Information Technology (Ph.D.)

The doctoral program in information technology provides the knowledge and research opportunities you need to position yourself for top-level leadership or faculty positions in academia.

Why Earn a Doctoral Degree in Information Technology?

With a broad scope of research areas within computer science, information systems and information technology, the Ph.D. program prepares students to become professors, scientists and entrepreneurs. You’ll explore data structures and algorithms, operating systems, computer networks, cybersecurity, database systems, project management, software engineering and human-computer interaction.

Graduates assume leadership roles in their current careers or in academic, research, government and state-of-the-art industry positions. About half of our alumni are currently working as professors or research scientists across the country and abroad. Many in the private sector are promoted to higher-level positions with their current employers or start their own ventures to develop innovative products.

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The information technology doctoral program requires 18 credits of coursework, a qualifying examination and a minimum of 24 credits of dissertation beyond the master’s program. Doctoral students are required to demonstrate research capabilities and publish in reputed journals or conferences in order to graduate.

View degree requirements and course descriptions in the Graduate Catalog.

Required Course

AIT 790 Research Methodology, IT Technical Writing and Presentation is a required course (counted as the required 18 credits of coursework) for students in the doctoral program. This course should be taken before completing the qualifying exams. Permission to register for dissertation credits (AIT 997) will not be granted until AIT 790 is completed with a grade B or better.


 A dissertation consisting of peer reviewed published work is required. Students are strongly recommended to have at least three research publications in peer-reviewed international conferences and/or journals before graduation.

View admission requirements and deadlines to apply to the information technology doctoral program.

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the fundamentals in four of the following seven areas:
    • data structures and algorithms
    • operating systems
    • computer networks
    • database systems
    • project management
    • software engineering
    • human computer interaction
  • Conduct and document scholarly research.
  • Present scholarly research.

Computer Science Track

Students have the option to select the computer science track. In addition to the general degree requirements for the doctorate in information technology, three specific computer science courses (9 credits) must be taken for the track in computer science, with additional requirements for the qualifying examination, listed below.

An IT doctoral student taking these three courses, passing the qualifying exam in the specified areas, and successfully completing the research requirements for the degree in a CS-related area will be eligible to graduate with a computer science track.

Students who have completed one or more of the three courses as part of their master’s degree would be required to take an additional course for each of the three courses already completed. The additional courses must be approved by the director of the information technology doctoral program.  

Note: Students in the information technology doctoral program are not required to choose a track. You may have more flexibility to choose the courses and qualifying exam topics without a track.  

  • COSC 600 (Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms)
  • COSC 519 (Operating Systems)
  • COSC 650 (Computer Networks)

Students in the computer science track must pass the following areas of the qualifying exam:

  • operating systems
  • advanced data structures and algorithms
  • computer networks

And ONE of the following areas:

  • database management systems
  • computer security
  • software engineering

Publications in this track are expected to be related to computer science.

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Why Towson University?

  • accomplished and dedicated faculty mentors with diverse research interests, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, universal usability, data mining, e-learning, digital signal processing and bare machine computing
  • advantageous location in the high-tech Baltimore/Washington corridor
  • small-school attention with big-school resources and facilities

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Contact Information

Program Director

Dr. Wei Yu
7800 York Road
Room 467
By Appointment
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