School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems
Informatics and Computing, Doctor of Philosophy
The doctoral degree in Informatics and Computing enables students to engage in a research-intensive course of study within a broad range of informatics and computing areas, including population health, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological modeling wireless sensor and communication systems, cyber-physical systems, software architecture and visualization, computer graphics, model-driven design, machine learning, wearable computing, and cybersecurity.
Our five-year degree program is strengthened by committed mentorship and professional development training, with students benefiting from a broad range of collaborations and partnerships, including but not limited to: Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, and School of Forestry.
Regional research collaborators include but are not limited to: Translational Genomics Research Institute, Northern Arizona Healthcare and Flagstaff Medical Center, North Country HealthCare, U.S. Geological Survey, and Northern Arizona Planetary Science Alliance.
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What Can I Do with a Doctor of Philosophy in Informatics and Computing?
The Ph.D. program in Informatics and Computing prepares graduates for meaningful and fulfilling careers in the application of informatics and computing to critical areas of national need. We aim to prepare students to be leaders in industry and government research labs, faculty and research scientists in academia, or entrepreneurs in cutting-edge informatics application areas.
To receive a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, from one or more disciplines, ranging from at least 60-109 units of graduate-level courses. Most plans require research, a dissertation, and comprehensive exams. All plans have residency requirements regarding time spent on the Flagstaff campus engaged in full-time study.
The full policy can be viewed here.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||60|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Required|
|Emphasis, Minor, Certificate||Required|
|Dissertation||Dissertation is required.|
|Comprehensive Exam||Comprehensive Exam is required.|
|Oral Defense||Oral Defense is required.|
|Research||Individualized research is required.|
The PhD in Informatics and Computing program will prepare you to work in the transformative "fourth paradigm" of science and engineering, an interdisciplinary field relying on big data and advanced software, hardware, and statistics skills. After a streamlined, five-year plan of study, you’ll be ready to be a leader in industry and government research labs, a faculty member or research scientist in academia, or entrepreneur in cutting-edge informatics application areas.
As a graduate, you will make contributions to exciting projects that address critical areas of national need in these areas:
- population health and health informatics
- environmental sustainability
- ecology and ecoinformatics
- software engineering
- wearable computing
- cyber-physical systems
Your research and education will be strengthened through broad collaborations with a variety of academic, government, and private entities. Informatics and Computing PhD program partnerships span the university, multiple centers and institutes, and various organizations.
Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates of this training program will demonstrate the following advanced competencies and program learning outcomes (PLOs):
PLO1: Identify, explain, and assess the major theories, research methods, and technical approaches driving informatics- driven science and engineering and the impact of these elements on society.
PLO2: Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the fundamental concepts of informatics, including large-scale data representation and organization, various types of programming languages, software development methods, data processing, information extraction and machine learning, and statistical analysis.
PLO3: Identify, explain, synthesize, and apply the interdisciplinary combination of core informatics and in-depth disciplinary expertise defining one of the following emphasis areas:
- Health and Bioinformatics, focusing genetic and genomic analysis, population health, and disease transmission;
- Ecological and Environmental Informatics, focusing on ecological and environmental analyses and remote sensing;
- Cyber and Software Systems, focusing on the design and implementation of cyber-physical and large-scale software systems.
- Bioengineering Informatics, focusing on data analysis and control in bioengineering applications.
PLO5: Independently apply appropriate expertise, methods, and tools to the creative design, execution, and assessment of an investigation that addresses original informatics research questions.
PLO6: Compose and engage in highly effective written and oral communication in informatics areas; demonstrate clear argumentation and logical cohesion in a variety of written and oral communications, including scholarly dissemination, funding requests, industry, and lay-communication.
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- GRE® revised General Test
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or essay
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Expertise in key foundational areas in informatics, including core topics such as programming, data structures, software development methods, and statistics, as well as areas that support specific emphases, such as biology, ecology, and cyber systems.60
Take a minimum of 60 which includes core requirements and an emphasis:
Core Requirements (minimum of 42 units):
- Informatics Foundations: INF 501, INF 502, INF 503, and INF 504 (12 units)
- Professional and Communication: INF 601, INF 602, and INF 603 (3 units)
- Statistical Methods: STA 570, STA 571, and STA 572 (9 units)
- Research Rotation: INF 684 (3 units)
- Dissertation: INF 799 (minimum of 15 units)
- Emphasis Requirements (select one emphasis; minimum of 18 units):
- Health and Bioinformatics Emphasis
- Ecological and Environmental Informatics Emphasis
- Cyber and Software Systems Emphasis
- Bioengineering Informatics Emphasis
In addition, students must successfully complete the following requirements:
- Comprehensive qualifying examination by the end of the fourth term;
- Advancement to candidacy examination by the end of the seventh term; and
- Dissertation defense.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
This degree program consists of a minimum of 60 units of study and can be completed in 5 years. Students may take more than 15 units of dissertation credit, as it is a requirement that students enroll in INF 799 each term they are preparing their dissertation. Students may also take more than 18 units of emphasis coursework, as guided by research needs and advisor input.
Students admitted to the program may be required to correct deficiencies in their preparation by taking additional undergraduate or graduate coursework, as guided by research needs and advisor direction and counsel.
Some required courses in this degree program may have prerequisites that students must also complete. For specific prerequisite information, students should investigate detailed course information or discuss the issue with their advisor.