MS and PhD Programs

MS and PhD degrees through at the School of Computing can be obtained in two programs: the Computer Science Program, and the Computing Program.

The computing program is made up of a series of tracks that correspond to a specific specialization. The computer science program aims to educate students in theory, systems and hardware, but gives students a lot of flexibility beyond the required courses. Note that the computer science program has no tracks. All programs and tracks, except for the Secure Computing Track, can be taken by both, MS and PhD students. The Secure Computing Track is only available for MS students.

Requirements and Administration

Director of Graduate Studies: Alexander Lex
Associate Director of Graduate Studies: Bei Wang Phillips
Contact: (this e-mail is only for students already in the program; for admissions-related questions, please write to the graduate admissions e-mail)

Graduate Advisors: Jill Wilson (responsible for students with last names A-L) and Lauren Down (responsible for students with last names M-Z)
Contact: (this e-mail is only for students already in the program; for admissions-related questions, please write to the graduate admissions e-mail) 

Director of Graduate Admissions: Ponnuswamy (Saday) Sadayappan

The overall graduate program is administered by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), with support from the Associate Director of Graduate Studies (aDGS), and the graduate advisors.

The computer science program and the different tracks are administered by a program director (for the cs program) and track directors (for all computing tracks). These directors are usually responsible for any issues related to a student’s program of study.

Graduate Handbooks

The requirements of the degree program are set by the Graduate Student Handbook. The handbook is updated every year; the handbook of a particular year is valid for the students entering the program in that year.

Even older handbooks are archived.

Computer Science Program

Director: Ganesh Gopalakrishnan –

The computer science program aims to educate students in three fundamental categories: theory, systems and hardware. It is made up of three required courses in these areas, which can also be substituted by courses from the same area. See the graduate handbook for details.

Computing Program

Students in the computing program have to choose a track of specialization. The school of computing currently offers the following computing tracks.

Artificial Intelligence

Track Director: Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera –

Track Faculty: Daniel Brown, Shireen Elhabian, Tom Henderson, Tucker Hermans, John Hollerbach, Alan Kuntz, Ana Marasović, Ellen Riloff, Vivek Srikumar, R. Michael Young, Shandian Zhe

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a discipline that studies the theory and methods that underlie thought and intelligent behavior and their implementation in machines.  The full AI endeavor is multidisciplinary, encompassing the study necessary to understand and develop systems that can perceive, learn, reason, communicate, and act in the world.

The AI track is designed to train students to undertake research for advancing, applying, and governing this computing technology.

Computer Engineering

Track Director: Kobus Van der Merwe –

Track Faculty: Rajeev Balasubramonian, Erik Brunvand, Neil Cotter (ECE), Peter Jensen, Priyank Kalla (ECE), Sneha Kumar Kasera, John Regehr, Ponnuswamy (Saday) Sadayappan, Brent Stephens, Ken Stevens (ECE)

Computer Engineering is a discipline that combines elements of both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Computer engineers design and study computer systems at many levels from the circuits that make up computers, to the architecture of processors and subsystems, to the programming interfaces of those processors.

Data Management and Analysis

Track Director: Shandian Zhe –

Track Faculty: Lajos Horvath (Math), Chris Johnson, Sneha Kumar Kasera, Mike Kirby, Marina Kogan, Alexander Lex, Baxton Osting (Math), Valerio Pascucci, Bei Wang Phillips, Jeff Phillips, Vivek Srikumar, Blair Sullivan, Hari Sundar, Shandian Zhe

The rate at which scientists and businesses are producing data is increasing at a unstoppable rate. Being able to efficient process and make sense of such data has become a key scientific challenge in computer science. Not only must one be able to store such information compactly, but one additionally must develop algorithms to process it efficiently and intelligent systems that can reason about this data to find interesting patterns or make decisions. These topics form the core of the Data Management and Analysis track.

Graphics and Visualization

Track Director: Cem Yuksel – 

Track Faculty: Martin Berzins, Kate Isaacs, Chris Johnson, Mike Kirby, Alexander Lex, Valerio Pascucci, Paul Rosen, Bei Wang Phillips

The graphics and visualization track includes research efforts in most areas of computer graphics, including geometric modeling, CAD/CAM, isogeometric analysis, scientific visualization, biomedical visualization, information visualization, visual analytics, computer vision, terrain modeling and rendering, haptics (force-feedback), realistic rendering, physically-based simulation, real-time rendering, GPU programming, computer animation, digital geometry processing, immersive environments, visual perception and spatial cognition.

Human-centered Computing (HCC) 

Track Director: Jason Wiese –
Track Faculty: Daniel Brown, Erik Brunvand, Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, Kate Isaacs, Marina Kogan, Alexander Lex, Vineet Pandey, Sameer Patil, Eliane Wiese, R. Michael Young

The purpose of the HCC track is to train students to understand and create digital products that reflect and improve people’s capabilities, goals, and social environments. Students will learn to conduct original, rigorous research through interdisciplinary training in
computer science, behavioral and social sciences, and design, and specifically in the use of user-focused methods and methodologies.

Image Analysis

Track Director: Shireen Elhabian –
Track Faculty: Tom Henderson, Sarang Joshi, Tolga Tasdizen, Ross Whitaker

The School of Computing has image analysis research efforts in a wide variety of areas with a strong focus on biological and medical research but also significant efforts in other rapidly expanding areas such as geosciences. Most of these projects are multi-disciplinary and/or nationwide activities that provide unique opportunities for students to get a broader insight into research and engineering concepts and into the challenges and rewards of collaborative research.


Track Directors: Tucker Hermans –, Daniel Brown –

Track Faculty: Jake Abbott (ME), Daniel Brown, Tom Henderson, Tucker Hermans, Alan Kuntz, Tommaso Lenzi (ME), Steve Mascaro (ME), Mark Minor (ME), Vivek Srikumar

The Robotics Track is a program of study that may be taken either in the School of Computing or the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The field of robotics has expanded tremendously since its early focus on industrial robots, and now includes very diverse topics such as autonomous vehicles, medical robots, smart sensor networks, micro robots, robot vacuum cleaners, sentry robots, and pet robots.

Scientific Computing

Track Director: Hari Sundar –
Track Faculty: Martin Berzins, Mary Hall, Tom Henderson, Chris Johnson, Mike Kirby, Pavel Panchekha, Prashant Pandey, Valerio Pascucci, Ponnuswamy (Saday) Sadayappan, Ross Whitaker

The Scientific Computing track trains students to perform cutting edge research in all of the aspects of the scientific computing pipeline: mathematical and geometric modeling; advanced methods in simulation such as high-performance computing and parallelization; numerical algorithm development; scientific visualization; and evaluation with respect to basic science and engineering.

Secure Computing Track (MS Only)

Track Director: Sneha Kumar Kasera –

Core Faculty: Sneha Kumar Kasera, Stefan Nagy, Sameer Patil, Jun Xu, Mu Zhang
Associate Faculty: Aditya Bhaskara, Anton Burtsev, Eric Eide, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Pavel Panchekha, Jeff Phillips, John Regehr, Rob Ricci, Vivek Srikumar, Ryan Stutsman, Kobus Van der Merwe, Eliane Wiese, Jason Wiese

The MS Computing Track in Secure Computing (MSSC) rigorously prepares graduate students for careers in cybersecurity research and development. It provides students with both a solid foundation of cybersecurity principles and hands-on practice of cutting-edge technologies. It offers practical experience in techniques for detection and analyses of cyberattacks, and for effective prevention, response, and recovery. The human aspects of security and privacy are addressed along with cyber operation including crime investigation and digital forensics. Students will also be exposed to business aspects of security and privacy, specifically aspects of cybersecurity risk and compliance, through a collaboration with the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

For details, see the track website.