaptation, semi-supervised learning, and causal inference.
Students interested in working on the algorithms and applications of computer vision and machine learning are invited to contact Professor Zhengming (Allan) Ding. Professor Ding's current research focuses on developing scalable algorithms to learn robust representations from large-scale data including topics as deep generative learning, transfer learning, multi-view learning, few-shot learning, zero-shot learning.

Mathematical and Logical Foundations

Students interested in working in the mathematical and logical foundations of computer science, or in quantum information and quantum computation, are invited to contact Professor Michael Mislove. Professor Mislove conducts research on computational models, which are mathematical and logical systems used to analyze computational processes. His recent work has focused on probabilistic models, and includes exploring the development of computational approaches to probability, and to quantum information and computation.

Networking, Cloud Computing, and Cybersecurity

Students with interest in networking, cloud computing, and/or cybersecurity are invited to contact Professor Zizhan Zheng. Professor Zheng currently conducts research in optimization and mechanism design for networked systems, and in active/cognitive defense against advanced cyber threats using game theory and reinforcement learning. Possible areas for an interdisciplinary collaboration include economics, psychology, and environmental sciences.

Scientific Visualization and Computer Graphics

Students with interest in data visualization, computer graphics, and/or image processing are invited to contact Professor Brian Summa. Possible areas for interdisciplinary collaboration include mathematics, biology, neuroscience, physics, earth and environmental sciences, and chemical and biochemical engineering.

Application Procedure

Students interested in applying should use the School of Science and Engineering Graduate Online Application Forms. When completing the "Application Information" section of the application forms, candidates should select the following options (in bold below) in the "Department/Program & Area of Specialization" subsection:

Department/Program: Computer Science
Area of Specialization: N/A

GRE scores are not required to complete an application, but we encourage you to include them if available. TOEFL examination scores are required for non-US citizens who are not native English speakers. GRE score reports and TOEFL score reports (when applicable) should be directed to Institutional Code 6173 when requested from the testing agency.

The application period opens on September 7, 2020, and review of applications begins on February 1, 2021, until open slots are filled.

Interested students also are encouraged to contact the graduate faculty member whose research interests most closely resemble their own. Please see sse.tulane.edu/cs for more information about the department faculty. For general questions about the Interdisciplinary PhD program, please contact the graduate coordinator, Ram Mettu, at rmettu@tulane.edu.