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Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Cutting-edge companies such as Google and Apple have sought out graduates of the Computer Science program, which aims to give students the skills they need for careers ranging from private industry to academic positions at advanced research centres and universities. It helps students build skills and novel ideas for designing and implementing software, as well as find new ways to use computers, develop effective algorithms to solve computing problems, and plan and manage organizational technology infrastructure. As a program that usually takes about four years for an MSc graduate to complete, the degree requires course work, a single-authored scientific paper, and an oral candidacy exam, as well as submission and successful defense of a thesis.

Completing this program

  • Core Course: Research Methodology in Computer Science.
  • Seminar: Students will conduct a department seminar presentation based on their research.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Additional Courses: May include Artificial Intelligence, Databases, Computer Graphics, Scientific Computing, HCI and Visualization and others.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete a research proposal, scientific paper and oral candidacy exams.



Technology sector, business start-ups, computer science research, academia, IT, software development.

A PhD in computer science is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Placeholder Profile Image

    Usman Alim

    Accepting Inquiries
    Visualization and Computer Graphics
  2. John Aycock

    John Aycock

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Mario Costa Sousa

    Mario Costa Sousa

    Accepting Inquiries
    Interactive Computer Graphics and Visualization
  4. Philip Fong

    Philip Fong

    Seeking Students
  5. Dr Marina Gavrilova

    Dr. Marina Gavrilova

    Accepting Inquiries
    Biometric Technologies Lab Director, SPARCS Lab Director
  6. Majid Ghaderi

    Majid Ghaderi

    Accepting Inquiries
    Computer Networks
  7. Image of Helen Ai He

    Helen Ai He

    Social Computing, Inclusive Design
  8. Placeholder Profile Image

    Peter Høyer

    Accepting Inquiries
    Quantum algorithmics
  9. Christian Jacob

    Christian Jacob

    Accepting Inquiries
    Data Science with Virtual and Augmented Reality, Simulations of Biological Systems using Game Engines, LINDSAY Virtual Human
  10. Michael Jacobson Jr

    Michael Jacobson, Jr.

    Accepting Inquiries
    Computational number theory

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree. Post-degree CS courses may be considered when calculating GPA.

Exceptions to GPA requirement may be considered for those with either:

  • demonstrated research excellence, or
  • GRE General scores of at least 600 verbal and 750 quantitative and either 720 analytical (old test format) or 5.5 (new test format)

Minimum education

A thesis-based MSc., or equivalent from a recognized institution.

Work samples



  • None

Reference letters

Two reference letters from within the 12-month period prior to application.

Test scores

Optional: Special consideration will be given to those with GRE scores of at least 600 verbal, 750 quantitative, and 720 analytical (5.5 in the new format). Applicants from outside Canada are expected to apply with GRE scores.

Additional Requirements

Students are required to have completed 3rd or 4th year undergraduate courses in each of the following areas:

  • Theory of Computation
  • Software Engineering
  • Systems (Operating Systems, Compilers)
  • Application (Artificial Intelligence, Graphics, Databases, etc.)

English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements


For admission on January 1

    • Final Application Deadline – July 1 (Final Documentation Submission Deadline – July 15)
    • Final Application Deadline – September 1 (Final Documentation Submission Deadline – October 1)


For admission on September 1

    • Early Applications (complete application review) - January 15
    • Final Application Deadline – March 1 (Final Documentation Submission Deadline – March 15)
    • Final Application Deadline – May 1 (Final Documentation Submission Deadline – June 1)

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Computer Science

602 ICT Building
856 Campus Place NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Science

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Science's website

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