Computational and Data Enabled Sciences PhD

In partnership with UB’s Institute for Computational and Data Enabled Sciences, our program trains students to analyze big and complex systems and data using high end computing and mathematically sound methodology, to design propulsion systems for space exploration.

Students in professor Hachmann's lab looking at data on a computer screen.

About the Program

The integration of large computing and big data is essential to tackle the urgent research problems in fields ranging from multi-scale modeling and design of materials to natural disasters, smart electric grids, and medical technologies.

We train scientists to analyze big data and multisource datasets to solve these grand challenges, by bringing together the talents of faculty across several departments including the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Math, Physics, and Chemistry.

Program Requirements

The PhD degree in Computational and Data Enabled Sciences requires a minimum of 72 credit hours. Additional requirements include passing qualifying exams and preparing your dissertation. A Master's degree in a related field is required for admission to the PhD program. Some related fields of study include engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, marketing, business, and pharmacy.

Core Courses

Our curriculum is designed around three core subjects:

  • Data Science
  • Applied Mathematics and Numerical Methods
  • High Performance and Data Intensive Computing

A minimum of 9 credits hours from the approved list of core classes must be taken in each area. The core course requirements total 30 credits, with a minimum GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. Courses taken during your Master's program may be transferred and used toward this requirement, with the approval of your dissertation committee and the Graduate Director. We strongly suggest you finish this course work within the first two years of the program.

Qualification Process

When you first start our program, you will select an advisor and your dissertation committee. Then, you will decide on a research topic and submit a short proposal that articulates your topic and its relationship to the computational and data sciences field. This technical report must be completed no later than the end of the second semester.

Dissertation Committee Guidelines

We want each dissertation committee to reflect the intellectual diversity of our program. Because of this, the committee:

  • should not have more than 1 core member and 1 additional member with primary academic affiliation in the same department
  • must have core members that are CDSE affiliated faculty

Admissions Requirements

  • Master's degree in related field including but not limited to: engineering, mathematics, business, marketing, pharmacy
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • GPA of 3.0 or better from your bachelor's degree courses
  • Proof of English language proficiency (for international applicants only)
    • TOEFL (IBT): minimum score 79
    • TOEFL (PBT): minimum score 550
    • IELTS: minimum score 6.5 (with no sub-score below 6.0)
    • PTE Academic: minimum score 55 (with no subsection score below 50)
    • Scores must be less than 2 years old
Application Deadlines

Spring enrollment: Apply by October 1 
Fall enrollment: Apply by February 15

We accept applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, but encourage all prospective students to submit their applications by the deadlines noted above.

Application Materials

Detailed information on what to include in your online application packet is outlined below.

Please do not mail application materials. All items should be submitted electronically with your online application. Please login to the Application Management System frequently to ensure that all of their supporting documents have been received.

Application Form

All domestic and international students must apply online for the PhD program. Please note that the online application process will require you to upload supporting documents.

Application Fee ($85)

A nonrefundable fee of $85 is required to apply to the PhD program. You may pay the application fee online with a credit card or e-check.

College Transcripts

Copies of transcript(s) for all post-secondary schoolwork must be uploaded with the online application for initial review. Upon an offer of admission, accepted applicants will be required to submit official transcripts and proof of degree(s).

Letters of Recommendation (3)

Three letters of recommendation are to be requested through the online application by providing the names and e-mail addresses of recommenders. While we will accept letters from professional sources, we strongly prefer letters from professors who are acquainted with your academic interests, achievements, and abilities.

GRE Scores

To be considered for financial aid, you must have at least a combined verbal and quantitative score of 300 on the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). We typically place more emphasis on the quantitative section, looking for candidates that score in the 80th percentile or above.

It is university policy that all PhD applicants provide GRE scores. Arrangements to take the exam can be made through the Educational Testing Service.

Note: the University at Buffalo Institutional Code is 2925.

English Proficiency Scores (for international students only)

International applicants are required to provide proof of English proficiency via the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score, or Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). All applicants whose native language is not English will be required to provide proof of English proficiency. Please use Institution Code 2925 to provide your scores to us.

The University at Buffalo has the following minimum admission requirements for these tests:

  • Minimum TOEFL score: 79 internet-based test, 550 paper-based test. A competitive TOEFL score (internet-based test) is at least 90.
  • Minimum IELTS score: 6.5 (with no individual sub-score below a 6.0)
  • Minimum PTE score: 55 (with no individual sub-score below a 50)

The exam results must be dated within 2 years from your proposed date of admission and remain valid upon entering the term for which you applied. For example, Fall 2020 begins in August 2020; therefore, your exam results must be valid until August 2020.

Information and arrangements to take the exam can be made by contacting the Educational Testing Service. It is strongly recommended to make test arrangements early in the year so sufficient time can be allowed for the results to be reported before our application deadline.

Financial Form

Fill out the International Applicant Financial Form. You will need to fill out the form labeled "Standard Graduate" for the appropriate academic year. The Financial Form and supporting bank documents may be uploaded to your application after an admissions decision has been made. 

All international applicants must submit a completed financial statement. Answer all questions thoroughly. An I-20 cannot be issued without this statement documenting necessary funds for each year of intended study (five years for a PhD program).

Please note that original financial documents must be brought to the school in person upon arrival at UB orientation.

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

We are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse community—one that will enrich engineering education and empower our students, faculty and staff to achieve their goals. Programs and initiatives:

CHREST Collaboration with NNSA Labs

  • Serve as mentors and hosts for student summer internships at NNSA labs
  • Co-advise graduate students and serve on committees as external reviewer
  • Mentor and participate in annual high powered rocketry event in White Sands, NM
  • Participate in annual CDSE Days as a keynote speaker
  • Co-organize special sessions at AIAA and SIAM national conferences
  • Co-author publications on exascale computing, ML and LES of combustion, hybrid rockets, etc.
SEDS club holding rocket during competition.
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)

Students can also get involved with clubs like SEDS who particpate in various projects and competitions such as the Spaceport America Cup.