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The PhD in Data Science is designed to be completed fully in-person at UChicago’s Hyde Park campus. There are no online options at this time. As part of our funding model, admitted students are guaranteed full-funding for up to 5 years and provided with an annual stipend, contingent on satisfactory progress towards the degree.


First-Year Requirements

The standard first-year program requires students to complete nine courses: four required courses (1-4 below); one elective either in mathematical foundations or scalability and computing (pick from either 5 or 6); and four graduate electives that can come from proposed courses in data science as well as existing courses in Computer Science or Statistics. Some students, after consulting with the graduate committee advisor, might decide to take the nine courses over the first two years:

Required Courses:

  1. Foundations of Machine Learning and AI Part 1
  2. Responsible Use of Data and Algorithms
  3. Data Interaction
  4. Systems for Data and Computers/Data Design
  5. Foundations of Machine Learning and AI Part 2
  6. Data Engineering and Scalable Computing


Synthesis project

Students will take courses during the first two years after which they focus primarily on their research. A milestone in this transition is completion of a synthesis project before the end of the second year in the program. Thesis projects can be done in partnership with any of DSI affiliates and aims to meaningfully connect PhD students to their chosen focus areas.


Thesis Advisor and Dissertation Committee

Students typically select a thesis advisor by the beginning of their second year. By the end of the third year, each PhD student, after consultation with their advisor, shall establish a thesis committee of at least three faculty members, including the advisor, with at least half of the members coming from the Committee on Data Science (CODAS).


Proposal Presentation and Admission to Candidacy

By the end of the third year, students should have scheduled and completed a proposal presentation to their committee in order to be advanced to candidacy. The proposal presentation is typically an hour-long meeting that begins with a 30-minute presentation by the student followed by a question and discussion period with the committee.


Dissertation Defense

The PhD degree will be awarded to candidates following a successful defense and the electronic submission of the final version of the dissertation to the University’s Dissertation Office.