Dual PhD Program in Computer Science (Al-Quds Open University and Georgia State University)

Program Overview

The PhD program in Computer Science is a dual PhD program between Al-Quds Open University (QOU) and Georgia State University (Georgia, United States) (GSU). The program is implemented in accordance with the international standards and in collaboration with Georgia State University.
GSU is a Tier 1 US public university and is one of the top-ranked public universities in its category. GSU established their PhD program in Computer Science in 2001. The program is a 5-year degree program administered in cooperation between the two universities; students joining the program will spend the first two years of their study at QOU and the last three years at GSU.

The program aims at promoting scientific research (both quantity and quality) in the field of computer science and its applications in our life by encouraging innovations and creativity. It targets raising the capacity of Palestinian researchers by tackling the state-of-art subjects in computer science and its applications in other areas of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Bioinformatics, Health Informatics, Computer Architecture, Database, Data Mining, Big Data, Graphics and Visualization, Networks Security and Privacy, Parallel and Distributed Computing, Cloud Computing, Cyber Physical Systems, Internet of Things (IoT), Programming Languages, Algorithms, Simulation and Software Engineering and others. The main goal of the program is to promote scientific research and produce graduates capable of contributing to community and human-race wellbeing. Graduates will be prepared to anticipate and tackle the technology trends of today and tomorrow and to provide innovative solutions. The program targets Palestinian graduates holding Master’s degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Information Technology, or any other related field.

The program opens new future venues to its students by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute effectively locally and globally. In addition to providing the students with the scientific knowledge in the state-of-art technologies, the program aims at developing the students’ research and practical skills in modern technologies like Data Science, Machine Learning and Deep Machine Learning, Cloud computing, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Networking etc. It prepares students to work as researchers, faculty members, research and development and other leadership positions in the field. Finally, the program aligns with the national strategy of promoting scientific research in state-of-art technologies and contributes to the national economy by producing graduates that can compete globally.

Program Goals

The PhD program in Computer Science (PhDCS) is designated to provide the students with:

  • The necessary skills and tools to be an effective researcher. 
  • The knowledge of the theoretical advances arising from current studies and being able to analyze, understand technological advances and to build on it.
  • A good understanding of different approaches, problems and lines of research currently under investigation in the different disciplines relating to CS.
  • The ability to apply the methodological and scientific knowledge for designing, developing and disseminating research and innovation.
  • The ability to evaluate and utilize existing scientific research results in advancing scientific research.
  • The necessary skills to be an effective faculty member who can utilize innovative teaching techniques in their classrooms.
  • The ability to work in international and heterogenous cultural environments.
Prospective Employment

The PhD degree programs in Computer Science (PhDCS) strives to educate students modern and innovative scientific research methodologies in state-of-art areas of technology such as Data Science, Analytics, Bioinformatics, and other hot-research-areas. Graduates holding PhDCS degrees can contribute to local, regional and global research. These graduates can work as faculty members in universities, or they can start at higher positions in the market leading research and development. They can also start their own research-based companies. The broad cluster of occupations that fall within the CS area includes: Research and development, Data Analyst, faculty member, consultation, etc.., Below is a list of possible positions:

  • Faculty Member
  • Researcher/ Consultant
  • Data Scientist
  • IT Manager/Director
  • Reviewer/Editor of Scientific journals
  • Reviewer/author of Scientific books
  • And many more …..
Foundation Course Work

If any of the following foundation courses in Computer Science or Mathematics or their equivalent has been not taken in another program, these must be completed at the earliest. 4000-level foundation courses must be taken as their 6000-level counterparts by graduate students.

  • Foundation coursework in computer science with a grade of B or higher in each.
    • CSC 2510 Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science (3)
    • CSC 2720 Data Structures (3)
    • CSC3210 Computer Organization and Programming (3) or CSC4210/CSC 6210 Computer Architecture (4)
    • CSC 4320/CSC 6320 Operating Systems (4)
    • CSC 4330/CSC 6330 Programming Language Concepts (4) or CSC 4340/CSC 6340 Introduction to Compilers (4) or CSC 4510/CSC 6510 Automata (4)
    • CSC 4350/CSC 6350 Software Engineering (4)
    • CSC 4520/CSC 6520 Design and Analysis of Algorithms (4)
  • Foundation coursework mathematics that includes a standard elementary calculus sequence (MATH 2211 and MATH 2212) with a grade of B or higher in each.
Course No Course Name Credit Hours
CSC2150 Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science 3 Credit Hours
CSC2720 Data Structures 3 Credit Hours
CSC3210 Computer Organization and Programming 3 Credit Hours
CSC4210/ CSC6210 Computer Architecture 4 Credit Hours
CSC4320/CSC6320 Operating Systems 4 Credit Hours
CSC4330/ CSC6330 Programming Language Concepts 4 Credit Hours
CSC4340/ CSC6340 Introduction to Compilers  4 Credit Hours
CSC4510/ CSC6510 Automata  4 Credit Hours
CSC4350/ CSC6350 Software Engineering 4 Credit Hours
CSC4520/ CSC6520 Design and Analysis of Algorithms 4 Credit Hours

The Curriculum for PhD in Computer Science
  • Ph.D. Coursework (48 hours)
    Of these 48 hours, no more than 12 hours can be taken at the 6000 level. These 12 hours exclude any of the foundation courses previously listed.
    • CSC 9900 Seminar in Computer Science (1 hour): A research training course which must be taken in the first semester.
    • Core Coursework (12 hours): Take three courses from the following two groups, at least one from each of the following two groups:
      • Theories: CSC 8520, CSC 8530, CSC 8550, CSC 8560, CSC 8850
      • Systems: CSC 8210, CSC 8220, CSC 8223, CSC 8320, CSC 8321
    • Breadth Coursework (12 hours): Take one each from three of the following groups:
      • Artificial Intelligence: CSC 8810, CSC 8851, CSC 8852
      • Bioinformatics: CSC 8050, CSC 8540, CSC 8630
      • Database: CSC 8710, CSC 8711, CSC 8712, CSC 8713
      • Data Mining: CSC 8740, CSC 8741
      • Graphics and Visual Computing: CSC 8260, CSC 8720, CSC 8820
      • Networks: CSC 8221, CSC 8222, CSC 8250
      • Numerical and Scientific Computing: CSC 8270, CSC 8610, CSC 8620
      • Software Engineering and Simulation/Modeling: CSC 8350, CSC 8840
      • Security and Privacy: CSC 8222, CSC 8224, CSC 8228, CSC 8370
    • Electives (23 hours):
      • To be chosen in concert with dissertation committee and approved by dissertation committee and should reflect student interest, coursework related to research area, etc.
      • A maximum of 12 credits from 6000-level.
      • A maximum of 8 hours can be directed study/research or seminars: CSC 8950 and CSC 8910.
      • A minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 9 hours from outside the department.
      • 6 to 20 hours of depth computer science classroom taught non-foundation courses.
  • Qualifying Process: The qualification process consists of two parts:
    • Curriculum Requirement: The student is required to complete three courses in two core areas (Theories and Systems) and receive at least two A grades and one B grade in these courses to meet the curriculum requirement of the qualifying process.
    • Research Examination: The objective of the research examination is to assess the student’s potential to begin doctoral‐level research. The examination will assess the student’s abilities to:
      • Read and understand research papers in their field.
      • Formulate a problem clearly and provide the motivation and requirements for a solution.
      • Determine if a solution is correct.
      • Assess to what extent a presumably correct solution solves the problem.
      • Clearly identify potential next research problems and provide solutions.
      • Communicate effectively, both in writing and orally.
      • Answer questions related to the problem and its solutions.
      • The student will request the research examination in an area/sub‐area of computer science. A committee of 3 faculty members will choose two advanced research papers and assign to the student. After a period of time, the student will present a written report and schedule an oral defense in which there will be general questioning by the committee. The result of the exam is PASS/FAIL. A student who receives a FAIL in the first attempt will be given a second and final attempt.
    • Timeline: A typical student (one who is admitted to the Ph.D. program with very few foundation courses to take) is expected to qualify by the end of the third semester (excluding summers) after admission.
  • Dissertation Committee: Must be formed immediately after completing the qualification process.
    • Major adviser plus at least three other members.
    • One member must be from outside the department. Major adviser and at least two other members must be computer science graduate faculty.
    • This committee should be consulted to plan electives and possibly required courses to ensure depth in the research area.
    • This committee may suggest additional technical writing, mathematics, or computer skill courses depending on the student’s background.
  • Candidacy Examination: To be taken within two years of qualifying. A written proposal on the research to be carried out will be submitted and defended in front of the dissertation committee. Upon successful completion of the candidacy examination, a student is declared a candidate for the doctoral degree. An unsuccessful result in the candidacy examination would require the student to take the candidacy examination a second and last time within three semesters (excluding summer).
  • Dissertation (24 hours of CSC 9999).
  • Written dissertation and oral defense.