PhD in Computer Science

Doctor of Philosophy

WPI’s PhD in Computer Science has built an international reputation for research excellence over the past 40 years, providing you with extensive opportunities to work side by side with interdisciplinary researchers at the forefront of innovations that are shaping the discipline.

Our PhD in computer science gives students immediate access to world-class laboratories and the latest in computers and software, solving real-world problems and creating groundbreaking advances in computer security, artificial intelligence, database systems, data mining, human interaction, robotics, software engineering, visualization, and image science.

Curriculum for PhD in Computer Science

In WPI’s PhD in Computer Science, you’ll be focused on solving real-world problems, from increasing computer system resilience in the face of attacks, to effective data mining that improves medical diagnoses and treatment. Exploration is encouraged for our doctorate in computer science, so you’ll take a range of courses from different areas, including essential work in theory, algorithms, and systems or networks. Then, you’ll direct your curriculum to suit your research interests and goals in areas like graphics/imaging, artificial intelligence, and databases.


Through his mobile health and sensing research, EPICC PI Emmanuel Agu is looking at the role mobile devices, smartphones, and health care apps can play in capturing important health data and biomarkers.

Research for the Computer Science PhD Program

In our computer science PhD program, you’ll conduct advanced research with our renowned faculty members in core research groups supported by agencies like the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, and the US Army.

You’ll have access to our state-of-the-art research facilities offering the latest in computers and software as you pursue your doctorate in computer science. These resources, such as the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) Lab and the Applied Logic and Security Lab, allow for creative and inspired exploration in areas like Internet privacy, next-generation user interfaces in gaming, and artificial intelligence.

At WPI, students venture deeply into the design, application, and ethics of cutting-edge technology.

At WPI, our approach means you’ll consider the additional social, ethical, and technological implications of your research and solutions so your work becomes more applicable and effective.

Areas of study at WPI are relevant in every area of industry, government, and academia, so our multidisciplinary and collaborative approach gives your research the potential to make an even greater impact in the world.

Building better cybersecurity tools, using smartphone apps to detect mental health changes, or using data to find previously unknown patterns—all things WPI computer science students do.

Our state-of-the-art facilities give students access to powerful supercomputers and to facilities that support research in computer security, artificial intelligence, database systems, human interaction in virtual environments, robotics, data mining, and more.

  • Applied Logic and Security Group (ALAS)
  • Artificial Intelligence Research Group (AIRG)
  • Database Systems Research Group (DSRG)
  • Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)
  • Image Science Research Group (ISRG)
  • Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Research Group (KDDRG)
  • Mobile Graphics Research Group (MGRG)
  • Performance Evaluation of Distributed Systems (PEDS)
  • Software Engineering Research Group (SERG)
  • Theory Umbrella Group (THUG)
  • Tutor Research Group (TRG)

Getting Involved

WPI actively supports many ways for you to interact with other students and the campus community through clubs, organizations, and more. Some are even designed specifically for students earning a PhD in computer science:

  • Computer Science Graduate Student Organization (CS-GSO)
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Women in Computer Science (WiCS)

After Graduation

When you complete your PhD in Computer Science from WPI, your interdisciplinary skill set, publication record, and professional presentations of your findings are evidence of your productivity, creativity, and accomplishments. WPI’s Career Development Center offers resources to help you stand out to potential employers and ensure your successful future. They can help you find PhD in computer science job opportunities so you can get a jump start on your career. Maybe you have specific questions about what PhD computer science salary looks like? We’re here to help answer any questions you may have.

Interested in Pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science First?

Not quite ready to pursue a doctorate in computer science? Our master’s in computer science will challenge you to utilize practical and theoretical expertise as you solve real-world problems in fields ranging from game development to data mining. Maybe you’re looking to study online? Explore our online master of science in computer science which offers the same rigorous curriculum at the convenience of your busy lifestyle.

Are You Ready to Get Started on a Computer Science Career Path?

Do you think a career in computer science fits your interests? WPI’s bachelor’s in computer science blends the technical knowledge you’ll need with the global view of how to best use your expertise to better the world. Our rigorous curriculum and collaborative faculty gives you the computer science tools you need to succeed.

Are You Looking for Basic Computer Science Experience?

If you’re someone who wants to develop an understanding of computer science without majoring in the discipline, try a minor in computer science. WPI’s minor in computer science gives you the knowledge and skills you’ll be able to apply in almost any field you enter. Having this technical understanding will help you advance in your career and is experience employers want to see.

Faculty Profiles

Emmanuel O. Agu
Professor-Computer Science, Computer Science

Emmanuel Agu is currently an associate professor in the computer science department at WPI having received his Masters and PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests are in the areas of computer graphics, mobile computing, and wireless networks. He is especially interested in research into how to use a smartphone as a platform to deliver better healthcare.

read more
Lorenzo DeCarli
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Computer Science

I am generally interested in network security and traffic analysis, and in the challenges that arise when attempting to design security systems which are performanteffective, and usable. My interests cover:

  • IoT and residential network security
  • Web and cloud security
  • Software security
  • Malware detection and understanding
  • Usable security
Mohamed Y. Eltabakh
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Professor Eltabakh’s research is in the broad area of Database Management Systems and Information Management. In particular, his work is in the areas of query processing and optimization, indexing techniques, scientific data management, and large-scale data analytics. Prof. Eltabakh is currently exploring possible extensions to both database management systems and Hadoop framework to support scientific applications and health-care systems. He is a member of the Database Systems Research Group (DSRG) and a faculty member of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) program.

read more
Tian Guo
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

I am an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst advised by Prof. Prashant Shenoy in 2016.

read more
Lane T. Harrison
Associate Professor-Computer Science, Computer Science

Information visualization is a powerful means for understanding data and informing human minds. As people begin to rely on visualizations to make high-impact and even life-critical decisions, there is a growing need to ensure that information can be perceived accurately and precisely.

read more
Kyumin Lee
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Dr. Lee’s research interests are in information retrieval, natural language processing, social computing, machine learning, and cybersecurity over large-scale networked information systems like the Web and social media. He focuses on threats to these systems and design methods to mitigate negative behaviors (e.g., misinformation, hate speech), and looks for positive opportunities to mine and analyze these systems for developing next generation algorithms and architectures (e.g., recommender system, natural language understanding).

read more
Craig A. Shue
Associate Professor and Department Head, Computer Science

I am an Associate Professor and serve as the Head of the WPI Department of Computer Science. I direct WPI's Scholarship for Service program and am an active member of WPI's Cyber Security Program.

read more
Erin Solovey
Associate Professor, Computer Science

My research is in human-computer interaction. One focus of my research is on next-generation interaction techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces, physiological computing, and reality-based interaction. I design, build and evaluate interactive computing systems that use machine learning approaches to adapt and support the user’s changing cognitive state and context. I also investigate novel paradigms for designing with accessibility in mind, particularly for the Deaf community. Much of my work also explores effective human interaction with complex and autonomous systems and vehicles.

read more

WPI is proud to be the recipient of not one, but two National Science Foundation Research Traineeship programs. The programs provide exceptionally talented graduate students with specialized training and funding assistance to join careers at the forefront of technology and innovation. The programs are for graduate students in research-based master's and doctoral degree programs in STEM. Learn more.